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The petition has been moved by the High Court Bar Association (HCBA) and District Bar Association (DBA), along with UP Vyapari Mandal and others.
A PIL has been moved in the Allahabad High Court seeking a 50% reduction in the tuition fees payable for online education by schools and urging for the formulation of guidelines on such fee payment, among other allied prayers.
The petition has been moved by the High Court Bar Association (HCBA) and District Bar Association (DBA), along with UP Vyapari Mandal and others, through Advocates Sudhir Srivastava, Rajiv Shukla, Shashwat Anand, Dilip Yadav and Amod Tripathi.
At time when the COVID-19 crisis has impacted the financies of families, the petitioners raise concern that,
The top contentions raised by the petitioners include:
the Government of Uttar Pradesh had earlier in April directed school authorities across the State not to force parents to pay advance fees during the lockdown. The notification further stated that there will be no additional charge or increment in fees charged for the 2020-21 year. Due to the misconceived misinterpretation of this notification, private unaided education institutions and various schools are demanding unethical, unwarranted, non-prescribed fees in the name of online education.
The manner in which fees are being demanded by schools ignores and violates the model framework for fee regulation by unaided private schools issued by the Education Division, National Commission for Protection of Child rights.
Demanding regular fees in the name of providing online education service program is a clear violation of not only fundamental rights but also the UP Self Finance Independent Schools (Fee Regulation) Act, 2018.
Fees should not be charged for services that are not being availed such as library, sports, parking, canteen, computer and science lab services.
Only tuition fees should be charged for online education or sit-at-home education. Charging any fees in addition to or over and above tuition fees is arbitrary and hit by Article 14 of the Constitution.
Sit at home or online education is cheaper than actual education requiring physical presence. The fees levied, therefore, cannot be equated to or charged the same as physical education that was provided before COVID-19
The fee levied for online education must be less, desirably by almost 50%. Fees over this reduced amount would be unjustified, unwarranted, uncalled for and bad in fact and law.
In view of these concerns, the petitioners have made the following prayers before the High Court:
The Government (State and Centre) should constitute a committee to bring about uniform policy when it comes to charging fees for online or “Sit-at-home” education.
Alternatively, the Court exercise its inherent powers and frame appropriate guidelines.
Educational Institutes may be directed no to charge regular academic fees in the name of providing online educational service programs.
The Court should direct the relaxation in payment of tuition fees by 50% of actual tuition fees, and the waiver of fees for services not being used such as those for sports, libraries electricity, bus fee etc.
The Court should direct educational institutions not to threaten or harass parents for the deposit of fees or threaten them of disbarring students from the academic session
Senior Advocate Amrendra Nath Singh will appear to argue for the petitioners.