Published: 10th July 2020
PIL moved for waiving tuition fees as no physical classes held by schools during COVID-19 lockdown
During the hearing, conducted via video conference, the bench said that schools have to pay the teachers for conducting the online classes and also have to put in place the necessary infrastructure
A PIL has been moved in the Delhi High Court seeking directions to the AAP government to take steps for waiving tuition fees charged by schools in the national capital during the COVID-19 lockdown as no physical classes were held. The plea also seeks a refund of the tuition fees paid by parents from April onwards.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan on Friday briefly heard the matter and then adjourned it to August 4 after Delhi government standing counsel Ramesh Singh said that the same issue had been dealt with by the high court in April this year. The lawyer for petitioner, Naresh Kumar, sought time to ascertain whether the issue raised in the petition has been dealt with by the high court in April. The court, thereafter, listed the matter on August 4.
During the hearing, conducted via video conference, the bench said that schools have to pay the teachers for conducting the online classes and also have to put in place the necessary infrastructure, like equipment, software and internet connections, for holding such classes. It asked Kumar, represented by advocate N Pradeep Sharma, whether he was willing to pay higher fees if the schools say the cost of holding online classes is much more than that of physical classes.
Kumar, a lawyer, in his plea has also challenged the Delhi government''s April 17 notification permitted schools to charge only tuition fees. He has contended that in the absence of a force majeure clause in the school prospectus, stating that they would hold online classes in such situations as prevailing in the country, they cannot charge tuition fees as allegedly no service is being provided by them.
Force majeure is an event or effect that can neither be anticipated nor controlled. The petition has sought that the April 17 notification be declared as bad in law and the Delhi government be directed to ensure tuition fees paid by parents from April onwards is refunded.