In view of Covid pandemic the Bombay High Court on Friday stayed the Maharashtra Government’s directive barring an increase or hike in school fees this year (academic year 2020-21).
The resolution had been passed by the Government invoking Section 21 of the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2011 and Section 26 (i) and (l) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
Bench of Justices Riyaz I Chagla and Ujjal Bhuyan on Friday found prima facie merit and observed,
“Prima facie having regard to the scheme of section 6, we are of the view that section 21 could not have been invoked by the State Government to have issued the impugned Government Resolution.”
The Court added that it could not find any provision enabling the Government to issue the May 8 resolution in the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 or the Disaster Management Act, 2005 either.
The Court has now stayed the May 8 State Government Resolution and all allied communications made subsequently in case of school fees . The Court, however, added that the schools may consider allowed the payment of school fees in instalments in view of difficulties that may be faced by parents in these testing times.
“… we are also mindful of the difficulties faced by the parents in these testing times. Therefore we feel that management of the private unaided schools may consider providing option to the students / parents to pay the fee in such instalments as is considered reasonable and also to allow them the option to pay the fee online”, the order states.
The matter has been posted to be taken up next on August 11.