A Delhi school student studies online via WhatsApp | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A Delhi school student studies online via WhatsApp | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has said private schools can preclude students from attending online classes if their parents do not pay fees and fail to establish that they are in financial crisis due to the Covid pandemic.

In a three-page order, a single-judge bench of Justice Jayant Nath Wednesday partially read down Delhi government’s circular that restrained schools from denying password and access to online classes to students whose fees had not been deposited.

Issued on 18 April, the government circular had also stated that schools will only charge the tuition component of the fee.

The court order came on a plea filed by the Queen Mary School Northend, which blamed the circular for 40 per cent of its students not paying fees.

It said the parents took “unfair advantage” of the government order and have refused to deposit the money. The school has challenged the validity of the government order itself.

The bench, however, did not give a final opinion on the circular but issued an interim order.

“Where the parents are unable to satisfy/demonstrate to the petitioner regarding their financial difficulties, the petitioner is free to communicate the same to the parents and decline to provide them ID and password for online education facility for the students,” the bench said. It will hear the matter again on 5 August.

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The bench, however, clarified that parents are free to approach the appropriate authority under the Delhi government against the school order.


Also read: Supreme Court refuses to entertain plea demanding deferment on school fees during lockdown


‘Provision cannot be misused’

Advocate Romy Chacko, the school’s legal representative, submitted that Queen Mary School Northend was in grave financial crisis and was struggling to pay salaries to its teachers and staff. He criticised the two contentious clauses of the government order — one with regard to restricting the school to only charge tuition fee and other that prevented it from acting against any student who did not pay.

Chacko cited an earlier high court order, issued 24 April, that expressly stated the provision should not be misused.

A bench of two judges had then held that it would be necessary for parents seeking benefit of this direction to satisfy the school authority or the Delhi government’s Department of Education (DoE) that they were financially “incapacitated from paying the tuition fee” owing to the lockdown.

Chacko argued that the school should be allowed to implement this interpretation of the government order given by the division bench.


Also read: School fee payment plea reaches SC — a look at how 12 HCs ruled on the issue since April


Notice to parents

In response to the school’s argument, the Delhi government’s standing counsel, Ramesh Singh, submitted that the institution was free to take steps, including issuing a notice to the parents of students who don’t pay the fees.

But Singh also said an opportunity must be given to parents to explain if they were suffering from any financial crisis. In case of a failure to do so, he suggested, the school could take steps in accordance with the law.

“Keeping in view the above circumstances, where the parents are in default for payment of tuition fee for more than two months, the petitioner is free to issue an appropriate notice to such parents to explain the reason for the default,” the court ordered.

“In case the parents are able to convince/demonstrate to the petitioner about their financial problems/financial incapacity to immediately pay the pending fees, the petitioner shall not take any further steps for the time being against such parents,” it held.


Also read: Sisodia wants guest teachers for online classes, but Delhi govt schools say no formal order yet


 

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8 Comments Share Your Views

8 COMMENTS

  1. It’s time to contribute payment for survival of teachers/supporting staff and their families only by persons having financial capabilities. However, the school fee to be suitably reduced for all persons on account of schools building, electric, transportation, sports, amenities etc fee. It should also be ensured by the govt the school administration to pay teachers including supporting staffs. The online teaching for the students below 6th class is not logically good enough and leads extra burden on kids and parents.

  2. I think there is no use of this online classes because if we pretend to ask doubt to our teachers day se we don’t have time so please mute yourself and if you want me mute us as they mute us for the whole class they give lot of notes to write in Gmail and we feel so disturb sitting head of the laptop and writing all notes and hand will ache at the same time head will also ache adjust headache sitting 4 hours straight off the laptop

  3. Yes you are right , Teachers aim is to earn money.
    Without money no one can survive in this world..offline classes is now not permitted,schools are closed, you please do a survey if Indian school and their employees..how they are managing this time..staffs,driver,teachers and dai,aaya..
    We are teachers teaching students, nurture them, establish them, for you..
    And giving online fees for online classes is not a big issue.. please understand teachers feeling also..

  4. Boring teachers, sleeping children that is online classes. Why dosent the government step in and ban these online classes. Class 12 students will not join college until June 2021 when NEET and JEE get over. So there will be stagnation and this exercise of online class is to the benefit of whom,. Instead schools can ask parents to pay 50% sustenance fees and leave our children in peace.

  5. True kids doing nothing in online classes, we are not able to sit with them all the time. Going school is another thing but sitting at home and doing classes not worth. 40 students online at the same time is rubbish. Paying May and June fees is a big? Why? no class nothing. We are not going office and they are deducting are salaries or leaves, even we are working from home.

  6. Sir, parents don’t have an objection to pay the fee but at least they should attend the physical classes. How can a student get knowledge without attending class physically? By providing online classes is the only way to accomplish their financial targets. Isn’t it?

      • If that is the aim, why don’t you go and share this with the government on whose orders the schools stepped in with the online classes. I’m sure even if you worked and got nothing in return ,I’m sure even you wouldn’t like it. Like in the above comment someone mentioned deduction in salaries. Deduction is causing her so much pain, imagine working and getting no salary. That’s what you’re expecting out of schools. If you dislike the same why didn’t anyone come and say anything when the government asked the schools to teach online, and when the government said the parents should not be pressurized to pay??

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