Published: 19th January 2023
Delhi High Court rules barring students from exams due to non-payment of fees is a violation of children's rights
Justice Mini Pushkarna stated that children should not be prohibited from taking crucial examinations like Class X and Class XII, as it could negatively impact their future
The Delhi High Court has ruled that preventing students from taking an examination due to non-payment of fees is a violation of a child's rights as per Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Justice Mini Pushkarna stated that children should not be prohibited from taking crucial examinations like Class X and Class XII, as it could negatively impact their future.
“Thus, a child cannot be made to suffer and not be allowed to attend classes or barred from taking examinations in the middle of an academic session on the ground of non-payment of fees. Education is the foundation, which shapes the future of a child and which in turn shapes the future of the society in general,” the court said.
It added: "Therefore, not allowing a student to take examinations, especially the Board Examinations, would be an infringement of the rights of a child akin to the Right to Life as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Supreme Court has expanded the rights under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and education is certainly one of the important rights which would be encompassed under the right to life. In furtherance of the same, Article 21A of the Constitution of India provides for the Right to Education, wherein the State has been ordained to provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6 to 14 years," stated a report by LiveLaw.
The court also said that a school that is private and unaided could not be forced to continue with a child who is unable to pay the fees. This is for students who have taken admitted to a private unaided institution in the general quota and not under the Economical Weaker Section (EWS) or Disadvantage Group (DG) quota. “Therefore, the rights of a child to education has to be balanced with the rights of the school under the DSER, 1973. The constitutionality and validity of Rule 35 of Delhi School Education Rules, 1973, which authorises the Head of the school to strike off the name of a student from the rolls of the school on account of non-payment of fees, has not been struck down by any Court of law,” the court said, as reported by LiveLaw.
Justice Pushkarna permitted a Class X student to take the board examination taking a “compassionate and sympathetic view” after his name was removed by The Indian School in New Delhi owing to non-payment of fees.
The school stated the petitioner's child does not have the right to continue their education if the student cannot pay the fees. However, the court said that a minor cannot be tormented in the middle of an academic session. The plea was listed on January 17 upon urgent mentioning since the practical exams for the Class X board examination were scheduled from January 18, stated the LiveLaw report.
“However, it is noted that the petitioner has approached this Court at a belated stage even though the name of the petitioner had been struck off by the school firstly by way of a letter dated 07.09.2022 and subsequently, by way of a letter dated 19.11.2022,” the court said. The court also ordered the petitioner should be issued that CBSE roll number from the school that will allow him to take the board examinations. The court also stated that the child can attend any classes or special classes that may be held for the Class X examination.
“In the facts and circumstances of the case, since it has been expressed on behalf of the father of the petitioner that the family is undergoing financial constraints, it is directed that the petitioner shall pay an amount of Rs.30,000/- to the school within four weeks from today on account of the dues payable to the school towards the fees,” the court directed.