The Calcutta High Court asked schools to reduce tuition fees by 20 per cent in all "non-government aided schools" in the state. The court has also appointed a three-member committee to look into all fee-related grievances.
The judgement pronounced by a bench of justices Sanjib Banerjee and Moushumi Bhattacharya said there will be no increase in fees for the financial year 2020-21 as well. The PIL was filed by a guardians' forum of 145 educational institutions. The court asked institutions to not charge fees under the non-academic head.
"There will be no increase in fees during the financial year 2020-21. From the month beginning April 2020 till the month following the one in which the schools reopen in the physical mode, all 145 schools will offer a minimum of 20 per cent reduction of fees across the board," stated the judgement. "Non-essential charges for use of facilities not availed of will not be permissible. For instance, additional charges for laboratory, craft, sporting facilities or extracurricular activities or the like will not be permissible during the months that the schools have not functioned in the physical mode. Session fees traditionally charged periodically will be permissible, but again, subject to a maximum of 80 per cent of the quantum charged for the corresponding period in the financial year 2019-20," it said.
The court also said that there will be a "minimum figure of 20 per cent reduction" in monthly tuition fees on the basis of fees charged for the corresponding month in the previous financial year. "If any school makes a loss as a consequence of following these directions, such loss can be made up in course of the next two financial years if normal physical functioning resumes by March 31, 2021," it added.
Justice Bhattacharya observed that "there are many parents who are diverting a substantial part of their disposable resources, at great personal sacrifice, to get their children admitted to high-end schools with superior educational infrastructure and amenities".