The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed that students will have to pay the entire claim of fees made by school authorities by October 25, while asking the institutions not to prevent any student from writing any board or annual or mid-term assessment examination of the school. The court, hearing several petitions over school fees during the pandemic when classes are being held in the virtual mode, also directed that all rustication orders shall be kept in abeyance for the time being.
A division bench comprising Justice I P Mukerji and Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya directed that students will have to pay the entire claim of fees, including its disputed part. The bench directed that the undisputed and disputed parts of the bill may be segregated by each student and paid separately, indicating in a written note accompanying such payment the amount which is disputed and which is admitted.
The school authorities will be entitled to straightway appropriate the admitted amount, while they would have to deposit the disputed amount in a separate account. The court directed that for the time being, the school authorities will not prevent any student from sitting in any board or annual or mid-term assessment examination of the school.
The bench noted that affidavits submitted by private school authorities have claimed that several crores of rupees are outstanding from students and it would be impossible to maintain and run schools if fees are not received. Petitioner’s parents claimed that the bills raised by schools and other educational institutions are not in accordance with an order of a division bench dated October 13, 2020.
The high court had on that day directed that there would be no increase in school fees during the financial year 2020-21 and from the month beginning April 2020 till the month following the one in which the schools reopen in the physical mode, all the 145 schools which were involved in that litigation would offer a minimum 20 per cent reduction of the fees across the board. It had been further ordered that non-essential charges for use of facilities not availed of would not be permissible.