The Gujarat High Court on Friday set aside a specific clause in the government resolution passed by the Gujarat Education department wherein it had barred self-financed schools from charging fees for the duration during which no classes were conducted owing to the lockdown imposed in light of Covid-19 outbreak.
The clause also barred self-financed schools from increasing fees for the academic year 2020-’21 and also permitted the private schools to instead put forth a proposal for fee hike the next academic year to cover up for expenses incurred during the current year. The HC decision came after it heard three stakeholders in the GR which was dated July 16 and made public on July 22 — the self-financed schools’ association, the parents of school-going children and the state government.
Advocate Vishal Dave who was representing the parents of the children in one of the three public interest litigations, told this paper, that the court directed the state government as well as the Federation of Self-Financed Schools to hold a meeting and renegotiate to arrive at a consensus only with respect to the specific clause of the GR which has been set aside, so that a decision can be arrived at which is in the best interest of all parties involved.
Reacting to the order, Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said, “The High Court had directed the schools to continue online classes after hearing the state government, parents and self financed school management associations. Keeping the final order pending, the HC has directed that online classes should be continued. Will study the final order and implement it completely.”
The division bench of the HC has reserved its order, and speaking with The Indian Express Chudasama added, “Since we have not received a written order, will implement it once they receive it.”
Similarly, president of Gujarat Self Financed School Management Association Bharat Gajipara said, “We only know about the order watching it on the television. We have received nothing in writing. We would be able to take action once we get a copy and then able to analyse it.”
The three PILs by the parents and one petition which was filed by the Federation of Self-Financed Schools challenging the state’s GR, were disposed of while the final order has been reserved.
The GR had kicked up a storm with the private school associations objecting to the blanket restriction of not charging fees. The HC on Thursday had questioned the state government on the logic behind issuing the resolution.
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