The court said it would also consider that students who have passed and passed the 10th and 12th class board exams will be “instructed by the relevant board” to suspend their qualifications and certificates until they pay their school fees.
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A division bench comprising Justice IP Mukherjee and Moushumi Bhattacharya has directed parents to pay at least 50 per cent within three weeks for not paying their ward fees on time, taking advantage of the current epidemic situation, complaining against a section of financially stable parents. . The bench directed the educational institutions covered under the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to send a notice to each defaulting parent within a week stating the arrears of fees by March 2020.
The bench said that if there were any errors in the next date of the hearing, the court would consider allowing the schools to stop such students from attending online and physical classes or “remove the names of the students from the list of schools”. ”
The court directed that the matter be taken up for re-hearing on September 2.
The bench said that even though many families are in financial crisis due to the cowardly situation, the school authorities are also finding it difficult to manage the institutions.
Lawyers representing the schools have claimed before the bench that the parents of some of the students are defaulting on payment of fees as per the previous order of the high court which has made it difficult for them to run the institutions.
The bench is hearing a PIL from the parents of students of a school in East Midnapore district who has demanded a reduction in school fees in West Bengal in view of the ongoing Kovid epidemic situation.
The petitioners prayed for an application to the High Court order, which was passed on October 13, 2020, directing 1,145 respondents in another PIL to reduce fees by 20 percent for the fiscal year 2020-21.
The High Court had on that day directed that school fees would not be increased in the financial year 2020-21. It was further instructed that “unnecessary charges will not be allowed for the use of facilities which are not used”.
The petitioners prayed for the implementation of that order for all students in West Bengal schools for the financial year 2021-22.
“We are saddened and upset to know that although the economic situation is much better now than it was in 2020 and most people have learned how to adapt their lives to the existing Kovid-1 pandemic epidemic, a significant number of parents and guardians of various schools and other educational institutions pay school fees. He took advantage of this order without realizing it, ”the bench observed in its order on Friday.
The bench said that if all the educational institutions were taken into consideration earlier, the total amount of unpaid school fees would go up to crores of rupees.
“We have also been told that a number of defaulting parents are government employees who have not lost any salary during the epidemic. It has also been mentioned that a sufficient number of parents and guardians have the capacity to pay school fees but they are not doing it intentionally.” The court noted.
Observing that educational institutions find it very difficult to maintain themselves, the bench said that at this time, there is a need to balance the needs of the school as opposed to the needs of the students.
“We believe that innocent students should not be harmed for their wrong parents and guardians,” the court observed.
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