The Bombay High Court on Friday stayed a May 8 government resolution (GR) instructing all schools not to hike fees for the academic year 2019-2020. The High Court has also ordered the government to justify its resolution.
A bench of Justices Ujjal Bhuyan and Riyaz Chagla stayed the GR which also instructed schools not to insist that parents pay the pending fees, if any, during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.
The GR issued by the education ministry had also specifically asked schools to allow parents to pay the pending fees (for 2019-2020) in either monthly or quarterly installments.
The bench was dealing with a bunch of petitions filed by various schools and their associations challenging the GR issued on May 8. The petitions filed through senior counsel Milind Sathe claimed that the GR breached their fundamental rights and took away their right to regulate the educational institutions and fix the fees for an academic year.
The schools in their petition further took exception to the specific provision of the GR which provided punitive action against institutions under the Epidemic Diseases Act.
Having considered the petitions, the bench led by Justice Bhuyan deemed it fit to stay the operation of the GR for the time being.
"Let the government file an affidavit justifying its stand on the issue, till then we stay the operation of the GR in question," the judges said, while adjourning the matter for further hearing.