The association said that Monday’s Supreme Court order also amounts to squashing of the preceding judgments by different high courts across the country, which had allowed up to 30% cut in private school fees as relief for parents during the pandemic.
“It is a good judgment and in favour of private schools as it clearly states that state government cannot interfere with the autonomy of private schools and that full fees should be charged and paid, though it does ask schools to take a soft view on parents during the pandemic,” said Deepak Khaitan, founder president of AGGRUSA.
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Many parents of students studying in private unaided schools in Goa had held demonstrations last year demanding a concession in the fees as classes are now being held online during the pandemic. The parents had also said that their income is affected due to the pandemic and therefore schools should offer concessions.
The court verdict states that no provision in the Disaster Management Act allows states to order private schools to curtail the fees during a pandemic.
Khaitan said private unaided schools in Goa have already offered parents the option to pay the fees in installments as a concession, while some have done away with charges like activity fees.
He said the Supreme Court judgment states that state government cannot transcend the line of regulation and impinge upon the autonomy of the school under the guise of exercising powers to fix ‘just’ school fees.
The judgment was passed in a matter pertaining to private unaided schools in Rajasthan.
Khaitan said that as state governments have understood the adverse effects a total lockdown can have on the economy, the same economic impact is not expected on individual or parent incomes during the second wave of the pandemic as seen during the total lockdown last year.