In a major relief, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Friday restrained the Education Department from taking any coercive sort of action against unaided schools in relation to recovery of fees.
The Unaided Schools Welfare association moved the orders of the Education Department asking them not to recover fees from parents during the pandemic situation pointing out such orders were illegal and unconstitutional. In a circular based on March 30, the private schools cannot force parents to pay fees during the lockdown.
Oppressed by the decision, educational institutions across Maharashtra had approached the High Court. On June 26, in a major retrieve to private schools, the Principal bench had stayed Guaranteed Remittance (GR) dated May 8 barring schools from hiking fees for the academic year 2020-21 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following pressure from parents, the State had approached the Supreme Court, but the Apex Court remanded the matter back to the High Court for disposal.
The schools are not insisting upon the payment of any fees by the students admitted under the provisions of the Right to Education Act, the petitioner-association claimed while seeking an immediate stay to coercive action proposed by the department.
A division bench consisting of Justice Sunil Shukre and Justice Avinash Gharote, while issuing notice to Union HRD Ministry, State Education Department, Director of Education and Deputy Director of Education directed that until further orders, no coercive steps be taken against the petitioners, in relation to the recovery of fees.
The matter has been fixed for final disposal after three weeks. Senior Counsel Sunil Manohar and Adv V S Kukde appeared for the petitioner-association. ASGI Ulhas Aurangabadkar (Union), Additional GP Dipak Thakre (State) represented the respondents.