Representational Image
Representational Image

Providing relief to parents and school staffers alike Madhya Pradesh High Court on Thursday directing that schools to charge only tuition fee for the Covid-19 lockdown period. It also said that schools should pay salary to all school staffers regularly.    

Principal bench of Jabalpur High Court comprising acting chief justice Sanjay Yadav and Rajeev Kumar Dubey disposed of the case where around ten litigants had sought decision of fee hike by private schools besides charging full fee for the corona induced lockdown period.

The situation got complicated after contradictory orders of Gwalior and Indore High Court benches after which the case was referred to Jabalpur High Court. The HC also said that private schools cannot reduce the salary of teaching and non-teaching staff by more than 20%- that too should be refunded when things turn normal.

Parents shall pay the tuition fee only and other charges like Library Fee, Reading Room Fee, Games Fee, Laboratory Fee, Computer Fee, Practical Fee, Examination Fee (subject to if the examinations are not held) and Fee for programs organized on occasions such as National Festivals, Annual Function, Sporting Events, Development Fees will not be charged by the schools, said the order.

Taking into consideration the fact that the entire physical activities in the schools were at stand still and the teaching were being imparted through virtual mode the HC directed that there will be no increment in fee for session 2020-21.

Court also ordered that salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff shall be regularly paid on the due date. In case if any reduced salary is paid, the reduction shall not be more than 20% and arrears towards reduced amount shall be paid with the restoration of normalcy in six monthly equal installments.

Controversy had started when private schools had started demanding full fees from the parents for the lockdown period and started charging late fee from the parents failing to do so in time.

State government then issued orders on April 24, 2020 restricting schools from charging late fees for parents who erred in depositing fee in time. Fee hike was also restrained. The order also restricted schools from charging extra for conducting online classes during Covid period. The order issued by the school education department also instructed schools to pay salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff as well. 

Later on May 16, the school education department issued orders instructing schools to charge only tuition fee for the lockdown period.

These orders evoked response from the Association of Unaided CBSE Schools, stating that on the basis of these circulars, collectors have started issuing orders to the institutions that if complete salary to the teaching and non-teaching staff was not regularly paid, action shall be initiated against them and affiliation would be cancelled.

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Free Press Journal