Nearly 500 unaided schools in West Bengal run by different churches and Anglo-Indian bodies on Friday decided to move the Supreme Court against a recent order of the Calcutta High Court.
The Calcutta High Court order had asked 145 private schools in the state to waive 20 per cent tuition fees between April and one month after the institutions resume on-campus classes. Many of the 145 schools are run by churches and Anglo-Indian bodies.
The decision to challenge the High Court order was taken at a meeting between the representatives of 76 founder bodies that run the 500 odd Christian schools in Bengal on Friday evening.
Father Moloy D’Costa, general secretary of the West Bengal Association of Christian Schools said the schools want to move the apex court against the high court’s order to offer 20 per cent concession to all students because they have found that there were several guardians who have been paid full salaries by their employers during the pandemic.
The schools are of the opinion that they should not be barred from asking such guardians to pay the full amount of fees.
“We (the schools) are not against offering the 20 per cent waiver to students who are going through financial crisis. But there are guardians who work in government offices and government departments. Many of them have not faced salary cuts. There is no justification to offer them the 20 per cent concession ,” Father Moloy D’Costa told EducationWorld after the meeting. He said many of these schools were facing acute financial crisis as students have not cleared their fees for several months.
Father Moloy D’Costa said the court order says that the schools will have to disclose their accounts details to a court-appointed committee. He said the schools were against this because it was an infringement on the minority rights of the Christian schools guaranteed in Article 30(1) of the Constitution.
“The schools will also challenge this decision in the Supreme Court. The interference of such a committee will be an infringement on the minority rights of the Christian schools,” Father Moloy D’Costa said.
A Kolkata-based social activist had filed a PIL alleging that several private schools had not been allowing students to attend online classes or taking the online examinations for not paying their fees.
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