The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday issued a notice to the Chandigarh Administration on a petition challenging the orders issued by the authorities asking schools to only collect tuition fee on monthly basis and not increase the fee for 2020-21 without specific approval from the administration.
The petition was filed by the Independent Schools’ Association and other school managements through advocate Vibhav Jain.
In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Administration had initially asked the schools to reschedule the last date for fee deposit to a month after the reopening of the schools, but later it permitted the schools to collect tuition fees – not total fee – on a monthly basis and fixed the 15th day of every month as the last date.
The order passed by the Administration in May said that that neither the name of a student is allowed to be struck off nor they are to be deprived of online teaching during the lockdown.
In the latest round of their litigation against the prohibitions on fee, the schools argued that the directions issued to them by the Administration are abuse of power. The petitioners also contended that they are conducting classes through online technology and also have to pay the salaries of the staff, both teaching and non-teaching.
Several schools have made exorbitant investments in technology platforms and devices in the interests of the students, claim the schools.
“It will be difficult for the member schools of the petitioner association to absorb the expenses towards salaries and other expenditure in the absence of payment of the entire fee and charges from the students,” read the petition, adding that the “restrain in increasing the fee from students for whole of the year” would result in a “collapse” of the entire education system in Chandigarh.
The case has been listed for hearing on July 1. Among the main grounds, the school managements have also argued that UT Adviser is not empowered under the Disaster Management Act to pass such orders for regulation of fee of private schools.
“No law can permit the government to differentiate between two groups of people, one being the parents and one being the school management, resulting in clear violation of the basic principles of equality,” contends the petition.
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