Bringing much relief to the students and parents, The Supreme Court on Monday said that the educational institutions must reduce fees for the online classes. The decision was taken considering the impact of the pandemic on the educational sector.
With an aim to curb the commercialization by private unaided schools, a bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari said that the schools cannot expect the students to pay for the services that have not been availed due to the circumstances since last March. “The school management must be sensitive and engage in a charitable activity and ensure that no student is declined education. They must believe in the quote- Live and let live.”
The 128- page judgement was based on a batch of pleas by private schools of Rajasthan against the direction of the state government to relinquish 30% of tuition fees for the schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education and 40% for the schools affiliated to Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education. The state claimed that the decision was taken in accordance with the 2005 act for the parents interest.
The school management resisted that none of the provisions in the disaster management acts of the state or the union authorized the state to reduce the fees or influence the functioning of the state government. “The state cannot affect the autonomy of the schools just to fix a ‘just’ school fees for the students but the running costs on maintenance, electricity, petrol, water, etc. earned by the appellants (private schools) will be undeserved and will add to the apathy of the parents,” the bench said.
As there were no accurate empirical data provided by both sides, the bench assumed that around 15% of the annual school fees must have been saved and ordered to cut the amount from the annual fees for the academic year 2020-2021.
The judgement concerns around 36,000 private unaided schools in Rajasthan