HC orders private schools in this state to reduce tuition fees by 20%

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday (October 13) ordered a 20% fee cut in tuition fees in all “non-government aided schools” in the state due to coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. A three-member committee has been constituted by the court to look into all fee-related complaints.

The order was issued by a division bench of justices Sanjib Banerjee and Moushumi Bhattacharya on a PIL plea filed by a guardians’ forum of over 140 educational institutions. The court has also instructed the private schools not to charge fees under the non-academic head.

“There will be no increase in fees during the financial year 2020’-21. From the month beginning April 2020 till the month following the one in which the schools reopen in the physical mode, all 145 schools will offer a minimum of 20 per cent reduction of fees across the board. Non-essential charges for use of facilities not availed of will not be permissible. For instance, additional charges for laboratory, craft, sporting facilities or extracurricular activities or the like will not be permissible during the months that the schools have not functioned in the physical mode. Session fees traditionally charged periodically will be permissible, but again, subject to a maximum of 80 per cent of the quantum charged for the corresponding period in the financial year 2019-’20,” read the judgment.

It added, “The minimum figure of 20 per cent reduction in the monthly tuition fees will be on the basis of the tuition fees charged for the corresponding month in the previous financial year. If any school makes a loss as a consequence of following these directions, such loss can be made up in course of the next two financial years if normal physical functioning resumes by March 31, 2021.”

In the PIL, the guardians had said that only schools are conducting only online classes but they are charging all kinds of fees. The Calcutta HC will now hear this case on December 7, 2020.

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