The Orissa High Court on Friday has issued notice to State Government on a petition seeking directions to Private Schools to waive off tuition fees during COVID-19 Lockdown.
A two-judges bench of Justice BR Sarangi and Justice SK Panigrahi was hearing the PIL filed by Advocate Mohammed Mushtaq Ansari a Human Rights activist, seeking direction to the state government to pass an order directing private school not to collect Tuition Fees from March 2020 to June 2020 or until the commencement of classes.
It was submitted by the petitioner that ‘parens patriae’ is applicable as the State is the guardian of its citizens suffering from the mass disaster, shall take necessary steps to protect the rights and interests of its citizens.
“…since the declaration of the lockdown the people of the state are decreed to stay at home and are facing financial crunch as there earning sources are completely blocked. Not only this there are thousands of families, maybe lakhs who are surviving at the mercy of the state authorities and other non-governmental agencies”, said PIL.
The State Government had earlier advised all private educational institutions to consider reduction/deferment of school fees in view of the lockdown.
The Court directed the petitioner to serve a copy of the petition to Additional Government Advocate and Standing counsel appearing for School and Mass Education Department within three days, enabling them to obtain instructions or file counter affidavit.
The matter would now be heard on May 1.
-India Legal Bureau