A Single Bench of Justice Amit Rawal of Kerala High Court has directed the National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS) to consider waiving of fees for Gym and Transit (Bus) facility as these services are not at all being used by students amid suspension of physical classes.
“In a peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, I am of the view that 100% reduction on these two heads should have been given. Accordingly, I direct the Executive Council to re-consider the issue regarding considering the 100% waiver on these two headsHe has asked the University to take a final decision on this aspect, within a period of fifteen days.
The Court was hearing a writ petition filed by 28 students of the Law University, studying in different semesters. They had submitted before the High Court that even though they were permitted to deposit fees in instalments amid the Covid induced financial crisis, there was no reduction in fees.
They were specifically aggrieved by levy of additional charges for facilities that were not being used during suspension of physical classes.
Advocate Santhosh Mathews submitted that reduction on different heads, like 25% on library fees, Information System Facility fee, Electricity Charges, Student’s Welfare Fund, Medical/Gym/ Fitness fee, 30% on Sports & Games fee, Moot Court fee, bus fee, 50% reduction on Student’s Council fee and debating Society fee, was granted.
The Kerala High Court was however not convinced with this submission and it observed that “Calcutta High Court is based upon different facts, which cannot be taken as a precedent for decision of the controversy involved herein.“
It further recorded that it was conscious of the settled position of law that a Court cannot, under Article 226 of the Constitution, assume the role of an Appellate Court even if two different views are possible.
The Bench also made it clear that the Executive Council of NUALS, after decision to fix a time will notify the time-line to students for availment of the new fees structure without insisting on payment of fine.
Significantly, NUALS had contended that it was not possible to further grant any reduction on the fees for additional facilities as per Section 20 of the NUALS Act, 2005, which empowers the Executive Council to manage and regulate finances, accounts, business and other administrative fares of the University and also to approve financial estimates of the income and expenditure of University.
“It is not appropriate to make one-one comparison of fees receipts against usage,” the University submitted.