The Madras High Court sought the government to explain as to how private schools and colleges would be able to pay salaries to their staff if they were prohibited from collecting even the minimum fees.
“On the one hand, it’s the policy decision of the government that all private educational institutions must pay salaries to their staff, both teaching and non-teaching. But if unaided institutions are prohibited from collecting even minimum fees, how will they pay salary, that too when almost all such institutions are conducting online classes,” asked Justice Mahadevan.
Observing that teachers should be paid when they are pressured to conduct online classes, the judge directed the government to respond to the pleas by June 30.
Appearing for the petitioners, senior counsel KM Vijayan submitted that citing COVID-19 outbreak, the State issued a Government Order on April 20 restraining all private schools and colleges in Tamil Nadu from demanding fees from students as fixed by the fee fixation committee, while instructing all schools to pay salaries to all their staff without any default.
Claiming that this peculiar situation existed only in Tami Nadu, Vijayan contended that this has put the institutions in a spot as the only source of income by which they can pay the teachers was through collection of fees from students, which has been prohibited.
He also submitted that the Disaster Management Act, 2005, under which the GO has been issued was solely meant for managing disaster and would not apply in the financial management of individuals or schools/colleges.