The Madras High Court on Wednesday permitted private schools and colleges in the state to collect 35% of the fees as a second instalment by February 28. The High Court granted the permission after observing that it was unlikely that schools will reopen by the end of this year.
The court permitted private schools and colleges after hearing a plea from a few associations on behalf of private schools, who had challenged the Tamil Nadu government order issued in April prohibiting private schools to receive fees amid the pandemic.
The Madras High Court had on July 17 ordered that private schools and colleges can collect 75% of fees for the academic year in two parts — 40% as the first instalment that can be collected by August 30 and 35% as the second instalment two months after schools reopens.
In a submission to the court, private school associations said that they were conducting online classes and they are unable to pay the teachers and the GO should not prevent them from collecting the fees.
The case had come up for hearing before Justice Anand Venkatesh and the government counsel informed the court that a decision on reopening the schools was not taken yet.
The counsel for private schools also said that many private schools have not received the first instalment of fees despite the court’s orders and over six lakh students have joined private schools without even receiving transfer certificates. The schools are allowing students to attend online classes even if they have failed to provide fees, the counsel added.
Noting this, the Bench permitted private schools to collect the remaining 35% fees by February 28. The HC also said that the schools can decide if they want to provide more instalments for parents to pay the fees.
Justice Anand Venkatesh also told the students who are yet to pay the first instalment to make a complete payment of the two instalments. The court put a hold on the suo motu proceedings against CBSE schools accused of collecting full 75% of the fees as the first instalment. The court has sought a response from district educational officers by November 27.