The present Writ Petition (Rajat Vats v. Government of NCT of Delhi & Anr.) was moved by a practising lawyer seeking direction to the Respondent to give relaxation or suspend the fees of private schools of any nature in the State of NCT of Delhi. These fees included transportation or other charges except tuition fees for April, May and June 2020 on account of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Submission By The Petitioner:
It was submitted by the Petitioner that as the schools are not functioning during the period of lockdown, the private schools ought not to be made to pay the transport charges, the fee for extra-curricular activities and other fees. It was further submitted that the payment of tuition fee shall also be postponed. It was argued by the counsel that various parents have deposited the extra fee, apart from the tuition fee, and the same shall be adjusted by the Government.
Submission By The Respondent:
The Counsel for the respondent submitted that the Government is fully aware of the issues raised by the petitioner in the present matter and the Directorate of Education has already passed an Order dated 17th April 2020 to the effect that no fee except the tuition fee is charged to the parents. The respondent further highlighted that the Government is also conscious of such students who might be facing financial difficulties and has decided that the course material and online classes shall be made available to such students also who are not able to pay the tuition fee on time.
The Honourable High Court of Delhi, by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh, passed an Order on the 20th April 2020 after considering the Order of the Directorate of Education passed on 17th of April. The court observed that the concerned authorities have already taken the necessary steps by barring the extra charges, except the tuition fees. The Court further stated that
“Insofar as the tuition fee is concerned, the charging of the same would be justified because almost all the schools are conducting online classes and the teachers are discharging their functions by imparting course work over online platforms, checking project work online, correcting papers wherein students have already given examinations, preparing questions on lessons taught and supervising students to complete the work given etc. There is also a burden on the schools to pay their staff during these months”.
The court directed that in cases where the schools are demanding consolidated fee, without distinguishing the various heads, the concerned parents would be entitled to bring the same in front of the Directorate of Education. The Directorate of Education shall take steps against such schools per the law.
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