Schools Have Saved Operational Costs During Lockdown; Can't Charge Students For Unused Facilities: Supreme Court

Team SoOLEGAL 4 May 2021 3:20pm

Schools Have Saved Operational Costs During Lockdown; Can't Charge Students For Unused Facilities: Supreme Court

Supreme Court while hearing a batch of applications in the case Indian School, Jodhpur Vs. State of Rajasthan, that challenged an order of Rajasthan Government which had permitted CBSE schools and State Board schools to collect 70% and 60% of the annual school fee respectively had held that, the schools can collect annual tuition fee after giving a deduction of 15% towards the savings made through overheads and operational costs. The Supreme Court was of the view that, the private schools demanding fees from the students for the services which are not availed by the students, amounts to profiteering and commercialization.

Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari were hearing the appeal and according to the Court as classes were held online hence, schools must have saved a certain amount on overheads and operational costs. The Court had calculated that approximately schools have saved 15% on overheads and operational costs and thus they have to give deduction in annual school fees. The Court had referred to the precedents which were led down in various cases such as TMA Pai, PA Inamdar etc in which it was held that, the fees charged by educational institutions must be proportionate to services only.

The Court had stated that a private institution has the freedom to set its own fees as long as it does not result in 'profiteering' and 'commercialization,' and that the State has the authority to enforce regulations to that extent. The Court had also held that, the school administration, which is ostensibly engaged in the charitable task of imparting education, is required to be attentive and aware of the situation and to take the requisite corrective steps to alleviate the difficulty experienced by the students and their parents. It is the responsibility of the school administration to reschedule school fee payments in such a way that no student is left out or refused the opportunity to pursue his or her education.

The Court had held that all the private schools must charge 85% of annual fees. The Court had also ordered that no student should be debarred from attending either online or physical classes due to non-payment of fees, arrears/outstanding fees, or instalments, and that no student's exam results be withheld on that basis.

Tagged: Supreme Court   Indian School   Rajasthan Government   CBSE schools   State Board schools   annual school fee   physical classes  
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