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Delhi High Court Quashes Government's Orders On Annual Fee Collection By Private Schools

The Delhi government does not have the authority to postpone the collection of yearly charges and development fees by private unaided schools indefinitely since it would unduly restrict their operations, according to the Delhi High Court. The Delhi government's Directorate of Education (DoE) issued office orders in April and August 2020 prohibiting and postponing the collection of annual charges and development fees, saying they were "illegal" and "ultra vires the respondent's (DoE) powers stipulated under the Delhi School Education (DSE) Act and the Rules."

However, Justice Jayant Nath pointed out that schools are saving money since they are physically closed, and that the Supreme Court's order in Indian School, Jodhpur vs. State of Rajasthan, which states that schools must collect annual tuition with a 15% discount, applies in this case.

The deduction would be in lieu of unutilized amenities by students during the relevant time of the academic year 2020-21, according to the apex court. Except for one, the high court stated that the top court's other orders would apply in this case. The only directive that the high court changed was the deadline for students to pay their tuition, which had been imposed by the highest court in the Indian School case, which said that the payments must be paid in six equal monthly instalments by August 5.

The top court ruled that the students' debts must be paid in six monthly instalments beginning June 10.

The highest court also stated that schools are free to provide more concessions to their students or to develop a new pattern for providing concessions, and that management cannot prohibit a student from attending online or physical classes or withhold a test. In addition, the apex court stated that if any student or parent finds it impossible to pay annual fees for the 2020-21 school year according to these criteria and requests a concession, the request will be evaluated compassionately on a case-by-case basis.

The Supreme Court further stated that this agreement "will have no impact on the collection of fees for the academic year 2021-22, which are payable by students." The high court adopted the supreme court's directives in its 45-page decision on a petition filed by Action Committee Unaided Recognized Private Schools, which represents 450 private unaided schools and was represented by counsel Kamal Gupta.


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