Published: 02nd August 2020
Delhi HC to hear PIL seeking private school tuition fee waiver on August 4
The plea, filed by one Naresh Kumar, prayed for the interpretation of Force Majeure clauses and sought directions to the Directorate of Education, Government of NCT Delhi to take steps
The Delhi High Court will hear on August 4 a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions to Delhi government to take a step to waive off the school tuition fee amid the ongoing coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The plea, filed by one Naresh Kumar, prayed for the interpretation of Force Majeure clauses in the present pandemic situation and sought directions to the Directorate of Education, Government of NCT Delhi to take steps to waive off the school tuition fee.
According to the petition, the impact of COVID-19 is building by the day, supply chains are being significantly disrupted and businesses' rights and obligations under contracts are coming into sharp focus. The matter is slated to come up for hearing on Tuesday.
The plea, filed through advocates N Pradeep Sharma and Harsh K Sharma, said that private school administrations have been demanding school fee and other charges without rendering any services.
It said that the school admission form does not have any clause that in case of an adverse situation, the school would charge tuition fees for providing online classes.
"The students are facing several side effects and such online classes offered by schools have other medical and psychological implications, which is against the concept of school education," the plea said.
"The schools are duty-bound to follow and abide the terms and conditions which are a part of school prospectus and if there is no Force Majeure clause in the school prospectus, demanding of tuition fee, without providing the actual education, is a violation of law in terms of a contract and also against the principle of natural justice," it added.
The plea said that it would not be out of the question to mention that the school prospectus does not contain any clause with respect to a pandemic or like situation and further that in such a condition, the school would provide online classes and charge tuition fees for the same.
It also said that the entire student community is facing a lot of problems to gain knowledge through the online education system.
"Some homework and class tests are required to be undertaken under the guidance of trained teachers so as to achieve, through the online way of teaching. It would be important to mention that private schools are either being run by society or trust and are not doing any social service to society. Even otherwise, the school is a service provider and thus is covered under the Consumer Act also," the plea said.