Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) for fee waiver during the current Covid-19 pandemic, the Calcutta High Court has proposed that schools set up committees to decide fee waiver quantums.
The bench said that there cannot be a ‘general order’ for reduction of fees across the board as different schools have different expenses. Thus, the 145 private schools involved in the case set up committees which would consist of head of each school, three senior teachers, and three guardian representatives of the students of such school to voluntarily suggest the extent of reduction that every school would be able to bear. The committee would also identify the parents who were genuinely unable to pay the fees because of financial trouble during the pandemic.
The court order further stated, “It will be open to all schools to consider such instances on a case-to-case basis without there being any generic direction in such regard. However, as far as the extent of (fee) reduction allowable, there have to be voluntary suggestions made by the individual committees of each school which are proposed to be set up by the order that may be passed when the matter is taken up next”. “It is heartening to note that almost without exception schools which have participated in today’s hearing have said that they have entertained, on a case-to-case basis, appeals by the parents of the students who have been financially hit,” the order said.
Earlier, the court urged the parents to refrain from holding protests in front of school gates while the court hears their plea for a fee waiver. Parents have been agitating to press their demand for reduction of tuition fee and waiver of fee under other heads like sports, computer etc as these facilities are not availed by students due to closure of schools since six months.
The bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Mousumi Bhattacharya remarked, “It is hoped that the parents desist from carrying out any agitation at the school gates, particularly since the matter is being considered by the court. Any report of further agitation at the school gates may be reported by the relevant schools for appropriate police action”.
Source: The Telegraph onlineNews, States