In a reprieve to private educational institutions, the Tamil Nadu government on Thursday informed the Madras High Court that it has decided to permit the institutions to collect fees in three instalments during the lockdown period.
The institutions would be allowed to collect in the months of August, December and April 2021, the government said.
The government has made the submission through a counter affidavit filed in the court in response to the pleas of various associations of the institutions.
"The government has examined the proposal of the institutions and decided to permit private institutions to collect the fees as fixed by the fee fixation committee in three equal installments," the affidavit said.
However, the government said the institution may have their own reserve funds which should be utilised for payment of salary to their staff and hence their argument of lack of funds cannot be accepted.
The government further said it has the prerogative to invoke powers vested with it and pass order as it deems fit for the welfare of the public, including students.
"COVID-19 has brought an unprecedented situation wherein all the parents of the students could not pay fees due to various constraints. Hence the state passed the order barring educational institutions from demanding fees, the counter affidavit said.
While admitting the pleas of the associations of institutions challenging the restriction, a single judge of the court had, on June 23, wondered as to how the government could expect private schools and colleges to pay salaries to their staff if they are prohibited from collecting even minimum fees.