Will give concession to parents: Private schools to High Court - ECAS Punjab

Will give concession to parents: Private schools to High Court

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Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 12

Private-unaided schools before the Punjab and Haryana High Court today undertook to reduce, waive or defer fee payment in case of parents in dire straits due to Covid outbreak.

The undertaking before Justice Nirmaljit Kaur came on pleas by the schools challenging May 14 directives on charging only the tuition fee.

In one of the petitions, Independent Schools' Association through counsel Aashish Chopra had contended the directives were illegal arbitrary, without jurisdiction and rationale. Parents subsequently moved the court for also being heard. Advocate-General Atul Nanda too appeared before the Bench claiming there was no question of financial hardship since schools conducting online classes would continue to charge fee "in respect of such classes".

Representing 3,500 schools, senior advocate Puneet Bali submitted the cases of parents in genuine distress would be considered on individual basis for fee waiver, reduction and deferment.

Bali questioned state's jurisdiction to order independent bodies against charging for services. Referring to 2016 regulations, Bali submitted fee to be charged included salary and development charges. As far as transportation charges were concerned, Bali added the schools were required to pay for permits and road tax, besides salary to conductors and drivers. He said the state wanted schools to pay for everything and not charge anything. If the state was willing to take the burden of paying fee and salaries, schools would not charge even a single rupee as fee.

Defending the state's stand, Nanda referred to 187-page reply filed by him stating among other things that the memo reasonably prohibited the charging for meals, transportation and buildings. Meals and transportation were not being offered and buildings were closed. Besides, it was a policy decision and the same could not be tested in writ proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution. He added that other states had passed similar orders without intervention by the courts

Nanda was earlier asked by the Bench to intervene for resolving the issue, following which a series of meetings were held with all concerned. The CM was also kept in the loop. His stand to resolve the issue was today backed by a section of lawyers. Parents will now be heard on June 15.

from The Tribune https://ift.tt/2XXEiln

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