Schools told to consider parents’ pleas on fees

Rise to the occasion during pandemic, Karnataka High Court says.

Observing that educational institutions should rise to the occasion on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, the High Court of Karnataka has asked the managements of schools affiliated to the CBSE and the ICSE to voluntarily notify parents that they would consider the grievances of individual parents on payment of the full fee for the 2020-21 academic year.

“This court would also implore upon the management of the institutions affiliated to ICSE and CBSE boards and the Association of Indian Schools to voluntarily issue notices on their notice boards that they would consider individual grievances of the parents and shall not insist upon the payment of full school fees in the light of the genuine grievances raised by the parents,” the court observed.

Grievances of parents shall be considered on a case-by-case basis, it said.

“The institutions affiliated to the petitioner-association are required to consider the grievance of parents, which is a genuine concern in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected the citizens of this country and caused severe damage to their livelihood,” the court observed.

The court had directed the government not to take any coercive action against schools affiliated to the CBSE and ICSE and members of the Association for not adhering to the Government Order of January 29, 2021 directing all schools to collect only 70% of the fee that was collected in the previous academic year.

The court found substance in the contention of the petitioner-association that the government could not take coercive action against them as it had, in 2019, promised so in the petitions in which the association had challenged the legality of the new law that empowered the State government to issue directions even to schools affiliated to CBSE and ICSE in certain circumstances, including fixation of fee structure.

Though the government claimed that the decision to restrict fee was taken after meetings with parents’ associations and associations of school managements, it was contended on behalf of the Association of Indian Schools that schools affiliated to the CBSE and ICSE were not called for a meeting.

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