The parents of 150 students from two Dadar schools who have been barred from online classes must first pay the pending fees, the Bombay high court said on Tuesday. “Start paying something, otherwise it won’t be possible (to allow them online classes),” said a bench of Justices Ramesh Dhanuka and Riyaz Chagla that heard a petition by 28 parents of students, from kindergarten to class IX, of Indian Education Society’s IES Ash Lane Primary School and IES English School.
The petitioners have urged to immediately allow online classes, set aside fees fixed for 2020-21 and 2021-22 and also to reduce it by 50%. Their advocate, Arvind Tiwari, argued for concessions and instalment of tuition fees as some parents suffered casualties of a family member owing to the pandemic. The schools’ advocate, Arvind Kothari, said the parents haven’t paid for the entire last academic year and even this year. He said time was given till September to pay, but they “have not responded”.
“According to you [parents], is nothing payable?” Justice Dhanuka asked, to which Tiwari replied: “There is a need for compassion, we need some time to pay.” He said parents were ready to pay the tuition fee, but not the term fee.
Kothari pointed out that a few parents employed at high posts have also not paid. When he said the schools are incurring additional expenses for online classes and sanitation, Tiwari countered that parents too were facing expenses. “The schools are not entitled to a term fee,” he insisted. Justice Chagla then said: “The matter is between you [parents] and the schools to sort out.”
Kothari said if the parents indicate what payment they would make, he could revert on it. The judges directed that if the payment proposal is made within two days, the schools will convey their counter-proposal. Tiwari urged that in the meantime students be allowed to attend online classes. The judges then said parents must first start paying pending fees and then move the HC for online access.