Punjab Government Challenges High Court Order Allowing Private School To Collect Fees Amid COVID-19
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had earlier expressed concern over the private schools charging fees from students even when no online or offline classes were held amid the COVID lockdown,
The Punjab government on Friday challenged the state high court’s verdict allowing private schools to collect all type of fees from students irrespective of the online or offline classed held by them. The Amarinder Singh government moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking a stay on the June 30 order of a single-judge bench of the court “in the interest of justice and fair play”.
Chief Minister Singh had earlier expressed concern over the private schools charging fees from students even when no online or offline classes were held amid the COVID lockdown, an official release said here. The matter had come up for discussion at Wednesday's Cabinet meeting and Advocate General Atul Nanda had been asked to move the high court to challenge the single-judge bench order.
The state government plea pointed out that the private schools, despite pleading financial hardship and incapacity to meet their expenditures, had not placed on record any evidence or material to prove the same. It was also contended in the government’s petition that the single judge, in his ruling, had completely ignored the fact that the state government had been constrained to issue orders directing private schools to charge only “tuition fee” (in respect of the online education provided by them), to mitigate the emergent hardship faced by parents due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The impugned order and judgement, according to the government’s plea, provides no mechanism to check and verify the “actual expenditure” while allowing the schools to charge it. Thus, there are practical difficulties in the enforceability and implementation of the impugned order and judgment, it said.
“In a similar matter involving a challenge to an identical order issued by the Government of Haryana, a coordinate bench has merely adjourned the case to September without granting any interim relief or otherwise to the private schools of Haryana as of now,” the state government said in its petition.