The Rajasthan High Court has observed that students have to pay tuition fees to schools pertaining to online classes and that, schools cannot be deprived of it. The Court has pointed out that as compared to previous times the working expenditure of the school at present times is less. Subsequently, an interim order has been passed by a single bench which permitted schools to take 70% of tuition fees from students in three installments from March, 2020.
The court ordered that the first installment is to be paid on or before 30th September, the second installment by November 11, and the third installment by January 31, 2021. The HC added that schools can prohibit students who don’t pay the fees from attending the classes but cannot expel them..
The Society of Catholic Education Institutions, Nisa Education, Progressive Schools Association, D.G.J Educational Society and School Shiksha Pariwar Sanstha had filed a writ petition against the State Government’s order which directed the schools to put off the collection of fees from students for good until any decision is taken by the State Government for the commencement of schools. The schools have also been instructed to not strike off the names of the students who have not paid the fees.
The petitioners contended that the Disaster Management Act is not empowered to issue such directions and that the schools have taken every step to deliver online classes without any hindrance. They also submitted that the teachers have to be paid their salaries. Therefore, there is no reason as to why there should be a complete restrain on the collection of fees and that it is not reasonable step to take.
The State Government countered that, considering the effect of the pandemic on the lives of the people and the parents who have to incur expenses in order to provide all the equipments to their children for online classes, when the rate of their earnings have dropped is not feasible.
The single bench of Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma, taking note of the various orders passed by different High Courts ordered,
“this Court by an interim measure and till the situation gets normalized, directs the school authorities to allow the students to continue their studies online and allow them to deposit 70% of the tuition fees element from the total fees being charged for the year. The said 70% of the tuition fees shall be paid for the period from March, 2020 in three installments to the respective schools.
However, it is further made clear that the question regarding remaining fees shall be examined at the stage of final disposal of these writ petitions. The orders are being passed as interim arrangement subject to final adjudication of the case”