Private schools can exclude students from online classes for fees non-payment: Delhi HC

The Delhi high court has permitted private schools to exclude students who have not paid tuition fees for online classes, in cases where “parents are unable to satisfy/demonstrate their financial difficulties”.

In a plea filed by Queen Mary School Northend, a  single bench of Justice Jayant Nath has held “where the parents are in default for payment of tuition fee for more than two months, the petitioner is free to issue an appropriate notice to such parents to explain the reason for the default.

In case the parents are able to convince/demonstrate to the petitioner about their financial problems/financial incapacity to immediately pay the pending fees, the petitioner shall not take any further steps for the time being against such parents. Where the parents are unable to satisfy/demonstrate to the petitioner regarding their financial difficulties, the petitioner is free to communicate the same to the parents and decline to provide them ID and Password for online education facility for the students.”

The Queen Mary School management has moved the high court against the Delhi state government’s circular dated April 18, 2020 directing private schools to charge only tuition fees till the lockdown is in effect. Moreover clause (viii) of the circular says that in no case the ID and password shall be denied for getting online access of educational facilities/classes/materials to those students who are unable to pay the school fee due to financial crisis arising out of closure of business activities.

The petitioner has submitted to the court that taking “unfair advantage”, about 40 percent of students had defaulted on their tuition fee payments to the school.