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Calcutta High Court appointed a Committee to ascertain school fees in petition filed for relaxation

The petition was filed to seek relaxation from the previous order for payment which was rejected by the High Court. However, led to the formation of a two-member committee. 

By Diksha 

In the case, Vineet Ruia vs State of West Bengal & Ors., the petition was filed to protest that “schools in West Bengal were unduly demanding the payment of fees without any relaxation amid the COVID-19 pandemic”.

The Coram consisted of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya, appointed a Committee, to receive the accounts in consonance to the income and expenditure of schools to develop an idea of normal income and expenditure. 

On 21st July, the Coram issued the following directions- 

  1. The 112 involved schools shall not discontinue the online classes available to any students irrespective of any conditions till August 15th, 2020.

2. The 112 schools will not prohibit any of the students from participating in the online classes irrespective of any conditions till August 15th, 2020.

3. The Outstanding dues, to the extent of 80 percent, of each student as at July 31st, 2020 shall be cleared by August 15th, 2020.

On August 11th, in the next hearing, the petitioner used social media against the respondent, termed as “propagate his interests in the case”, in addition, the court also said, will exclude the petitioner from the case and appoint an amicus if this behavior is repeated.

The Coram stated that, “The petitioner will refrain from using the social media to propagate the petitioner’s interests in this matter; or else the petitioner may be excluded from the proceedings.” 

On August 17th, the Coram appointed two-member committee while considering parents complaint that despite the ordered notice on 21st July, several schools have not opened for the payment of 80 % of the dues till 31st July, 2020

The Coram proposed a two-member committee, headed by Professor Suranjan Das, the current Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University, to undertake the vetting of accounts of all the schools. The other member is Ld. Advocate-General from among recent retired heads of the State Higher Secondary Board or Secondary Board. It is proposed that the committee will be permitted to take the assistance of any accountant or chartered accountant of its choice for the purpose of vetting the accounts of the schools involved in the present proceedings.

It is proposed that the committee to be appointed by this court will receive the accounts pertaining to the income and expenditure of all the schools involved in the present proceedings within a week from tomorrow. The statements should include an overall summary and particulars justifying the heads indicated in the summary of the statements to be submitted by the individual schools. The statements should be certified by the regular auditors or by a chartered accountant. The schools which do not furnish the particulars within the time permitted by the order likely to be passed tomorrow, may be restrained from taking any coercive action against the students despite non-payment of further fees by such students. The particulars to be furnished by the schools should include all figures covering the various heads of income and expenditure for the months January to July, 2020”. – the Coram Directed

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