Madras HC warns of contempt action against schools found flouting order to accept fee payment in instalments amid COVID-19 crisis
Litigation News

Madras HC warns of contempt action against schools found flouting order to accept fee payment in instalments amid COVID-19 crisis

Taking a serious view of complaints against schools demanding full fee payment in violation of its July 17 order, the High Court has directed the State to conduct an enquiry and act against errant schools.

Meera Emmanuel

The Madras High Court today warned that schools insisting on the full payment of fees, in violation of the Court's earlier order directing the payment of fees in instalments amid the COVID-19 pandemic, may be hauled up for contempt of Court.

Justice N Anand Venkatesh was informed today by the State that there were several complaints received from parents that Educational Institutions were insisting on the payment of the entire fees, despite the Court's July 17 order to the contrary.

On July 17, the Judge had passed an interim order directing that educational institutions can only collect 40% of tuition fees from students for the time being, while schools remain closed.

Parents were given time until August 31 to pay this amount. Further 35% of the tuition fee could be collected two months after schools physically reopened, once the COVID-19 pandemic situation had improved.

The order had been passed in a bid to balance the interests of educational institutions in paying their staff and that of the students and parents amid the COVID-19 crisis.

On Friday, the Court was told that there were institutions demanding the payment of fees in violation of this order, and further that parents were hesitant to give a written complaint on the same, fearing the consequences.

"This Court is taking a very serious note of the violation that has been brought to its notice."
Madras High Court

Taking a serious view, the Court has now directed the Education Department of the State to conduct an immediate enquiry into the matter and act against errant institutions.

Justice Venkatesh also cautioned that if any educational institutions were found to have contravened the Court's earlier order, contempt of court action may be initiated against them.

"Based on the oral complaint, the Education Department shall conduct an immediate enquiry and if it is found that the Institutions are collecting fees in violation of the interim orders passed by this Court, immediate action shall be taken against the Schools. The particulars of the Schools shall also be provided to this Court and if this Court finds that there is any violation, this Court will not hesitate to initiate Contempt Proceedings against the persons incharge of the School."

The Director of School Education, Chennai has been directed to file a report on the action taken over the issue by August 17, when the Court will take up this limited issue.

The main matter is due to come up next on October 5.

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news