PIL in Delhi High Court seeks school fees waiver for lockdown duration.

A fresh Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court has sought a waiver of fees levied by all private and unaided schools during the lockdown, citing job losses and loss of income.

The PIL has been filed by lawyer-activist Amit Sahni. The petitioners have cited urgency and have sought a prompt listing of the case before the Delhi HC.

The request before the High Court is that a direction is passed to the Delhi Government to ensure that all private and unaided schools waive off the fees, till the schools reopen post the lockdown. Secondly, the plea seeks that schools should not be allowed to take any coercive action or employ any pressure tactics against the parents to ensure payment. The plea also seeks for the Delhi HC to provide funds to such schools to ensure salary dues of teachers and other staff members are met.

In the petition, Amit Sahni has argued that emergency caused owing to COVID-19 pandemic has also had financial distress to large pockets of the population.

The petition claims that the worst affected are workers from the unorganized and informal sector. It goes on to submit that the lockdown, which was initially envisaged for 21 days and then later extended to May 3, has caused a complete loss of income for many households. Many earning members of such households, the plea argues, are no longer gainfully employed causing strain on the households’ finances.

Moreover, the plea argues that such families often have little or no savings or surplus to fall back on, during extended periods of loss of income.

Though not as dire, the situation of many workers in the organized sector is also quite bleak, argues the PIL. The plea notes that the Central Govt and top leaders had urged companies to not engage in salary cuts or sacking of employees during the lockdown.

The PIL submits, that despite Govt advisories, many companies have either terminated employment or introduced revisions in salary. These conditions have caused tremendous strain on finances. In such circumstances, the plea argues that it becomes virtually impossible to bear the expenses of school fees.

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