Online school fee payment: HC issues notice to UT, directs to take ‘appropriate call’ – Times of India

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CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high Court has issued notice to Chandigarh administration on petition moved by Independent Schools Association Chandigarh (ISAC) along with seven private schools pleading to quash Chandigarh administration order which directs the private schools to reschedule the last date of deposit of fees and funds for session 2020-21 and schools were required to fix the last date by giving at least one month time to the parent after the reopening of the schools .

The hearing took place via VC and the UT Standing Counsel also argued that as per the act the UT administration is legally entitled to look at funds of each and every school and it is learnt that it is going to send notices to all schools disclosing their funds and balance sheets.Meanwhile HC has ordered that it is expected out of UT to take appropriate call and file reply . The matter is again listed for May 22.

During the hearing of case, Petitioner advocate Ashish Chopra argued that reopening of schools is uncertain and meanwhile the schools have to disburse the salary of staff of staff and due to non payment of fees they are running out of funds.Also it was submitted that school s have done huge investment in technological platforms so that online classes keep on running and students do not suffer.It was argued that UT order is arbitrary and without any basis as schools require funds to disburse salaries to staff and that could be done via fees.

On other hand, UT Standing Counsel Pankaj jain argued that as per the act the UT administration is legally entitled to look at funds of each and every school and it is learnt that it is going to send notices to all schools disclosing their funds and balance sheets.Also it was argued that schools have not disclosed that till date how many parents have deposited the fees in schools. UT is soon going to send notice to schools asking for balance sheets and funds and then could take call.

HC also asked UT that on what basis this order was passed and also asked that if it had any yardstick mention that how many parents could not afford to give fees.Also it was asked that if they any data mention the percentage of prents who could not give fees.HC meanwhile had ordered that it is expected out of UT to take appropriate call and file reply within one week.

Advocate Chopra in petition also submitted that livelihood of the staff ,teaching as well as non teaching is dependent upon the schools ,which in turn is dependent upon the receipt of the fee by the schools.Some schools also have certain financial obligations such as repayment of loan, tax and insurance liabilities, minimum charges of electricity and water bills.

Also it was argued that reopening of the schools does not appear to be linked with the lifting of lockdown .Thus it is not certain as to when would the schools be able to receive the fee from the parent.It was also submitted that there is no gainsaying that the reserve and the surplus cannot be considered as funds available with the institution as the institution incurs capital expenditure .It was argued that The situation has arisen where the schools do not have funds available to defray their expenditure including the disbursement of salaries ,if the fee is not paid by the parents .

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