The Rajasthan High Court on Monday allowed private schools to collect 70 per cent of tuition fee from students. The order came while it was hearing petitions against a state government order barring schools from collecting fee for three months in view of Covid-19. The court said that on non-payment of fees, students can be barred from joining online classes, but shall not be expelled.
The order by Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma came during a hearing on petitions by the Society of Catholic Education Institutions in Rajasthan and other outfits.
One of the petitioners, the Progressive School Association, said the state government had directed schools that after March 15, 2020, collection of all outstanding dues, current fees and advance fees be deferred for three months.
The petitioners argued that the state did not have the power to restrain private schools from collecting fees. They also said that “there has already been a deferment of fees for a long period of almost six months and the schools required to maintain the infrastructure and also pay salaries to its staff, which includes non-teaching and teaching staff and are facing great hardship and therefore, by interim arrangement at least tuition fees be allowed to be collected from students”.
The court observed that under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the government has jurisdiction to lay down policy and “the petitioners are all non-governmental organisations and are expected therefore to play their necessary role in mitigating the sufferance caused to the public at large while at the same time also protect their own staff from facing financial difficulties”.
As an interim measure, “and till the situation gets normalised” the high court directed that schools may collect “70 per cent of the tuition fees element from the total fees being charged for the year”.