The Madras High Court on Friday allowed unaided private educational institutions in Tamil Nadu to collect in two instalments 75 percent of the tuition fees paid in the previous academic year, for 2020-21.
While 40 percent of the tution fee can be collected as advance on or before August 31, the balance can be paid within two months, starting from the date of reopening of the institutions, it said.
The matter relates to a petition from All India Private Educational Institutions Association challenging an April 20 government order restraining all private schools and colleges across the state from demanding fee as fixed by the fee fixation committee by citing the COVID-19 outbreak.
Passing the interim order on a batch of petitions by the private educational institutions, Justice Anand Venkatesh directed them not to compel parents and students to pay the tuition fees due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic situation.
In his order, the judge said, “This Court does not find any visibility of the institutions reopening and conducting physical classes in the near future.
Therefore, this Court finds force in the submissions made by the counsel representing the petitioners that the initial percentage of the payment of tuition fee must be increased.” “Taking into consideration, the present situation and in order to find an interim solution to clear the logjam and in order to balance the interest of all the stakeholders, unaided private institutions shall collect 40 percent of the tuition fees as advance fees based on the tuition fees collected during the academic year 2019-2020.
This advance fee shall be paid by the students on or before August 31,” he said.
In its counter affidavit filed on July 9, the state government had informed the court that it has decided to permit the institutions to collect fees in three instalments during the lockdown period.
When the matter came up on Friday, the judge allowed the institutions to collect 40 percent as initial fees and the balance 35 percent within two months from the date on which the schools and colleges reopen and physical classes commence.
The institutions were permitted to collect the arrears of fees payable for the academic year 2019-2020, which shall be paid on or before September 30.
The court ordered the Fee Fixation Committee, constituted by the government, to start the process of the determining the tuition fees for the respective institutions and make an attempt to complete it in eight months starting from August.
It gave a direction to the teaching and non teaching staff not to insist for any increment in salary and DA, until the restoration of normalcy and further orders.
The state government was asked to consider the request made by the institutions to supply text books and note books to the students either free of cost or at some nominal rates and this may be confined to the students who are in dire straits.