In a major development, the Supreme Court refused to entertain a plea by parents from different states seeking deferment/moratorium on school fees for the COVID-19 lockdown period. The top court asked them to approach the high courts’ for relief.
A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices R Subhash Reddy and A S Bopanna said: “Fee hike issue should have been raised before the state High Courts. Why has it come to the Supreme Court? Each state has different problems. It’s a intensive situation. “Problems in each state are different. Parties are involving jurisdiction of this court as an omnibus case. But these are fact intensive situations in each state and even each district.”
Advocates Balaji Srinivasan and Mayank Kshirsagar said the Punjab and Haryana High Court has allowed schools to charge hiked fee. The bench told the counsels, the petitioners can file an appeal against that order of Punjab and Haryana High Court. “It would be a stroke of genius if you can solve everybody’s problems,” the bench said.
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The top court said that it is not inclined to interfere at this stage and the petitioners may withdraw plea and approach the high courts. Parents move to SC Parents of school going children from different states have moved the top court seeking a declaration of moratorium or deferment of payment of school fees during the COVID-19 induced lockdown. The plea also sought that the Centre and all states be asked to direct the private unaided/aided schools to only charge the proportionate fees based on actual expenditure towards the conduct of the online virtual classes and no other fees from the students since April 1 till the commencement of physical classes.