Calcutta High Court has set October 25 as the deadline for the students to pay the full fees that is claimed to be due by the school authorities. At the same time, it has prohibited the institutions from preventing any student from writing any board exam or any term assessment exams of the school.
These directions were given by the High Court while hearing numerous petitions over school fees during the COVID-19 lockdown period when the classes were conducted virtually due to closure of schools. The court further directed that, for the time being, all rustication orders must be kept in abeyance.
The division bench comprised of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya and Justice I.P. Mukerji, who decided that students will have to pay the fees in entirety including its disputed part. The students are allowed to segregate the disputed and undisputed parts of the bill and pay them separately, including a written note with the payment regarding the amount, which is disputed, and which is admitted. The school authorities were allowed to appropriate the admitted amount but deposit the disputed amount in a separate account.
The bench noted that affidavits were submitted by the private schools stating the outstanding amounts due from the students ran to the tune of several crores, making it impossible to maintain/run schools in case of non-payment of fees. On the other hand, the petitioners (parents) claimed that bill amount was not in accordance with a bench order dated October 13, 2020, which had directed against any increase in fees for the year 2020-21 along with a minimum 20 percent of fee-reduction from April 2020 till the month following the one in which the schools reopen in physical mode.
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Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.