In a recent judgement dated 8th February, 2021, that came as a relief to Private School Managements , the Supreme court of the country stayed an order of the Rajasthan High Court dated 18th December,2020 under which such schools were directed to forego 30% tuition fee.
According to the directions issued by the State Education Department in October,2020, the state board affiliated schools were permitted to collected only upto 60% of the school fees while CBSE affiliated schools were allowed to charge upto 70% of the fees.
Further, on 9th April,2020 , the Board had directed private schools not to charge tuition fees for the first three months of the lockdown. Another order was issued by the Board on July 7 2021 directing schools to not charge fees until the start of physical classes. While online classes continued in CBSE affiliated schools,parents refused to pay the fees citing the Government order which made the situation all the more messy. The direction contributed to the already chaotic situation between parents and Private School Management in Rajasthan.
This order was upheld by that Rajasthan High Court on December,18, 2020.
The Supreme court in this case was hearing a series of petitions filed by many private schools challenging the order of the Rajasthan High Court.
The Division bench of the Apex court comprising Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari held that from now on the private CBSE and state board private schools of Rajasthan have the liberty to charge 100% tuition fee from its students on a six months installment basis starting from March 5, 2021 to August, 5, 2021.
In its judgement, the court acknowledged the difficulties being faced by private schools during this time. However, the court also made it clear that no school has the authority to debar students from attending online or offlice classes or exams or withhold their exam results for the reason of non-payment of fees. Additionally, Students of class 10 and 12 shall not be prevented from appearing for Board exams if they fail to pay the fees . In such a case, the parents of such students are required to sign an undertaking that states that the due fees will be paid later.
Moreover, the state government of Rajasthan is also required to unclog the outstanding dues within a period of one month with respect to unit costs in private unaided schools for the purpose of covering the costs borne by them to teach 25 percent students belonging to the economically weaker sections of the society under with the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009.
The order has been applauded by the President of the Society for Unaided Private Schools of Rajasthan, Damodar Goyal who expressed hope that other states would take cue from this judgement and permit private schools to collect full fees.