Udayavni Special

HC junks PIL claiming overcharging of fees by pvt schools, imposes Rs 20k in cost

PTI, Dec 9, 2020, 3:00 PM IST

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday dismissed a PIL, with cost of Rs 20,000, for action against private schools which have been allegedly overcharging fees and denying online classes to students during the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, saying it is a ”publicity” interest litigation and not in public interest.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan said the petition has been filed without doing any homework on which schools are overcharging fees or are denying access to online classes as these details have not been indicated.

The petition claims that “proper” online classes are not being held, the court said and asked what the petitioner means by “proper”.

“It is such a vague term. Anything can be termed as not being proper,” the bench said, adding that it appeared to be a “bogus matter”.

“Without doing any homework this petition has been filed. No details have been given. It appears that this is a publicity interest litigation. It is not a public interest litigation (PIL) at all,” the bench said and directed that the cost of Rs 20,000 be deposited within four weeks in favour of the Delhi Legal Services Authority.

The court said the amount would be used for access to justice programmes.

The plea was filed by the Anti-Corruption Council of India Trust, through advocate Ashok Kumar Singh, claiming that according to news reports several schools are allegedly collecting fees under various components, other than tuition fees, and are denying access to online classes to those students who are unable to pay the amounts demanded.

It contended that such actions are in violation of the Delhi government”s directions to schools not to charge anything more than tuition fees during the prevailing pandemic when schools are closed.

It had claimed that according to the Delhi Parents Association there are 76 private schools which are in violation of the Delhi government direction.

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