The Bombay HC recently stayed the State Government’s resolution (GR) prohibiting educational institutions from charging a hiked fee for the 2020-21 academic year. This interim stay came as a surprise to the parents. The State will take up the matter soon, but until then the stay on the GR remains.
The Government Resolution (GR)
The GR was passed considering the COVID-19 pandemic. It directed institutions not to collect pending fees for the previous academic year. It also gave parents an option to deposit fees monthly or quarterly. The aggrieved parties are various educational trusts running schools across the State.
Senior Advocate Milind Sathe, Advocates Pravin Samdhani and Prateek Sakseria appeared for the petitioners along with Amogh Singh and Nivit Shrivastava instructed by Vidhi
Partners. They submitted that the order is unconstitutional.
The arguments put forth stated that their right to run schools, under Article 19 (1)(g), was being violated. Their contention was that the State’s act violates Section 21 of the Maharashtra Educational Institution (Regulation of Fees) Act. Furthermore, in the petitioner’s opinion, the GR was “excessive” and “unlawful”.
AGP BV Samant and AGP Manish appeared for the State. They argued that the State has the power to regulate and issue such orders under the Act. They also contended that the
Disaster Management Act also allows the State to pass such orders. Therefore, Samant sought more time to reply to the matter in question and requested the bench to not pass any order till then.
The Bench of Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice RI Chagla heard the case. The Court granted interim relief to the petitioners. They also scheduled the matter for hearing in the upcoming
weeks. Thus, the stay on the GR and compliance of communication issued by the education department will continue until then.
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