The State government on Tuesday informed the Madras High Court that the order it issued was only to restrain school and college managements from compelling parents to pay their wards’ fees and did not stop any parent who is willing to pay it.
Advocate General Vijay Narayan submitted that the fee had not been waived for the lockdown period and the institutions would get their money through fees at some point of time. He added that the State has already sanctioned Rs 248.79 crore to private schools towards reimbursement for 25 per cent seats allotted under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, and this amount could help the institutions tide over the crisis for at least a couple of months.
The order restraining the institutions from compelling the students was issued after taking into account the plight of parents who are affected by the COVID-19 lockdown, during which many have lost their livelihood, the Advocate General said.
Recording the submissions, Justice Mahadevan directed the institutions to make a detailed representation to the State with a workable formula for collection of fees either in instalments or in any other manner giving due consideration to the affected public. Following this, the judge posted the plea for further hearing to July 6 after directing the State to consider the petitioners’ representation and come up with a solution to ease the financial burden of private institutions.
During the earlier hearing, Justice Mahadevan had orally observed as to how the private schools would pay salaries to teachers and other staff if they were prevented from collecting fees.