The Rajasthan High court hearing a writ petition directed the schools to follow the state government notification and charge 60% tuition fees in schools affiliated with the state board and 70% tuition fees in private schools affiliated to CBSE for the current academic year after taking into consideration the plight of the parents in these ‘unprecedented’ times of the pandemic.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic upon implementation of the nation-wide lockdown, the Rajasthan state government directed the schools for deferment of school fees for three months. On 07/07/2020 the deferment was extended through the government order till the schools reopen. The order was challenged in the court after which the government formed a committee and a new order was issued on 28/10/2020 regarding fees that could be charged by the schools. The order directed the schools affiliated with the state education board to charge 60% of tuition fees and private schools affiliated to CBSE to charge 70% of the tuition fees, the order further directed that no student was to be expelled due to non-payment of fees however, they can be denied to attend online classes and also stated that no school may charge any fee for extra co-curricular facilities that are not provided by them such as laboratory or library fees.
State Government’s response:
He further added that if the government order is not accepted by the schools’ managements and parents they may determine fees as per the provisions of Rajasthan Schools Act, 2016 and Rajasthan Schools Rules, 2017.Court’s Decision
The court further remarked that it is true that in a normal situation the private schools are entitled to collection of school fees as per the provisions of the act of 2016 but as discussed above provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 have an overriding effect on all other statues and the impugned orders have been found to be issued under the act of 2005 for mitigating the plight of the citizens in unprecedented crises of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The court disposed of the petitions after directing the schools to collect a fee as per the state government’s order and further adding directions for a fair determination of fees if parents and school take recourse and determine the fees as per the Rajasthan Schools Act 2016, and Rajasthan Schools Rules 2017. [READ JUDGMENT]