HC orders all private schools not to charge Sep, Oct fee

Asks them to state on affidavit within 15 days that they have not charged fee for these months and have not hiked the fee

Srinagar: The J&K High Court Monday directed all private schools in Kashmir Valley not to charge tuition and bus fee for the month of September and October last year, when Kashmir was hit by worst floods.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation—Parents Body Vs State— a division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey also directed the schools also directed the schools to comply with its directions for not increasing the tuition fee.
The division bench also directed private schools to file an undertaking within two weeks before court’s registrar judicial, certifying that they have not charged the fee for the two months.
In the undertaking, the schools have been also asked to certify that incase the fee has been already charged, same shall be adjusted for the months of November-December onwards.
The schools have been further asked to certify that they have not increased tuition fee as directed by the Court on December 30 and have not charged enhanced fee from the students.
“It is made clear that the directions restraining the private educational institutions from taking tuition and bus fee for the months of September-October, 2014 is applicable to all the private educational institutions. Direction for not increasing the tuition fee is also applicable to these private educational institutions and they shall comply with the same,” the bench said.
However, the court gave liberty to the educational institutions to seek vacation or modification of its orders, passed from time to time.
“In order to justify their claims, they shall give detailed information supported with evidence or material,” the bench said.
The directions by the court followed submissions by amicus curie, advocate G A Lone, that despite court orders, some of the institutions are not only compelling the parents to pay fee for the month of September-October but some of them have even increased the fee also.
He cited an example of Delhi Public School Athwajan here and said that the institute has hiked the fee.
Meanwhile the court clarified that its interim directions passed from time to time in the PIL shall continue till further orders from the Court.
“The cases of individual institutions will he considered and scrutinized on their own merit and orders accordingly passed.”
Earlier, the court through its registry had put 97 schools on notice for charging tuition fee and bus fare from students for September, when the Valley was hit by the worst floods. In October, the people were still reeling under the aftermath of the deluge.
The directions followed despite submissions by the counsel for some schools that they opened their institutes immediately after the flood waters receded. “Be humanistic and have a human heart,” the court had responded to the submissions by the counsel for the schools.
However, the court had closed proceedings regarding schools of district Ganderbal as the central Kashmir district was unaffected by the floods.
The court has already directed Delhi Public School, Athwajan, and New Convent High School, Gogjibagh, here not to charge tuition fee as well as bus fare from students for September and October.
A few other schools including Malllison (Sheikh Bagh), Tyndale Biscoe, Burn Hall, New Era, Presentation Convent and Srinagar British School have have already made a statement before the court that they will not charge the tuition fee and the bus fare for the two months.