A Division Bench of Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition challenging a single bench order on a plea seeking directions to schools to suspend fees charged under various heads, other than the tuition fee, for the month of April, May and June on account of COVID-19 pandemic.
A Division Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice C Harishankar on Monday dismissed the plea saying it found no reason to entertain it and added that the impugned order dated April 17 has correctly analysed the situation by distinguishing between expenditures incurred by schools.
“We find that the impugned Order, dated April 17, 2020, has correctly analysed the situation, by distinguishing between the expenditure incurred by schools “on co-curricular activities, sports activities, transportation, other development-related activities, etc” and expenditure incurred on “salary, establishments, and curricular activities” the court observed.
It said that the fees relatable to expenditure incurred on the former category of activities, like co-curricular activities, sports activities, transportation, and other development-related activities, stand completely exempted by virtue of the order and added that no school can charge any fees relatable thereto.
“The impugned order, however, does not exempt students from the requirement of payment of tuition fees, for the simple reason that tuition fees cover salary, establishments, and curricular activities, the expenditure where on continue to be incurred by schools, even during the period of lockdown, and before they are able to resume normal work,” the court said.
“Money does not grow on trees, and unaided schools, who received no funds from the government, are entirely dependent on fees, to defray their daily expenses. We, therefore, find that, in allowing unaided schools to charge tuition fees, whereby expenses incurred on salary, establishments, and curricular activities may be defrayed by them,” it added.
A single Bench of Justice M Pratibha Singh had, on April 17, had disposed of the petition saying if parents face undue demands of paying of consolidated fees from private schools in the national capital, they can bring it to the notice of the Directorate of Education.
It had said that the authorities have already barred the charging of any fees except tuition fees and that schools cannot deny access to online classes and other educational facilities due to the non-payment of fees.