Chandigarh, July 8: Parents wanting to intervene in the Chandigarh school fee case have been asked by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to explain how they have suffered income loss due to Covid-19 and give complete details of their income, bank accounts, fixed deposits and earnings from rent. They have been asked to file affidavits in this regard.

The Chandigarh Administration has also been asked to furnish details of alternative arrangements for students wanting to leave private schools, following their parents’ inability to pay school fee due to Covid-19, The Tribune reported.

The directions by Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan came on a petition by the Independent Schools’ Association, Chandigarh, and other petitioners against the UT Administration and other respondents.

Representing private unaided schools, the association was seeking the quashing of an order issued in May, vide which collection of only the tuition fee on monthly basis was permitted till further orders.

Taking up the matter, Justice Sangwan directed the Principal Secretary, UT Department of Education, to file an affidavit regarding alternative arrangements, if any, made by the Administration to ensure that it would get such students admitted to government schools in Chandigarh.

“In the meantime, the applicants and their spouses, who want to be impleaded as party, shall also filed their respective affidavit explaining as to how they have suffered loss of income due to the Covid-19 situation and such affidavit will also explain the income as per their income tax returns for the previous years…,” Justice Sangwan added.

Referring to a notification issued by the state of Haryana, Justice Sangwan asserted that the students were granted permission to leave the school and take admission in government schools after considering the fact that some parents were unable to allow their wards to study in private schools following financial hardships.

It was also directed that school leaving certificate would be issued by the private schools within 15 days. There guidelines were later on modified on May 25 and it was directed that tuition fee for April and May be deposited in two equal instalments along with tuition fee for the next three months.

Again, on the request of private schools as well as the parents, further instructions were issued on June 9. It was directed that the private schools would strictly comply with the earlier direction and tuition fee will be chargeable as per academic session 2019-2020.

“The impugned order (by UT), however, does not give any option to the parents to withdraw their wards from private schools on account of their financial hardships and no assurance is given that such students will be given admission in the government schools in Chandigarh to ensure their right to education,” Justice Sangwan asserted.

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