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Calcutta High Court

Calcutta HC: Schools can’t prevent students from attending class for not paying fees

April 19, 2022
– Mita Mukherjee

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday ordered that private schools cannot deprive any student from attending classes or withhold report cards for non-payment of fees. The court also directed such schools not to shut down the campuses citing law and order problems.

In its order the court further asked the authorities of the GD Birla Centre of Education to withdraw the notice issued by it on April 9 which had stated that students who had not cleared the outstanding fees would not be allowed to join classes.

“GD Birla Centre for Education will immediately withdraw its notice dated 9th April and allow the students to attend classes in the usual course immediately. All other schools will also follow the directions in this regard,” the order said today.

The court instructed the schools to display its interim orders related to fees in their notice boards “for appreciation by all concerned.”

Parents of a number of students of GD Birla Centre for Education, one of the three schools that were shut down early this month by the management because of parents’ protests over fees along with the guardians of four other schools had recently filed two public interest litigation (PIL) petitions in the high court seeking the court’s intervention to prevent the alleged harassment of students and parents.

In the PIL, the petitioners had stated that they had paid 80 per cent of the fees as directed by the high court in its previous orders. But the schools had allegedly asked the students to pay fees according to its own structure and prevented students from entering the campuses and withholding report cards.

The lawyers appearing on behalf of the schools, however, claimed today that many guardians have not paid the fees complying with the court orders and they were disrupting the normal functioning of the schools by creating law and order problems.

After hearing both sides, Justice IP Mukerji and Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya said that the court appointed special officers will have to deal with all disputes related to fee issues.

The same bench had earlier appointed advocates Tilak Basu and Udayan Chakraborty as special officers to deal with disputes related to non-payment of fees.

“ For proper implementation of this order and also to ensure that there is no breach of peace or break down of law and order within or adjoining the school premises, the Joint Special Officers shall in the event such situation is pointed out to them by the school authorities or any parent or guardian shall approach the Officer-in-Charge of the local police station. On such request, the said Officer-in-Charge shall ensure that there is no breach of peace in the school area,” the order read. The bench asked the special officers to submit their report to the court on June 6.

Also read: Calcutta High Court orders CBI probe for illegal appointment of school teachers

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