Written by: Akash Deep (Intern)
Edited by: Anubhav Yadav (Content Head & Developer)
The Supreme Court of India ordered 36,000 private schools of Rajasthan to reduce the fees by 15% for AY 2020-21. The court also ordered that no student should be barred from attending virtual or physical classes. The Supreme Court upheld the Rajasthan High Court’s judgment in rejecting the challenge of the validity of the Rajasthan Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act, 2016.
SUPREME COURT’S DECISION
A bench comprising justice AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, in the judgment said that the reduced fees for the academic session 2020-21 would be payable in six installments. Justice Khanwilkar was of the view that an unprecedented situation has occurred which has serious impact on the individuals, entrepreneurs, industries and on the whole nation in terms of their economy and purchasing capacity. “A large number of people have lost their jobs and livelihood as the aftermath of such economic upheaval. The parents who were under severe stress and even unable to manage their day to day affairs and the basic need of their family made fervent representation to the school managements across the state.” The Court further said that the schools shall collect annual fees as fixed under the Rajasthan Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act, 2016 for AY 2020-21, by providing 15% deduction in the place of unused facilities by the students during the period of AY 2020-21. “The bench observed that the application of section 6 does not weakens the authority of the management to determine the fee structure. The court is of the view that the school management can determine their own fee structure but they should settle the same after discussion with SLFC, a committee, comprising of representatives from school management and parents teachers association”.
IMPORTANT POINTS FROM THE JUDGMENT
The school management shall not exclude any student from attending classes on account of non-payment of fees/arrears, and shall not withhold the results of the examination of any student on that account. In the case of any request from the student or guardian side has come, the school management should entertain it on case to case basis sympathetically. The management shall not withhold the name of any student for the subsequent board examinations for class 10 and 12 on account of non-payment of fees/arrears.
The judgment came in two sets of appeal. The first set of appeal was directed against the validity of the state law and the rules on the grounds of violation of fundamental right to practice profession and business guaranteed under article 19(1)(g) of the constitution as they moved into the sphere of the private schools by providing for the norms for determining the school fees.
The second set of appeals challenged the orders passed by the state authorities asking to defer collection of school fees. The state government ordered the schools to reduce the tuition fees by 70% for the schools affiliated with Central Board of Secondary Education and 60% for the schools affiliated with Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education.
However, the SC bench comprising justice AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari ruled that neither the Disaster Management Act nor the Rajasthan Epidemic Diseases Act allows the state government to issue direction to private parties on economic aspects.