HC refuses to hear plea seeking to direct pvt. schools not to charge tuition fees

The Delhi High Court has refused to hear a plea seeking to direct private unaided schools in the Capital not to charge tuition fees during the lockdown period.

“It is not possible for this court to issue any mandamus, directing unaided schools – who, it is trite, received no financial aid from the executive and are, therefore, dependent on fees for their expenses...,” a Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar said.

“Providing e-education is no child’s play, and involves the requirement of extensive infrastructural adjustments, including all incidental expenses in arranging access to online platforms, over which education could be provided, and in actually providing such education,” the court remarked.

“To suggest that, having made all these arrangements, schools should not be permitted to charge tuition fees, would be bordering on absurdity,” it remarked while rejecting the petition seeking direction to the private schools not to charge tuition fees, keeping in view the present situation arising out of COVID-19, at least during the lockdown period.

The plea, filed by a practicing lawyer, also sought to set aside or modify Delhi government’s April 17 order to the extent that tuition fees, if any, be charged after an appropriate and reasonable time from the re-opening of the schools. The court said the Delhi government order notes the effort by several private schools to disseminate education online as a welcome step which is aimed at ensuring that students do not suffer in their curricular activities during the 2020-21 academic session.

“We wholeheartedly endorse this sentiment. Judicial notice may be taken of the painstaking efforts, made by schools and teachers, in providing education, and holding classes, through online platforms,” the Bench said.

So long as schools are disseminating education online, they are certainly entitled to charge tuition fees. Rather, the expenditure involved in disseminating education online may, conceivably, be much greater than that involved in classroom teaching. Providing e-education is no child’s play , the high court said .

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 7:13:24 PM |

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