The Supreme Court refused to hear a plea seeking waiver and regulation of private school fees for three months (April-July) during the lockdown.
A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, AS Bopanna and Subash Reddy stated that they are not inclined to entertain the petition filed by parents and that the petitioner may approach their respective high courts. CJI Bobde said, “Facts of all states should be considered individually. We don’t know how to solve the issue for the entire nation, and that’s what you’ve prayed for. Why can’t you approach the High Court first?”
Kamal Gupta, advocate, Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private Schools, which is a body representing 450 private unaided schools of Delhi, says, “The chief justice observed that problems in each state are different and they cannot be challenged by one writ petition. The orders issued by the state governments have been modified or upheld by the respective high courts. The petitioners will now have to abide by the high court rulings.”
Earlier on July 6, the court had also refused to interfere with the Uttarakhand High Court order that stated that only tuition fee can be collected from children who are opting for online classes.
The plea was filed 10 days ago in supreme court by parents associations in nine states – Rajasthan, Odisha, Punjab, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh – through advocate Mayank Kshirsagar stating that children are being deprived of their fundamental right to education and life guaranteed under the constitution.
The plea sought direction from the apex court to the Centre and all states to instruct all private schools to charge only proportionate fees based on actual expenditure towards the conduct of the online virtual classes until the commencement of physical classes as parents who are unable to afford to pay school fees during the Covid-19 induced lockdown are facing constant financial and emotional hardships. The petitioners also raised concerns about ‘adverse impact of unregulated online learning’ on students of nursery to class V and other students as well.National, News