Students Should Be Given Unconditional Access to Online Classes Till August 15- Calcutta High Court

Students Should Be Given Unconditional Access to Online Classes Till August 15- Calcutta High Court

July 23, 2020, Thursday

Anjana Gopinath

The High Court of Calcutta has issued several interim directions in regard to the access of students to online classes conducted by private unaided schools and the payment of fees amid the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. The Court, in Vineet Ruia v. State of West Bengal & Ors, has directed 112 private unaided schools to grant students unconditional access to the online classes, until the 15th of August.

The Bench comprising of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Moushumi Bhattacharya has also ordered that no student can be barred from appearing for online examinations till the said date. Additionally, the court has directed that 80 per cent of the fees that are due until July 31 would have to be cleared by August 15.

The Petitioner, who represented the parents of more than 15000 students from the 112 schools, informed the Court that the Schools were demanding regular fees even though the Schools have not been functioning for the last four months and that the schools have barred those students who were unable to clear the payment dues. The Petitioner has also prayed for suitable discounts in regard to the fees considering the reduced cost of running of the schools over the recent months.

In addition to the directions laid down by the Court, it also recorded the State's submission that not all schools have paid the salaries of their employees, including the teachers. The Court also observed that all the related schools and the concerned Boards to which they have been affiliated to have not been impleaded as parties. Consequently, the Court has directed the Petitioner to serve copies of the order upon the Schools and the concerned Boards for facilitating their appearance before the Courts.

The next date of hearing for the matter is on the 10th of August.

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