School challenges Delhi govt circular to not deny online classes to students who can't pay fees

School challenges Delhi govt circular to not deny online classes to students who can't pay fees (Source: Shutterstock)
Press Trust of India | Jul 10, 2020 - 3:36 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has sought the AAP government's response on a school's plea challenging its circular directing all schools not to deny ID and password for online classes to students who did not pay fees due to financial constraints.

Justice Jayant Nath issued notice to the Delhi government's Directorate of Education (DoE) and sought its stand on the plea which has challenged its April 18 circular which says only tuition fees shall be charged from parents during the COVID-19 lockdown.

In its order passed on July 8, the high court asked the private school to follow certain steps before denying ID and password for online education facility. It said such facility can be denied to those students who have not paid fees despite having no financial difficulties. After hearing advocate Romy Chacko, who appeared for the private school, the high court asked the school to first issue notices to the parents who have defaulted in fee payment for more than two months asking them give reasons for the same.

Schools can approach appropriate authority

If the parents are able to prove their financial problems/financial incapacity to immediately pay the pending fees, "the petitioner-school shall not take any further steps for the time being against such parents", the high court said. "Where the parents are unable to satisfy/demonstrate to the petitioner regarding their financial difficulties, the petitioner is free to so communicate the same to the parents and decline to provide them ID and password for online education facility for the students," the high court said.

It further said that any parent aggrieved by the school's decision are free to approach appropriate authority of the Delhi government and listed the matter for further hearing on August 5. In the plea filed through Chacko, the school has contended that "taking unfair advantage" of the circular's provisions, about 40 per cent of the students are defaulting in payment of tuition fee resulting in grave financial crisis to the institution which is "struggling to pay the salaries of the staff and the teachers".

The school has urged the court to allow it to charge the actual expenditure incurred by it during the lockdown period in the form of fees from the students.

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