A public interest litigation (PIL) was moved in the Delhi High Court seeking direction to the Central government and others to issue detailed guidelines directing universities and university-like institutions to charge only tuition fees which are to be charged in instalments either on a monthly basis or quarterly basis.
The plea, moved by law student Ramey Krishan Rana through advocate Kush Sharma, sought directions to universities and institutions to grant concessions to parents on a case-to-case basis in the form of extension of the time to deposit fees or payment on an instalment basis.
A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, after hearing the submission on Wednesday, directed the concern respondents to treat the petition as representation according to the rules, law and government policies.
The bench, while disposing of the petition, showed disagreement with some of the prayers and said, "concession is not a right at all. The petition is related to the students else I would have dismissed it."
The petition sought directions to universities or institutions to refrain from increasing their fee and ensure access of online education/material/ classes to all students, without any discrimination, even to students who are unable to pay the school fee due to financial crisis arising out of the ongoing conditions.
The plea also sought directions to the respondents to formulate guidelines to ensure universities/ institution to provide students with gadgets, 4G data-packs to be able to access online classes being conducted or, in the alternative provide students with printed study material, pen drives of lectures or infrastructure within premises for attending online classes.
The plea said that due to the pandemic, the entire country went into lockdown since the end of March and added that even though several relaxations have been granted to various sectors in a staggered manner, the economy of the country has suffered a huge upheaval and set-back.
"In addition to the shrinkage of GDP as per the latest reports, people employed across sectors have suffered a loss of jobs as well as reduction of salaries. Consequently, household income across of all income groups has reduced considerably and people are facing a severe cash crunch and financial burden," the plea said.
"Owing to these circumstances, the parents of students pursuing Under Graduate and Post Graduate courses are finding it exceedingly difficult to pay the fees of their wards.
This situation is more alarming in the case of parents of those students who are pursuing their education in educational institutions which are set up under private universities and deemed universities which charge a fee at a huge premium," it added.