The Bombay High Court has stayed the order of the Maharashtra government which barred schools from charging new and increased fees for the academic year 2020-21.
Four petitions were filed by the Association of Indian Schools, Kasegaon Education Society, Global Education Foundation, and Sant Dnyaneshwar Mauli Sanstha. The petitions filed before the High Court demanded that the government resolution to be revoked as they contested that it is ‘unconstitutional’, and ‘unlawful’.
The schools argued that order is inconsistent with the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (regulation of fees) Act. They further argued that the government had initially directed schools not to insist on payment of fees for the academic year 2019-2020 and not to hike the fees for the year 2020-21. At the hearing via video conferencing by Justices Ujjal Bhuyan and Riyaz Chagla, the petitioners argued that the state had no power either under the Fees Act or the Disaster Management Act to regulate fees of private schools. “Such decision impinges on the constitutional rights under Article 19 (1) (g) of the school managements ‘to practice any profession, carry on any occupation, trade or business’.
However, the state had argued that it has powers to take such decisions under the Fees Act and Disaster Management Act. The assistant government pleader then sought time to reply and requested the High Court not to pass orders before giving an opportunity to the state to file a reply and make submissions.
The High Court has stayed the order for six weeks. Their reasoned order for the stay will be out later.
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