However, the High Court rejected this invocation of Rule 165, ruling that the it specified only the payability conditions of fees, and not the chargeability of it.
The Delhi High Court has rightly dismissed a petition seeking exemption from payment of school fees, including tuition fees, for the duration of the lockdown. The petition argued that the crisis had led to job losses and pay cuts, and parents should not be forced to pay fees to schools as the premises are shut and only online classes are being conducted. It invoked Rule 165 of the Delhi School Education Rules, 1973, which states that if a school is shut on the 10th day of a month—the period by when fees need to be paid—the payment can be deferred till the 10th day after it reopens. Though it is unclear how this rules applies, the petitioner argued that since schools remain shut, even tuition fees shouldn’t be charged. However, the High Court rejected this invocation of Rule 165, ruling that the it specified only the payability conditions of fees, and not the chargeability of it.
It is much more difficult for teachers to take classes online, as the High Court rightly noted, and their efforts cannot be ignored. Even with online classes, schools are incurring considerable expenditure in arranging for, and maintaining the required digital infrastructure. Schools hiring platforms to deliver e-lessons also need to pay the fees these charge. To suggest that schools should not charge the tuition fees because they are shut is without foundation, because their fundamental deliverables have not been suspended. The current economic milieu has put pressures on all sectors. The fact that schools have not stopped teaching is something that should be appreciated and supported by guardians and the society at large.