Pearl Narang is a final year law student of B.B.A.LL.B (Hons.) at Chandigarh University, Mohali and is currently interning as a Trainee in Business World Legal Community. She is also pursuing a diploma in Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. She is passionate about both law and writing.
An appeal was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the levy of transport fees and maintenance charges by schools while classes were being conducted only online amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maintenance charges were still being levied even though the schools were closed
It was submitted that even though the school buildings were closed in light of the pandemic, a fee for maintenance amounting to Rs. 34,000 was still being levied.
The appeal was filed against a July ruling of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The July order relied on a June 30 Single Bench ruling in Independent School Association Chandigarh (Regd.) and others v. the State of Punjab.
The order passed in July allowed schools to recover fees
The order had laid down directions on how fees were to be charged from students during the pandemic. The order was borrowed from Justice Nirmaljit Kaur's ruling which allowed schools to recover tuition fees regardless of whether online classes were held or not.
It was stated in the appeal that the Judge made his decision on the basis of the Punjab Regulation of Fee of Unaided Educational Institutions Act, 2016 while Haryana School Education Act,1995 was ignored.
The Court took the submission on record and directed that transport fees should not be levied for the pandemic period. Further, the Bench stated that only 50% of maintenance charges were to be demanded.
All the petitions dealing with the issue will be taken up on October 1, 2020
The June 30 order of the Court ruling has been challenged a number of times. All of the petitions including this which directly challenged the June 30 decision are expected to be taken up for hearing on October 1, 2020.
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