Economic Situation Better, Deposit 50% School Fee or Face Action: Calcutta HC
The Division Bench of Calcutta High Court while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Rajib Chakraborty and Ors. Vs. The State of West Bengal and Ors — W.P.A.(P) 162 of 2021, passed an interim order stating that parents should pay 50% of due school fees, failing which actions will be taken against the student including suspension, removal from the roll of the school, and suspending qualification and certificates till the school fees are paid.
The two-judge bench of Hon’ble Justice I.P. Mukerji and Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya held:
“We are sad and annoyed to know that although the economic situation is much better now than in 2020 and that most persons have learnt how to adjust their lives to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, quite a significant number of parents and guardians of the students of various schools and other teaching institutions have taken advantage of this order by not paying the school fees at all.”
The court by its order dated 13th October 2020 had stipulated detailed norms for payment of school fees, for balancing the economic resources of parents, and requirement of funds by teaching institutions which was necessary in the backdrop of financial hardships caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the court observed that the parents have defaulted on the school fee despite being able to submit the same.
The court observed:
“We are also told that quite a number of defaulting parents are government servants who have suffered no loss of pay during this pandemic. It is also submitted that a substantial number of parents and guardians have the ability to pay the school fees but are deliberately not paying the dues of the teaching institutions.”
The total amount of unpaid school fees of teaching institutes runs in crore of rupees leading to hardships and difficulties in payment of salaries to teaching and non-teaching staff as well as in keeping the schools functional.
The court keeping in mind all the above factors passed the following orders:
- The schools covered by the PIL within one week shall send details of due fee from March 2020, calculated in accordance with the court orders passed on 13th October 2020 and subsequent orders
- The parents shall pay at least 50% of the claimed amount within three weeks, irrespective of any dispute in the matter. Any such dispute is to be solved later.
- If the due is not paid before the returnable date of the present application the court will consider the following actions
- Permit the school to suspend the instructions to the students
- Remove the name of the student from the roll of the school without further notice
- Students who have qualified in secondary school examination or higher secondary school examination, the respective Boards will be directed to suspend the qualification and certificates till the school fee is paid.
The next date for the case is on 2nd September 2021.
Vaibhav Karadale | Research Intern | EduLegaL
Swapna Iyer | Legal Editor | EduLegaL