The Delhi High Court Thursday refused to give urgent hearing to a plea seeking direction to private and unaided schools in the city to waive off fees for the period they are not fully operational due to coronavirus.
The plea by advocate Amit Sahni was mentioned before the High Court Registrar, seeking direction to schools not to pressurise its students to pay fees or charges and also direction to the Delhi government to provide sufficient funds to schools to bear their liabilities like salary of staff and other expenses.
Sahni said that he has mentioned the matter before the registrar on Wednesday and also uploaded a letter on the link provided by the High Court registry explaining the urgency. But he was informed by the registry that “your request for urgent listing has been rejected”.
Due to suspension of court functioning since mid-March due to the lockdown, the HC and all the trial courts in Delhi are only hearing urgent matters through video-conferencing.
The petition, which has arrayed the Delhi government and its education department as party to the issue, claimed that lakhs of parents are facing financial crunch due to the lockdown and health emergency arising out of COVID-19. It also mentioned that a number of the people are working in the unorganised sectors like shops, vendors, small manufacturing units or factories and everyone does not have a secured job.
Highlighting that the Haryana has issued directions to all unaided and private schools not to pressurise its students or parents to deposit fees or charges till school becomes operational and that strict disciplinary action would be taken against schools pressurising the pupils or their parents, the petition in Delhi HC submitted that the Delhi government has not issued any such directions.
The petition said that the online classes being given to students cannot be equated with actual physical classes as no other infrastructure is being used as schools are shut since March 2020.
“Although the government has directed everyone not to deduct salary of employees, but the private sector employees, particularly those working in unorganised sector, are facing difficulties in paying school fees as many of them are not getting complete salaries and many are getting salaries after deduction. For instance, even some media houses have deducted the salary of their staff in order to face the financial crisis,” the plea added.
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