SC to Rajasthan Schools: Collect 100% Fee from March 2021 in 6 Monthly Installments
8th Feb 2021 the Supreme Court, passed an interim order, in a joint hearing of Special Leave Petitions (SLP’s) filed by eleven educational institutions, allowing private unaided schools in Rajasthan to collect 100% fees for the academic years 2019-20 and 2020-21, from 5th March 2021 to 5th August 2021, through 6 monthly installments. The fee amount would be the amount notified for the academic year 2019-20.
It was clarified that the above-mentioned arrangement of payment of tuition fees for the academic years 2019-20 and 2020-21, is separate from and independent of the current fees payable for the academic year 2021-22
The bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari held:
“The Management shall not debar any student from attending either online classes or physical classes on account of non-payment of fees, arrears/ outstanding fees including the installments, referred to above, and shall not withhold the results of the examinations of any student on that account.”
The court added:
“In respect of the ensuing Board examinations for classes X and XII (to be conducted in 2021) the school management shall not withhold the name of any student/ candidate on the ground of non-payment of fee/ arrears, if any, on obtaining undertaking of the concerned parent/ student.”
Additionally, the Court further directed the Rajasthan Government to reimburse the expenses borne by private schools in teaching 25% students from Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) within one month, as per the Right to Education Act, 2009. This interim order has been made subject to the final order to be passed after the next hearing scheduled on 15th February 2021.
The Apex Court, while taking note of the financial constraints of the parents in the paying of fees as per the interim order, said:
“It will be open to those parents to approach the school concerned by an individual representation and the management of the school will consider such representation on a case-to-case basis sympathetically.”
On 18th December 2020, the Rajasthan High Court upheld the State Government’s order and permitted private unaided Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (RBSE) schools to collect 70% and 60% tuition fee respectively. Further, the court also allowed schools that had been conducting online classes and had not reopened, to collect 60 percent of tuition fee as “capacity-building fee”.
Aggrieved by the Rajasthan High Court decision, several Special Leave Petitions were filed in the Supreme Court, against the High Court order on 7th January 2021 upon which the Apex Court stayed the Rajasthan High Court order.
The matter is for hearing next on 15th February 2021 when the final order would be passed on the determination of school fees for the academic years 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Ankitha Subramanya | Research Intern | EduLegaL