Published: 26th March 2021
HC dismisses PIL against enhanced exam fees charged by CBSE
The bench said there was no right for full or partial waiver of examination fees and it was the government's decision whether it can foot the bill
The Delhi High Court Friday dismissed a PIL which said that poor children studying in classes 10 and 12 at government schools would not be able to afford the board exam fees and sought a direction to the AAP government to pay as it had done in the past.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh said there was no right for full or partial waiver of examination fees and it was the government's decision whether it can foot the bill based on the facts and circumstances of each year and the other priorities of the administration. The court said it was not inclined to direct the government to fully or partially waive the exam fees and saw no reason to entertain the petition. "With these observations, the petition is dismissed," it said.
The petition was filed by a society, Parents Forum for Meaningful Education, contending that the CBSE "arbitrarily" enhanced the exam fees in 2019-20 and was charging the same in 2020-21 too when everyone has been hit financially by the pandemic. In 2019-20, the Delhi government foot the exam fees of students studying in class 10 and 12 in its schools, and assured the parents that the matter would be sorted for the future, the society had said in its plea.
The government had in another similar matter told the court that it cannot foot the bill in 2020-21 as it had done last year as the amount was over Rs 100 crore. The society had in its plea said that CBSE was charging Rs 1,500 as board exam fees for class 10 and 12 and the amount goes up to Rs 2,400 for science stream students as they also have practicals. The petition contended that in the prevailing situation, parents of children in government schools may not be able to pay such amounts in one go. "It has emerged that respondent 2 (Delhi government) has not only failed to sort out the matter as promised last year but this year it has declined to meet the steep fee obligation thereby abandoning lakhs of children in class 10 and 12 in its schools," the petition claimed.
The petition had also sought creation of an empowered committee to examine the fixation of exam fees by CBSE for students in schools run by the Delhi government and to ensure that such children "receive the minimum learning environment and opportunity for equal chances of success at the board examination".