The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday disposed of the petition filed by 87 private schools of Haryana, by extending the order passed in case of Punjab schools to those in Haryana. The order allows all private schools to collect admission and tuition fees from students regardless of whether they are holding online classes or not.
The order was pronounced by the bench of Justice Ramendra Jain. A copy of the judgment is yet to be released by the Court.
As per the order in the matter of Punjab schools, the single bench of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur ruled on June 30, that all the private schools in Punjab, whether conducting online classes or not, are entitled to collect admission and tuition fee. The order was pronounced after the Punjab government issued a slew of directions pertaining to payment of fee in wake of the Covid-19 situation and closure of the schools amid curfew and lockdown.
In the case of Punjab, the bench had also allowed the schools to collect other charges for the lockdown period, but with a rider. The court also restrained the schools from increasing the fee for the ongoing academic session (2020-21) and ordered them to adopt the same fee structure as of previous year.
At least 87 schools of Haryana had approached the High Court against CM Manohar Lal Khattar’s government order restraining them from collecting the enhanced fees and other funds from schoolchildren for the lockdown period.
The petitioner Sarv Vidyalya Sangh, which has more than 87 schools in different districts of the state, in the petition filed through advocate Pankaj Maini argued that the authorities cannot prevent the schools from charging the fee at enhanced rate and submitted the schools 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 fees 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.
Meanwhile, submitting in their petition that each school management will have to incur at least Rs 20 to Rs 25 lakh to follow the new norms once the lockdown is lifted, the schools 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. Also the Haryana schools had 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.
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