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Kolkata: Calcutta HC

Kolkata: Calcutta HC rejects petition to hold “satyagraha” against private schools

July 12, 2022
-Mita Mukherjee
The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday rejected a petition of Bharat Bachao Sangathan seeking permission to hold a “satyagraha” in Kolkata against alleged irregularities in private schools including issues related to fee hikes.
 
The court directed the organisation not to disrupt the functioning of the private schools and asked it to allow the schools to function properly.
 
While hearing the case Justice Shampa Sarkar observed that at a time when the government-aided and government-sponsored schools in the state were unable to offer proper education to students due to various problems, the organisation should refrain from holding its proposed “satyagraha” and it should not disrupt the normal activities of the private schools which are still trying to impart quality education to their students.
 
In October 2020 the court had directed the private schools in Bengal to charge only 80 per cent of the tuition fees. Schools were also asked by the state government not to charge certain fees like library, electricity, sports and games from students as classes were held only on online mode.
 
The schools were later allowed to discontinue the concessions from March 15, 2022 and thereafter most schools hiked the fees after two years.
The Bengal education minister had recently told the Assembly that the state government would set up a commission to look into complaints against private schools about fee hikes on the lines of the state health commission. The minister had said that the plan had already been approved by the state cabinet and a notification would be issued soon.
 
A spokesperson of the Sanghathan said on behalf of guardians that nearly three weeks have passed, the government has announced its decision on setting up the commission. But nothing has been done so far in this regard. Several schools were still charging high fees. The “satyagraha” has been planned also to protest the delay on the part of the government in taking appropriate action against the erring schools.
 
Several schools, however, alleged that they were facing financial constraints because they had to keep the fees at the 2019 level for two years because in 2020 by the time they could implement the enhanced fees the pandemic had started and they were asked to roll back the fee hike by the government.
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