Chennai: The Madras High Court on Friday permitted private unaided schools in Tamil Nadu to collect 85 per cent of the annual fees for the year 2021-22 in six installments from students whose parents had not suffered loss of income during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
This, provided the schools conducted the online classes without any hindrance, the court said.
Parents who have suffered loss of income during this period shall make an application to the school management, who shall consider their request and collect 75 per cent of the fees, as per a circular by the Commissioner of School Education for 2021- 2022, in six instalments.
Justice D Krishnakumar issued directions to this effect today while disposing of a batch of over 45 writ petitions from the Federation of Association of Private Schools in Tamil Nadu (FAPSIT).
This revised order was passed to protect the interest of the students, as well as the school managements during this extraordinary situation, the judge said.
The fees was 75 per cent for the 2020-21 academic year.
The judge said that if the students had already paid the first installment for this academic year, the balance shall be paid by way of installments and the last one shall be paid on or before February 1, 2022.
If any parents/students seek further concession for payment of annual fees for 2021-22, apart from the above two categories on account of unemployment or close down of business due to lockdown, they shall make a representation to the school management, who shall consider such representation on a case-to-case basis, sympathetically.
The institutions shall also collect the arrears of fees payable for 2020-2021 in similar terms.
The judge made it clear that if any student has already paid the entire fees, including arrears, the same shall not be a ground to claim for refund of the fees.
Further, schools shall not debar any student from attending online or physical classes on account of non-payment of fees, arrears/outstanding fees, including the instalments referred to above and not withhold the results of the examinations of any student on that ground.
Regardless of the above, it will be open to the schools to give further concessions to their students or to evolve a different pattern for giving concessions over and above those noted above.
No student shall be removed or allowed to drop out from under any circumstances during 2021-22 and it is the responsibility of the jurisdictional educational authorities to monitor the same, the judge said.
If any difficulty is faced by the students to continue in a particular school, they can approach the jurisdictional educational authorities, who shall make necessary arrangements to accommodate the ward in a nearby state-run institution.
As a special case under extraordinary circumstances, the state government may also consider to sanction amount for the fees if there is any unfilled seats available under the 25 per cent quota under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 for 2021-22, subject to eligibility criteria.
The managements of CBSE schools shall publish the details of fees to be collected for 2021-2022 in their respective websites, within four weeks.
In case of a dispute in respect of determination of fees, the school managements or students/parents concerned can approach the Fee Determination Committee for redressal of their grievances.
Students who seek to leave the school may inform the schools concerned. The education department has already issued a circular that schools cannot insist upon production of Transfer Certificates for admission of students in schools.
The state government shall take all necessary steps to fill up the vacancies in the cadre of staff and ensure effective functioning of the Fee Determination Committee.
The said exercise shall be completed by the secretary, School Education department within eight weeks, the court said....