Will Delhi schools waive tuition fee amid COVID-19 crisis? The Delhi High Court will hear a public interest litigation (PIL) on this matter on August 4 (Tuesday). The PIL has sought high court’s directions to Delhi government for taking a step to waive off the school tuition fee in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, news agency ANI reported today. Schools in the national capital are closed since the first lockdown in March. However, online classes are being provided by several schools.
As per the report, the PIL was filed by one Naresh Kumar. He has requested the HC for an interpretation of Force Majeure clauses under the current pandemic situation. The PIL seeks directions to the Directorate of Education, Government of NCT Delhi to take steps for school tuition fee waiver. Kumar’s plea pointed out that private school administrations are demanding school fee and other charges without rendering any services. Also, the school admission forms do not have any clause that says the schools can charge a tuition fee for providing online classes.
The plea claimed that students were facing “several side effects” of the online classes which also have “medical and psychological implications.” These are against the concept of school education,” it said. The PIL further said that the schools were duty-bound to follow and abide by the terms and conditions mentioned in school prospectus, which do not have any Force Majeure clause.
Last month, Delhi High Court had allowed school to block students from online classes if their parents fail to establish that they were in a financial crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic. This HC order had come several weeks after a Delhi government circular (dated April 18) had asked schools not to deny access to online classes to students who had not deposited fees. The Delhi government’s circular had also directed schools to charge only the tuition component of the school fee.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had also announced in April that private schools would not be allowed to hike the tuition fees during the Covid-19 lockdown. Also, the schools cannot withhold the salaries of teachers and non-teaching staff, Sisodiya was quoted as saying by PTI then.