The Punjab and Haryana High Court instructed on Thursday that the private unaided schools could charge tuition fees from the students only if they have been providing online education amid the lockdown period. The division bench at the High Court comprises two justices. Rajeev Sharma and Harinder and Singh Sidhu are the two justices of the bench. They also directed that all the teachers and staff will be allowed to get their respective salaries they were receiving prior to the lockdown imposition on 23rd March.
This direction will be applicable to the staff and teachers whether they are permanent, or assigned on a contractual or temporary or ad-hoc basis. The division bench comprising Justice H S Sidhu and Justice Rajiv Sharma of the HC said, ‘It is a case where the principle of quid pro quo would be applicable. The tuition fee can be charged only if the students are being imparted education on a regular basis via online classes during the lockdown period in order to balance equities.’
The court also directed the schools not to levy any sort of transportation charges as the candidates weren’t being driven from school to home or vice versa during the lockdown period. The High Court also instructed the school management to register their balance sheets for the preceding 7 months appropriately verified by a chartered accountant within 2 weeks.
The bench also issued these orders whilst altering the directions issued on 30th June by a single bench of the High Court permitting the schools to charge tuition fees from parents amid the lockdown period despite not organizing online classes. As per the latest reports, the bench has adjourned the case to 12th November for a final hearing.
This court order came upon receiving a slew of petitions registered by parents. The State Government of Punjab was against the order of single bench Justice Nirmaljit Kaur who permitted private schools to collect the fee regardless of providing online education or not. On 20th July 2020, a division bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shankar Jha and Justice Arun Palli gave interim support to the candidates. They said that their names would not be crossed out of the private schools in Punjab due to the non-payment of fees.
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