The High Court of Kerala has been approached by 28 Law Students of National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS) against the collection of fee for services which are not being availed by the students during the period of lockdown.
Plea by the NUALS students
The plea seeks directions to NUALS by the Court mandating that other than tuition fee, NUALS is not entitled to collect fee for services that are not being availed by the students due to the closure of campus and the conduct of classes online by the college authorities in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
University’s Fee Demand
Direction to the Students to pay a fee which includes Library Fee, Information System Facility Fee, Electricity Charges, Students’ Welfare Fund, Students’ Council Fee, Sports & Games Fee, Moot Court Fee, Medical/Gym/Fitness Fee, Journal Fee, Bus fee and Debating Society Fee have been asked by the University.
Contentions by students of NUALS
Contentions were made by the students that other than tuition fee, the inaction on the part of the University in granting waiver of fee for the facilities which are not being availed by them goes against the legitimate expectation of the petitioners and is totally arbitrary and illegal.
BCI Notice to aid the plea
The students also relied on a BCI circular where all the law colleges in the country were instructed to consider granting fee concession in view of the savings on electricity charges and maintenance of infrastructure which the colleges would have otherwise had to bear when physical classes were conducted and sympathetically consider the request made by the students regarding fee concession.
Chief Justice Favors Students’ Plight
In the writ petition filed through M/s. Ninan & Mathew Advocates, the students expressed that the Chief Justice of the High Court of Kerala, who is the Chancellor, NUALS, had directed the university to consider the issue raised by the student’s council. But the university administration without favourable consideration of fee reduction insisted that the fee should be paid.