New Delhi, Oct 28 : The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice on a plea filed by an association of schools challenging the Calcutta High Court order directing them to reduce school fees by a minimum of 20 per cent.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the schools, contended before the top court that the High Court acted as a super regulator and failed to see the fact that schools also have to incur expenses during the lockdown. He said that the order has been made binding on parties who were not even heard.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the South Point Education Society, submitted that the High Court could not have passed a general order in the absence of the facts.
On October 13, the High Court had passed a slew of directions to private schools in West Bengal: no increase in fees during financial year 2020-21; a minimum of 20 per cent reduction in fees from April 2020 till the month following the reopening of regular schools; non-essential charges for facilities not availed of would not be permissible etc.
Senior advocate Jaideep Gupta also submitted that the decision of the High Court was not correct and no basis for the reduction of 20 percent of fees was elaborated in the order.
After a detailed hearing in the matter, a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising Justices R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah, said: “Issue notice. In the meantime, directions 8 to 16 contained in para 61 of the impugned judgment be not implemented.”
During the hearing, Justice Shah queried how could schools charge laboratory or extra-curricular activities while they were shut amid the pandemic.
The High Court had also directed for the formation of a committee to adjudicate grievances.
Singhvi contended that the direction to form this committee, which will include the advocate for the petitioner, was “not acceptable at all.”
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