On 24 June, a public interest litigation seeking a direction on all the schools and colleges in the state to completely fee waive off , including tuition fees was dismissed by the Allahabad High Court.
Submissions in the court were made that the period of closure of schools and colleges during the COVID crisis should be treated as a “holiday” and the institutions should be restrained from demanding fees for such period by the Petitioner, Ashutosh Kumar Pandey.
The bench of Justice Sunita Agarwal and JusticeSaumitraDayal Singh mentioned,
“Most of the schools and colleges are taking up on-line classes for the students and teachers are taking either live classes or sending videos to the students. Even students are being given homework and the same is being checked by the teachers” and hence, the argument is discarded.
The schools observing holidays during Covid-19 epidemic is absolutely a false/ wrong submission from petitioner’s end, said the Court.
The bench observed that the Petitioner did not have the locus to approach the court and termed the petition of fee waiver to be misconceived.
The court said that “The petitioner herein has no locus to raise the issue, that too, in the nature of mandamus commanding the respondents i.e. the State Government to issue a Government Order in this respect,” and hence, the PIL of fee waive was dismissed.
The charging of tuition fee is justified as schools are organising online classes, providing study materials, and paying staff salaries the Delhi High Court had held recently.
Another petition is pending before the Lucknow Bench of the High Court relating to payment of school fees. Prayers has been made by the petitioner for fee waiver that all private schools in the State should be directed to charge only tuition feeuntil the lockdown prevails and desist from levying other ancillary charges to the students.