On Thursday, Punjab and Haryana High Court gave the verdict that Private schools in Punjab and Haryana can charge tuition fees only if they provided online classes on daily basis during the lockdown period. The court also directed the school managements to file within two weeks, the balance sheets of the last seven months.
A division bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Harinder Singh Sidhu said in the order, “We direct that the tuition fees will be charged only if online classes provided on day to day basis during the lockdown period.”
Different orders passed by Single benches
However, earlier the in the order passed by High Court in Punjab on June 30 and extended it to Haryana on July 27, stated that all the private schools can collect admission and tuition fees from students regardless of holding online classes daily or not. Also, the schools were allowed to collect genuine expenditure including the actual transport charges.
Then, both Punjab and Haryana government challenged the orders passed by two separate single benches. On Thursday, the Punjab government was represented by Advocate General Atul Nanda whereas the Haryana government was represented by Additional Advocate General Deepak Balyan.
High Court decides for Quid pro quo principle
After hearing the arguments inside the Court, the bench said that it is a case where the quid pro quo principle will be applicable. The quid pro quo principle says that an advantage should be given to a particular person or organization in return for something.
The court in the order stated that all the teachers and staff members will get their regular salaries, whether permanent or non- permanent as usual as they were getting before the lockdown. The order also barred the schools from collecting any transport charges.
Private schools have to submit balance sheets
Considering the matter of balance sheets, the justice bench instructed the school management to get them a verified Chartered Accountant before submitting the same in the court. The case has been listed for final hearing on November 20.
Two separate orders passed by the two states government
The matter reached the High Court as two states government put different orders restricting private schools from the collection of fees.
Punjab government passed an order which restricted the private schools to increase the fees for the ongoing academic session and forced them to apply the same fees structure as it was in the previous year.
Whereas, the Haryana Government issued an order which restricted the private schools from collecting enhanced fees from the students. The government also ordered that only to collect tuition fees from those who are capable of paying fees and do not demand other fees during the lockdown period.