- Apprentice Lawyer
- Legal Jobs
The Court had urged for the formulation of a scheme for the payment of fees in instalments to balance the interests of private educational institutions and parents who are financially strained amid the COVID-19 crisis
The Tamil Nadu Government has informed the Madras High Court that it has accepted a proposal forwarded by Self-Financing colleges in the State for the collection of tuition fees payable for the current academic year in three equal installements in August 2020, December 2020 and April 2021.
An affidavit to this effect was filed in response to pleas moved by associations of private schools as well as the Consortium of Self Financing Professional Arts and Science Colleges in Tamil Nadu challenging an April 2020 notification barring the forcible payment of fees in view of the COVID-19 crisis.
When the matter came up before the Bench of Justice R Mahadevan on June 30, the Court had urged for the formulation of a scheme to allow the payment of fees in instalments for a while to balance the interests of private educational institutions and parents of students facing financial constraints amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response, the All India Private Educational Institutions Association had submitted the following proposal:
For the current academic year tuition fees can be collected in three equal instalments in the month of August 2020, December 2020 and April 2021.
Last year's pending tuition fees can be collected without causing any hardship to the parents.
By the affidavit filed through Joint Secretary to the Government Higher Education Department, Ilango Henry Dass, the State has now informed the Court that,
This apart, the Government has re-asserted that the April 2020 notification was issued after careful consideration and considering the plight of students and parents amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It is contended that the Government has the prerogative to pass such orders for the welfare of the general public.
The State also notes that as for as Engineering, Polytechnic and Arts & Science Colleges are concerned, the even-semester exam could not be conducted till date due to the lockdown. The reopening day for students in colleges is also yet to be decided. Therefore, the issue of fee collection does not arise at this juncture, the State has submitted.
Further, it is pointed out that colleges may have their own reserve funds accumulated by way of fee collection in the previous years. In view of the same, the State argues that the colleges "have to utilise the accumulated reserve funds for payment of salary to the teaching and non-teaching staff etc… the argument that the management lacks funds cannot be accepted."