Parents from eight states approached the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking directions to bring in regulatory mechanisms for fees in private schools during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
Parents of the school-going children who have moved the top court hail from Rajasthan, Odisha, Punjab, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Delhi, and Maharashtra.
A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court by the parents of children from different States seeking declaration of moratorium or deferment of payment of school fees during the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
Since the countrywide lockdown was announced forcing all the activities including the educational sector to remain shut down completely had a catastrophic effect over the economy of the country with many people losing their jobs or getting a deducted or nil income and facing immense sufferings in their daily life.
“The Petitioners belonging to different states of the country have come together being constrained to approach this Court seeking inter alia the protection of the fundamental right to life as well as education guaranteed under the Constitution of India, 1950 which the children & students enrolled up to the Class XII of various Indian states are being deprived of due to supervening factors namely, the ongoing pandemic- COVID-19 period,” the plea said.
“The school-going children and students were unable to attend the physical classes at their respective schools. Some of the private aided/unaided schools made arrangements for online classes in April 2020 however the same has not been universally made available and even cases where no online classes are being conducted the schools are charging normal fees and rather some schools have hiked the fees,” the plea said.
The plea also seeks direction to Centre and all the States for directing all the private unaided/aided schools to only charge the proportionate fees based on actual expenditure towards the conduct of the online virtual classes and no other fees from the students since April 1 till the commencement of physical classes.
It said full fees should not be charged for online classes and claimed that several schools are charging extra fees for online classes.
The plea said that parents are facing constant financial and emotional hardships during the lockdown and it may leave a few of them with no option but to withdraw their children or students from schools.
The petition said that direction must be issued to schools to only charge the ‘tuition fees’ and no other fees whatsoever from the enrolled students since April 1 till the physical classes resume.