Tamil Nadu

HC issues slew of directions on fee collection by pvt. schools

CHENNAI, 11/04/2008: Madras High Court buildings in Chennai on April 11, 2008. Photo: V. Ganesan   | Photo Credit: V. Ganesan

The Madras High Court on Friday issued a slew of directions with respect to collection of school fees in the State for the academic year 2021-22. It ordered that private schools must collect only 85% of the annual school fees, which was last fixed with respect to the academic year 2019-20, in six instalments from parents who had not suffered loss of income due to the pandemic.

Justice D. Krishnakumar clarified that those serving in State and Central government services, public sector undertakings, well-established businessmen and other professionals should be considered as people who had not suffered loss of income due to the successive lockdowns imposed by the government to fight COVID-19 and could afford to pay 85% of fees.

If the first instalment had already been paid, the balance shall be paid in five instalments and the last instalment could be collected by the schools by February 1, 2022. “If any student has already paid the entire fees including arrears with respect to last academic year, the same shall not be a ground to claim for refund of the fees,” the judge ordered.

However, with respect to parents who had suffered loss of income, they could take out appropriate applications so that the schools could consider their request and collect only 75% of the fees in six instalments. If someone required further concession, on account of unemployment or closure of business, their case could be considered sympathetically on a case-to-case basis, he said.

The judge further ordered that even the arrears due for the past academic years must be demanded only in instalments, and not in lumpsum. It was made clear that no unaided school should debar a student from attending either online classes or physical classes on account of non-payment of fees or arrears.

Examination results should also not be withheld for non-payment of fees and “if any such action is brought to the notice of the educational authorities, it shall be viewed seriously and suitable action shall be taken against the institutions concerned,” the judgement, passed on a batch of cases filed by private schools and their associations, read. The verdict also stated that it would be open to the individual schools to give further concession to their students or to evolve a different pattern for giving concessions over and above those which the court had ordered. Any dispute with respect to collection of fees must be resolved by the District Educational Officers concerned within 30 days of an application made to them.

“The students shall not be removed/dropped out from the institutions under any circumstances during 2021-22 and it is the responsibility of the jurisdictional educational authorities to monitor the same,” Justice Krishnakumar ordered.

The judge said the government could also consider providing financial assistance to the deserving students for continuing in private schools if there were any unfilled seats available under the 25% quota under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. He directed CBSE schools to publish details of fees on their websites within four weeks.

Finally, the court directed the government to fill up all vacancies in Tamil Nadu Private Schools Fee Determination Committee within eight weeks so that the panel could start fixing the fees for individual schools for the next academic year.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 7:29:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-issues-slew-of-directions-on-fee-collection-by-pvt-schools/article35642682.ece

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