Calcutta High Court Orders 112 Schools to Not Bar Students Participating In Class Till August 15

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A writ petition was filed in the High Court. The petition says that students should not be barred from online classes or online exams.

Arguments before the Court 

The principal grievance that is raised is that the private, unaided schools in the city or elsewhere demand regular fees. The schools also have not functioned for the last 4 months.

The writ petitioner demands discounts on account of reduced costs in the running of the schools. The writ petitioner claims that online courses and examinations have been started by some of the 112 schools. The students whose fees have not been cleared have been barred from participating in the online courses or taking online exams.

This writ petition was filed on July 7, 2020. The High Court was suspended for the last ten days because of the increased Covid-19 cases in the city and several Court employees being affected. Only urgent matters have only been taken up on the virtual mode from the residences of Hon’ble Judges.

The writ petitioner filed WP(C) No.000722 before the Supreme Court seeking urgent interim orders till such time that this High Court was able to address the petition. Given that the petition is now taken by the Court, the writ petitioner has submitted to withdraw the petition filed before the Supreme Court. This order is based on such submission to withdraw the relevant petition from the Supreme Court.

Learned Advocate-General submits that requests have been made from time to time by the State Government. It is done through notifications, calling, and other mediums. It is upon the private, unaided schools to refrain from increasing the fees and giving discounts and concessions to the students or parents.

Also not all the teachers are paid full or the dues have not been cleared. Many of the staff were also paid low. Currently, some of the schools represented have been heard. It is submitted on behalf of such schools that contractual employees have not been paid for their services.

A point of maintainability has been taken by some of the schools represented. Prima facie, considering the gravity of the matter, there may not be any merit in such a point. The issue of maintainability is left open to be addressed at a later stage.

Judgment

The Courts have told that 112 schools will have the liberty to be there at the Court. The Court said that none of the students will be barred from attending online classes until August 15. The outstanding fees of the students should be cleared up to the extent of 80% till August 15.

Those already debarred from online courses or online examinations will be restored to their previous status. It is that if large payments are made on behalf of the students who are in default, the relevant schools will not drop the online courses for any meager shortfall in payment.


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