RIGHT TO EDUCATION SACROSANCT: KERALA HC PASSED INTERIM ORDER RESTRAINING PRIVATE SCHOOLS FROM LEVYING ADDITIONAL FEES ON STUDENTS FOR HOLDING VIRTUAL CLASSES.

The Kerala HC passed an interim order restraining a school from levying additional fees on students for holding virtual classes.

A single bench of Justice C S Dias also referred the writ petition to a division bench, in view of the “substantial public interest involved”. The bench also made reference to the suicide of 14-year old Devika, which was allegedly due to her inability to join online classes as she did not she did not have a smart phone and a working television set in house. “It is disheartening to learn that a student allegedly took away her life due to lack of access to the internet for attending virtual classes”, the Court observed.

The Court noted that tight to education is sacrosanct in the Constitution of India and is the mandate under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

While making the reference, the Court also noted that several states have ordered that students should not be denied education for want of payment of fees during this pandemic period.

On May 12, the Uttarkhand High Court had passed an order to stop private schools, which were not conducting online classes, from demanding tuition fee during the lockdown period. Challenging this direction, the schools had approached the SC, and the apex court issued notices last week.