Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: N. Anand Venkatesh, J., stated that in case the Schools are violating the High Court’s earlier Order with regard to collection of only 40% tuition fees by unaided private institutions during the academic year 2019-2020, Contempt proceedings shall be instituted.

Petition was filed seeking writ of mandamus directing respondents to relax an order passed against the educational institutions precluding from collecting fees from the students to the extent to permit the schools to collect the fees due for academic year 2019-2020 and part fees for the academic year 2020-21 to meet the costs for paying the salaries, purchase and distributions of books, provisioning for online classes, etc.

Government Advocate on behalf of the Education Department submitted that several complaints have been received from parents to the effect that the Education Institutions insisted for the payment of the entire fees in violation of the interim orders passed by the Court on 17-07-2020.

Parents are hesitant to give a written complaint fearing consequences.

Bench taking serious note of the issue stated that education department shall conduct an immediate enquiry and if it would be found that the institutions have been collecting fees in violation of the interim orders passed by this Court, immediate action shall be taken against the schools.

Further, 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, shall file a report on the action taken. [Tamil Nadu Nursery Primary Matriculation Higher Secondary Schools Assn. v. Chief Secy to Govt, 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 1638 , decided on 31-07-2020]

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Madras HC | Unaided private institutions in T.N. to collect 40% tuition fees as advance fee; Arrears of tuition fees to  be paid before 30 Sept 2020

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: N. Anand Venkatesh, J., passed directions regarding payment of fees to unaided private institutions. The present interim order will apply on all the unaided private institutions across the State of T.N.

“COVID-19  Pandemic has posed huge challenges to entire human kind.”

Bench observed that all the governments are grappling to handle the situation and every day new challenges stare at the face of the State and Central Government. Many decisions which seem to be right at the time when it is taken goes completely wrong at a later point of time.

The savings and contingency funds are dwindling every day due to the non availability of income. The economic breakdown has virtually come to a stage where the livelihood of many persons is under challenge.

Government order under challenge had virtually put a  lid on the institutions from collecting tuition fees and therefore aggrieved by the same, the unaided institutions have filed writ petitions  challenging the G.O.

The Bench, while taking into consideration the interest of all stakeholders, requested the State Government to take into consideration the same for which the State Government managed to come up with an interim arrangement.

Institutions must kick start their functioning

The unaided institutions depend upon only fees collected from the students which ultimately pays the salary of the teachers and non teaching staff without whom the institutions cannot function. Whereas, the other end of the spectrum is that many of the parents are also in the receiving end either because of no income or with a reduced income.

“…managements have managed to pay the salaries to the teachers and the

non teaching staff from their available reserve funds till date. This

the process cannot go on endlessly. “

Court in order to clear the logjam and strike a balance of interest of all the stakeholders, issued the following directions:

  • an interim order passed by this Court will apply to all unaided private institutions across the State of Tamil Nadu.
  • unaided private institutions shall collect 40% of the tuition fees as an advance fee based on the tuition fees collected during the academic year 2019-2020. This advance fee shall be paid by the students on or before 31-08-2020.
  • Arrears fees shall be paid before 30-09-2020.
  • If the students have already paid the entire fees including arrears, it cannot be a ground to claim refund.
  • balance of 35% of the fees based on the tuition fees collected for the academic year 2019-2020, shall be collected within a period of two months from the date on which the institution is reopened and physical classes commences
  • Fee Committee shall immediately start the process of the determining the tuition fees for the respective institutions and make an attempt to complete the process within a period of eight months starting from August 2020 onwards.
  • Teaching or non-teaching staff shall not insist for any increment in salary and/or DA until restoration of normalcy.
  • The State Government is directed to immediately take into consideration the request made by the institutions to supply textbooks and note books to the students either free of cost or at some nominal rates.

Matter to be posted on 05-10-2020. [Arockia Madha Matriculation Higher Secondary School v. Chief secretary to Government, 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 1442  , decided on 17-07-2020]