Punjab and Haryana High Court: Ritu Bahri, J., while addressing a petition with regard to the charging of school fees in times of COVID-19, passed an interim that admission fee shall be paid in 2 equal installments by parents in 6 moths and 70% of total school fee will be charged and 70% salary to be paid to the teachers.
Counsel for the petitioners contended that Punjab School Education Board had given instructions that schools can only charge tuition fee and not building charges, transportation charges, and charges for meals etc. At the same time the schools have been directed to not reduce the salary of teachers.
To the above, it was contended that the stated conditions are contradictory.
Adding to the above he stated that, all the private un-aided schools, deposit funds under the head ‘Reserved Fund’ with the Punjab School Education Board which amounts to Rs 77 Crores at present and even with regard to running of the schools with minimum staff, sanitization is being done by the private schools and Government of Punjab has not come to help them on this side as well.
Advocate General Punjab, Anu Pal stated that schools charge fee under the different heads and transportation charges are always separate and the same cannot be made a ground to alter letter dated 14th May, 2020.
Bench on perusal of the above, passed an interim direction that admission fee which is paid one time by parents, shall be paid in 2 equal installments in 6 months and 70% of total school fee will be charged from the parents of the students and 70% salary will be paid to teachers during pendency of the present petition.
Further the Court directed that, State to file detailed reply and Counsel for State to get instructions as to how respondents can help private schools with regard to amount deposited in ‘Reserve Fund’ for sanitizing school buildings.
Matter to be listed on 12th June, 2020.[Independent Schools’ Association Chandigarh (Regd.) v. State of Punjab, 2020 SCC OnLine P&H 626 , decided on 22-05-2020]