Rajasthan HC Allows Private Schools To Collect a Portion of Their Fees

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In a recent development related to the lockdown relaxation process, Rajasthan HC has allowed Private schools to collect 70% of their fees in instalments. Earlier, the schools were prohibited from expelling students in case of failure on the part of their parents to pay their fees.

Facts

The Court was hearing multiple pleas moved on behalf of private schools in Rajasthan. This was in the light of a pro-student directive. The pleas were challenging a Rajasthan Government directive that required private schools to defer school fee collection amid the pandemic.

An initial notice directed private schools to hold off on collecting fees for three months, while a subsequent circular/notice dated July 7 extended the operation of the first circular till further notice.

Arguments

The schools argued that they had infrastructural accommodations to maintain and that they had to pay their ancillary staff, while also shouldering the costs of online classes and teachers’ salaries.

They also stated that the earlier decision by the HC was causing a lot of strain on the functioning of private schools. The schools argued that a more sustainable step should be taken to allow smooth functioning on the side of schools itself.

Though the option to stop students from attending classes on account of such failure was permitted, the earlier order stated that schools were prohibited from removing students from schools on their parents’ inability to pay their fees. 

Court’s Observation

The Bench sought to balance the two opposing interests. It observed that the proper functioning of private schools should be in sync with relief for the students and their parents. The Bench sought to strike a balance between the two opposing interests.

The Court decided that a balance is required to be struck between the financial difficulty of the school management relating to the the the the the release of the salary of the staff and least upkeep of school on one side and the financial pressure, which has come on the parents due to the COVID 19 pandemic and the subsequent lock-down.

Court’s Decision

Thus, in the interim order passed on Monday, the Rajasthan High Court has allowed private schools in the State to collect a part of their yearly tuition fees.

It laid down certain guidelines-

  • Students cannot be removed from schools for their parents’ failure to pay the tuition fee instalments in time.
  • However, students can be forbidden from attending online classes for such failure to pay up the fee.
  • The said 70% of the tuition fees should be paid for the period from March 2020 in three instalments. The 1st instalment is to be paid before or on September 30, the second instalment is to be paid before or on November 30, 2020, and the third instalment is to be paid by January 31, 2021.

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