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Calcutta HC proposes formation of panel to look into private schools’ accounts

Claiming that only online classes are being held by schools, reducing their expenses on several fronts, a section of parents had moved the high court, seeking curtailment of fees.

By: PTI | Kolkata | August 18, 2020 1:48:49 pm
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The Calcutta High Court on Monday proposed the formation of a two-member committee headed by the vice-chancellor of Jadavpur University to look into the accounts of private schools, following a petition seeking concession in fees in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A division bench comprising justices Sanjib Banerjee and Moushumi Bhattacharya rejected a prayer by the petitioner for relaxing a previous order on payment of 80 per cent dues of school fees by July 31.

It, however, extended the deadline for payment till the next week.

Claiming that only online classes are being held by schools, reducing their expenses on several fronts, a section of parents had moved the high court, seeking curtailment of fees.

Read | Covid-19 impact: Unaided private schools fear closure as fees slashed, students switching to govt schools

The high court said the two-member committee will be headed by Professor Suranjan Das, the vice-chancellor of Jadavpur University, provided he agrees to the court’s request.

The other members of the panel will be named by the state’s Advocate-General from among recent retired heads of the West Bengal Higher Secondary Board or Secondary Board, the bench said.

The court directed that the matter will be taken up on Tuesday for constituting the committee and other related orders.

At least 112 private schools in Kolkata and other parts of West Bengal have been named in the petition.

The committee will receive the accounts pertaining to the income and expenditure of all the schools involved in the present proceedings within a week from Tuesday. The particulars to be furnished by the schools should include figures for the months January to July, 2020, the court said.

“Such figures will give the committee an idea as to what the normal income and expenditure of the schools ought to be, and what the income and expenditure has been after the lockdown started towards the end of March.

“The object of the exercise is to ascertain the variable costs involved and the extent of concession that the schools ought to pass on to the students and the parents…,” the bench said.

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