DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand high court on Tuesday directed that students who do not have access to the online course, cannot be asked to pay the tuition fee.
The directions of the court came while hearing public interest litigations filed by Japinder Singh, a social worker from Dehradun earlier this month.
The order by the division bench of chief justice Ramesh Ranganathan and justice RC Khulbe observed that "It does appear that subtle means are being adopted by these private institutions to force parents to pay the tuition fees.
"Since payment of tuition fees by students is voluntary, none of the private schools shall send e-mails or WhatsApp messages or any form of communication to the parents calling upon them to pay the tuition fees."
The HC also directed the state government to appoint the district education officer and the block development officer, in each district as nodal officers to whom complaints can be addressed by parents who are being coerced to pay tuition fees by private schools. And also to provide publicity in the media informing the public at large and to take action against the erring educational institutions who are coercing parents, to pay the tuition fees of their children.
The Court also directed the secretary, School Education Department to submit a detailed report about whether tuition fees is being collected even from those students who have no access to the online course offered by the schools and whether these schools have collected tuition fees from such students also.
Singh, in his PIL, alleged that most of the affiliated schools by the boards are charging heavy fees from students/their parents in the name of modern online classes, during the lockdown period.
The Court further added directions to the secretary to call for information from all the district education officers regarding the number of private schools, in their respective districts, offer online courses and the number of students who have access to such online courses.
In various other directions, the court directed officials to furnish information regarding online classes being conducted by private schools for Upper Kindergarten students.
This is to consider the wisdom in conducting such online programs for these children to examine whether this is just a ruse to collect tuition fees from them and issue appropriate directions to all such private schools, in this regard.