Annual and development fees cannot be charged till schools reopen: HC

The Delhi High Court has held that annual and development charges cannot be taken from the parents of students “during the pendency of the present lockdown”, when schools are yet to reopen.

The prima facie opinion was expressed by Justice Jayant Nath in his order of August 25 while hearing a plea moved by the parents’ association of a private school, which started taking the annual and development charges along with the tuition fees from July.

The court restrained the school from taking the annual and development charges from the parents for the month of July till further orders.

It also issued a notice to the Delhi government and the school, seeking their stand on the plea of the parents’ association, which was represented by advocate Gaurav Bahl.

The court has listed the matter for further hearing on September 16.

According to the order, during the hearing via video-conference, the school contended that the lockdown is over and hence, it can levy the annual and development charges.

However, the Delhi government, represented by its Additional Standing Counsel Gautam Narayan, told the court that the Directorate of Education’s April 18 circular, asking the schools not to charge the annual and development fees during the lockdown period, continues to apply as none of the schools has physically opened.

The Delhi government said therefore, the school in question cannot charge the annual and development fees till the completion of the lockdown period.

After hearing both sides, the judge said, “In my opinion, prima facie, it appears that the annual and development charges cannot be charged from the parents during the pendency of the present lockdown.”

The court said the parents have to pay the tuition fees.

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