The HC of Bombay maintained that, in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Maharashtra do not have the power to issue an order excluding private unassisted schools from ride charges for 6 weeks for academic year 2020-21, that it is aware of the problems faced by parents and that the schools should consider enabling them to pay their charges in a reasonably online manner.
The HC defied a govt. resolution (GR) May 8 on 26 June, for 6 weeks, banning walking fees for private schools. The GR instructed the schools to refrain from charging one-time annual fees for academic years 2019–20 and 2020–21. Aggravated by the ruling, state-wide schools challenged the HC.
However, the State government has submitted to the Court that it has the power under the Fees Act and the Disaster Managements Act to take such decisions and that the GR is in compliance with law.
After hearing the statements the Court said, “We are prima facie persuaded that the challenged resolution of the government of May 8 is not qualified.”
It added that the management of private schools can apply for fees in installments in the light of the difficulties faced by parents. He said, “We are also aware of the challenges the parents face in these test periods. Thus, we feel that the management of private, unaided schools that consider providing students / parents with the option to pay the fee for installments that they find fair.
The bench had remained in service until further orders, until the last hearing had taken place and the charges had been disposed of. On 11 August, the matter was placed for further hearing.