Row over school fees: Private schools of Chandigarh withdraw petition from high court

The private schools on Friday withdrew their petition from the Punjab and Haryana high court that they had filed over the UT administration’s directions barring them from charging fees during the lockdown.

The petition was withdrawn after the court observed that since the administration had now allowed them to charge tuition fee, a fresh course of action had arisen, and issues, if any, should be dealt with in a separate petition.

President of Independent Schools’ Association HS Mamik said the May 18 order of UT administration on allowing tuition fee only to be charged will also be challenged since the schools were of the view that the UT had no authority to pass such an order.

It was on May 13 that the high court had asked UT to consider schools’ plea on withdrawing order of barring them from fee collection amid the lockdown. On May 18, the UT had allowed schools to charge tuition fees but with a rider that no student should be forced.

Schools are not satisfied with this order and want to collect other charges too. They raised an argument on this during Friday’s hearing. However, the court asked them to file a fresh plea.

There are 77 private schools who have locked horns with the UT administration. The bone of contention between them are two orders from the administration on the fee issue.

The March 30 order had directed schools to reschedule the last date of collection of fee and funds for the session 2020-21 to a date at least one month after the reopening of schools. Again on April 7, the UT had asked private schools to not send any messages to parents with regard to deposition of fee.

The schools were warned that any violation would lead to withdrawal of recognition. Following this, schools had approached the administration asking it to allow them to collect fees or pay the salaries of staff members. However, the UT in turn asked schools to provide their balance sheets, which most of them did not agree to. Amid the standoff, teachers and other staff members of the schools were not paid any salaries.

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