Law students move HC over fee demand for unutilised services

Challenging the fee structure that includes payment for internet, library, AIR cafe, infrastructure, class amenities, sports, moot court, admission application, NSS and Youth Red Cross- all of which have not been functional due to the pandemic, over 90 students of the School of Excellence in Law affiliated to the TNDALU have moved the Madras High Court seeking to quash 2 circulars issued.
Madras High Court
Madras High Court


Apart from the tuition fee, Rs 33,545 was levied from second and third year students, and Rs 31,545 and Rs 24,545 respectively from fourth and fifth year students, pointed out the petitioners, submitting that the levying fees for internet, library, AIR café, infrastructure, class amenities, sports, moot court, admission application, NSS and Youth Red Cross was arbitrary, unreasonable and illegal, given that the SoEL campus has remained closed from March 25 in compliance with orders passed by the State government due to COVID- 19 pandemic.
 Noting that the institution has only been conducting online classes since then, the students contended that the valuation for fee payment was arrived at without taking into account when physical classes would resume and subject to further orders from the government.
 “The valuation should have holistically taken into consideration the number of working days lost during the previous semester owing to the lockdown and the number of days lost during this academic year, exclusive of the days spent on online classes,” the plea added, arguing that the utility fee chargeable per year must be in line with the actual number of working days, excluding the days spent on online classes.
 A circular dated August 29 had made the demand for fees payable for the 2020-21 academic session, while another circular issued on September 14 extended the deadline for paying the fees to September 30 after rejecting a representation made by the students seeking reduction.

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