The Punjab and Haryana High Court Wednesday issued a notice to the Haryana government in a petition filed by a group of schools against the orders passed to restrain them from collecting enhanced fees and other funds from the students during the lockdown period.
Sarv Vidyalya Sangh, which has more than 87 schools in Haryana, in the petition filed through advocate Pankaj Maini has argued that the authorities cannot prevent the schools from charging the fee at enhanced rate and submitted that they have been put under grave financial constraints due to the orders.
The schools in Haryana have been ordered by the government to only collect monthly tuition fee from only those who are capable of paying, and not demand other charges like building fund, maintenance fund, admission charges and computer charges in wake of the Covid-19 situation. The schools also have been prohibited from demanding fees in advance and also ordered to not bar any students from the online classes.
Submitting that each school management will have to incur a loss of at least Rs. 20 to Rs. 25 lakh while following the new norms once the lockdown is lifted, the schools have argued that they have to not only pay the salaries to their staff but also pay other dues such as property tax, water bills, electricity bills etc.
The schools have also submitted that they are being told not to increase the fee for the academic session of 2020-2021 despite the fact that they have filed the Form VI mentioning the information before January 2020 and no objection had been taken by the authorities till April. The schools have also argued that capable and non-capable persons have not been defined by the government while asking them not to collect the fee from those not capable of paying.
The HC earlier had allowed Punjab schools to collect 70 per cent of the total fee from students. However, the court on Wednesday, in the case of Haryana schools, was told their matter is slightly different than the issue involved in case related to Punjab.
Meanwhile, the HC in an order passed Wednesday in the case of Punjab Schools Welfare Association and others ordered that no coercive steps would be taken against the schools in case they are complying with the interim direction by which court allowed them to collect 70 percent of the total fee. The court earlier has also allowed schools in Punjab to take admission fee in two instalments.
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