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NHRC registers complaint by RGNUL students over notification demanding full fees for upcoming semester amid COVID-19 pandemic

The complaint states that by a June 27 notification, the University administration has demanded unjust and disproportionate fees despite the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing financial difficulties.

Bar & Bench

Students of the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law (RGNUL), Patiala have approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) registering protest over a June 27 notification by which the University demanded full payment of fees for the upcoming semester.

The complaint raises grievance that by this notification, the University administration is demanding unjust and disproportionate fees despite the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing financial difficulties.

It has been submitted that by the June 27 notification, RGNUL had called for the payment of the full semester fee of Rs 1,13,5000 by July 10. An application raising concern over the same was digitally signed by 659 of the 720 students at RGNUL, the NHRC has been informed.

It has been pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about enormous economic burdens and financial constraints, making it difficult to pay the full fee demanded. The demand for the full semester fee on short notice (i.e. by July 10) only adds to the woes of the students, the complaint states.

Moreover, due to the premature closure of the campus and the subsequent declaration of summer vacations, a major portion of the fees already paid remains unutilised, the students point out.

In this backdrop, the students also refer to a recent judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, wherein the Court had directed school managements to only levy the actual expenditure incurred when it comes to annual charges for the period of closure.

The students have now expressed that they are not willing to pay any fee apart from the tuition fees for this period.

In a representation dated July 3, the students had raised a grievance that,

"...the university administration has not considered the prevalent issue with the required degree of seriousness and most of the genuine concerns remain unaddressed. It seems to be unreasonable, unjust and irrational on the part of university administration to fail to understand the plight of the students and their family members and not heed to the legitimate concerns of the students."

Earlier, the students had also addressed a letter to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the State's Chief Minister and other concerned authorities urging for the grant of fee relief in view of the pandemic.

Read the July 3 representation:

Representation regarding Unjust & Disproportionate fee at RGNUL - July 3.pdf
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