Published: 21st October 2021
School managements in violation of SC by asking for fees under 'refundable', 'deposit' heads: J&K Fee Fixation and Regulation Committee
Justice Attar even went on to call such demands and threats to put a stop to the child's academic path as "unethical" and immoral"
"School managements, despite it having been ruled by the Hon'ble Supreme Court and it being an age-old fact that imparting education is not a business/commercial activity but is charitable work, are using this pious work as camouflage to satisfy the beastly instincts of having only this world's fortunes." These strong words appeared in the four-page order issued by the Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Fee Fixation and Regulation Committee on October 21. In his order, Justice (retd) Muzaffar Hussain Attar directed all private schools in the union territory to not charge any money under the 'refundable' or 'deposit' heads as it was in violation of the Supreme Court guidelines.
The order was issued following several complaints from parents that schools were charging money under refundable or deposit heads. Keeping this in mind, the order also directed the schools to not pressure parents to pay the tuition fee in advance. "The tuition fee is a monthly fee out of which, as already stated, recurring expenses are being made. The school managements cannot, in law and on any moral justification, pressurise the students/guardians to pay the tuition fee in advance for six months or for the whole year," the retired judge said in the order.
"Such a demand by some of the school managements, being not in consonance with settled norms of charging and collecting tuition fee, cannot be permitted to be practised," the order read. It also pointed that a refundable fee/deposit is not legally permissible and hence, no school can demand it. Justice Attar even went on to call such demands and threats to put a stop to the child's academic path as "unethical" and immoral". He observed, "The demand of some of the school managements to the parents to clear the pending fee dues failing which the academic pursuit of the child will be adversely impacted, besides being violative of the judgments of the Supreme Court, is also unethical and immoral."
He added, "Schools are being set up to impart education to children. Non-payment of fees cannot and shall not come in the way of such pursuit of the student." Justice Attar said that the school managements, however, will be within their rights to seek recovery of the unpaid fees in accordance with the law.