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Online Education shall be denied to those who do not pay fees despite being economically capable – High Court of Delhi [READ ORDER]

The petitioner stated Delhi Government’s circular is ultra -virus to the Delhi School Education Act, 1973 due to which approximately 40% of the students are defaulting in payment of tuition fees. 

By Diksha 

In the case, Queen Marry School, Northend vs GNCT of Delhi, a petition was in the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi to seek writ order to quash the Circular dated 18.04.2020 and to allow the petitioner to charge actual expenditure incurred during the lockdown period in the form of fees from the students. The petition claimed that “Right to fix the fee” is a fundamental right under Article 30 [All minorities, whether or not they are based on religion or on language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their own choice] and 19(1)(g) [Right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business to all citizens] of the Constitution of India

The learned counsel of the petitioner submitted the grievances against three of the clauses of the Circular, Clause (i), clause (viii) and clause (x). It was pointed out that Clause (i) of the Circular states that no fee except tuition fee will be charged from the parents during the lockdown period. It was pleaded that Clause (viii) of the same Circular further states that in no case, the ID and password shall be denied for getting online access of educational facilities/classes/materials to those students who are unable to pay the school fee due to financial crisis arising out of closure of business activities.

The petitioner stated “unfair advantage of clause (viii), about 40% of the students are defaulting in payment of tuition fee resulting in grave financial crisis to the petitioner. It is pleaded that the petitioner is struggling to pay the salaries of the staff and the teachers”.

The petitioner stated “unfair advantage of clause (viii), about 40% of the students are defaulting in payment of tuition fee resulting in grave financial crisis to the petitioner. It is pleaded that the petitioner is struggling to pay the salaries of the staff and the teachers”.

Also, petitioner submitted the Division Bench court’s judgment dated 24.04.2020 which passed in W.P.(C) 2993/2020 stated “that this provision should not be misused and it would be necessary for the parents seeking benefit of this relief to establish to the satisfaction of the school or the DOE that owing to the lockdown, they are in fact financially incapacitated from paying the tuition fee.

The learned counsel of Government of NCT stated “regarding Clause (viii) of the said Circular dated 18.04.2020, the petitioner is free to take steps including issuing of a notice to the parents of those students who are defaulting in payment of tuition fee. An opportunity may be given to the parents to explain as to whether they are suffering from any financial crisis. In case such parents are not able to satisfy/demonstrate the school regarding their financial problems, it is only in that eventuality that steps can be taken as per law by the school.”

The Coram stated that “where the parents are unable to satisfy/demonstrate to the petitioner regarding their financial difficulties, the petitioner is free to so communicate the same to the parents and decline to provide them ID and Password for online education facility for the students. In case the parents have any grievance against such an order passed by the petitioner School, the parents are free to approach appropriate authority of the Government of NCT of Delhi/respondent.”

The Coram stated that “where the parents are unable to satisfy/demonstrate to the petitioner regarding their financial difficulties, the petitioner is free to so communicate the same to the parents and decline to provide them ID and Password for online education facility for the students. In case the parents have any grievance against such an order passed by the petitioner School, the parents are free to approach appropriate authority of the Government of NCT of Delhi/respondent.”

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