The Punjab and Haryana High court on Thursday ruled that schools in Punjab can charge tuition fee if and only if they have been imparting online education to students during the lockdown period.
A division bench of justices Rajeev Sharma and Harinder Singh Sidhu also held that that teachers and staff, whether permanent or appointed on a contractual basis, were entitled to their regular salaries which they were getting before the imposition of the lockdown on March 23.
We direct that tuition fee would be charged only if the students are being offered online classes on day to day basis during the lock-down period, the bench said in its order. The court also asked the schools not to charge any transportation charges as students were not being ferried during the lockdown period.
The court also directed the school managements to file their balance sheets for preceding seven months, duly verified by chartered accountant within two weeks.
The division bench gave its order partially amending a single-judge bench order of June 30 this year on the issue.
The directions issued by the learned Single Judge vide judgment dated June 30, 2020 shall stand modified to the extent as ordered here-in-above till the disposal of these appeals, the division bench said in its order.
The bench fixed November 12 as the next date for the final hearing.
The order came on a bunch of petitions filed by parents and also the Punjab government against the June 30 order of single bench Justice Nirmaljit Kaur who had allowed private schools to collect the fee irrespective of they were offering online education or not, and to charge actual expenses incurred, for the lockdown period.
A division bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shankar Jha and Justice Arun Palli had on July 20 given an interim relief to the students saying that their names would not be struck off the rolls of private schools in Punjab on account of the non-payment of fees.
Source: PTINews, States