SC Direction on Rajasthan Private School Fee

Due to COVID pandemic across the globe almost all the educational institutes (schools, colleges, universities) are closed in order to reduce the count of COVID patients. Many entrance exams are also postponed. In order to avoid the academic loss of the students, the institutes have started the online lectures and academic online examinations have also been conducted. The major problem raised is the fee structure of the institutes. As all the institutes are closed and online lectures have been conducted it is acceptable to reduce the fee structure.

The Supreme Court of Rajasthan has passed the decision of charging of about 80% of annual school fees for 2020 – 2021 academic year. The order was passed by Justice A.M Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari. The reduction of 15% of annual fees is due to the facilities or activities which are not utilized. The respective fee structure can be deposited in six instalments before 5th August 2021. The school management should allow all the students to attend their respective online classes and should not hold the examination results in case of lack of payment of fees. Due to COVID pandemic many people have lost their jobs and find difficult to pay the 100% fee structure of their children.

According to the report of May 3rd 2021, the order of High Court has been rejected by Supreme Court of paying 70% fee of the institutes during COVID situation. Due to this decision, the parents may have to pay full academic fee for their children education. However, the final words of decision are still in awaiting position. The education minister of Rajasthan has assured of maintaining the dignity of court and there will be no injustice to the parents. The decision is being followed by government schools of Rajasthan while the private institutes has filed PIL against this order. The private institutes have requested to reduce the academic fee structure by 70% for the schools affiliated to Central Board of Secondary Education and 60% from schools that are affiliated to Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education.

In the COVID 19 pandemic, the government of Rajasthan decided to collect the school fees for 3 months for the private schools that are recognised by primary and secondary education departments. Further the discussion was passed as the students should be allowed to attend their respective online classes, all the students should be allowed to deposit of about 70% of school fees that were charged yearly in the academics, in case if a student is unable to pay the respective (70%) school fee then he/she will not be able to attend the online classes but at the same time they cannot be expelled from the school.

The private schools cannot charge the fees of the facilities which are not provided and some of them are laboratory facilities, sports facilities, extra co – curricular facilities etc. According to 128 – page judgement the fee structure of private unaided schools can be regulated so that the school management should not face any loss. The private schools of Rajasthan moved to Supreme Court on 18th December 2020. The Disaster Management Act, Rajasthan Epidemic Diseases Act and Rajasthan Schools Act however do not provide permission to the state government to deduct the fees collected from private schools.

The two sets of appeals were passed by common judgement:

  1. For the first set of appeals, six appeals described the common judgement and order which was passed by High Court of judicature at Jodhpur for Rajasthan and other two appeals where against the judgement and order which was passed for Jaipur bench. In this discussion, the management of private unaided schools in Rajasthan has made the violent attack on the validity of schools in the sections of 3,4, 6 to 11,15 and 16.
  2. For the second set of appeals, four appeals were for management of private unaided schools and the order on the date 18-12-2020 of High Court of Rajasthan. One of the challenging activities in these appeals was to pass the orders by state authorities on 9-4-2020, 7-7-2020 and 28-10-2020.

The issues which were discussed in these appeals concerned 36,000 private unaided schools with 220 minority private unaided schools belonging to the state of Rajasthan. After hearing these appeals analogously, two broad issues were raised for the consideration.

Due to online lectures that now a days all the students are facing, the stress level on their mental health and physical health has raised. Sometimes students cannot concentrate on the online lectures due to stress. The main reason behind the rise of stress level is the use of smartphones, laptops, tablets etc which are essential for online classes. Students cannot interact with their friends, cannot have fun time as they were doing before pandemic. Let us all hope that this pandemic comes to an end as soon as possible and let our students enjoy their education life with attending the physical appearance classes and stress free classes.

Author: Ravina Edake from MKSSS’S Cummins College of Engineering for Women.

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