In its decision of October 1, 2021, the Supreme Court made it clear that school administrations are empowered to take legal action to collect fees from students who have not paid them on time.
Earlier this year, in May, the court ordered the school administration not to prohibit any student from attending classes for failure to pay fees.
In another request from the Progressive Schools of Association, however, it was asked for clarification that the Supreme Court ruling of May 3, 2021, does not prohibit schools from taking coercive measures against students who have not paid the fees in the declared ruling.
The Supreme Court recently made it clear that the school administration is free to take appropriate action to reclaim outstanding fees from parents who have not paid their students’ school fees on time (Progressive Schools Association v. The State of Rajasthan).
The order was approved by a Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar on October 1 in the motions filed by the schools indicating that the final deadline for paying the fees set out in the May 2021 Supreme Court’s ruling had passed a long time ago and yet there have been some parents/wards who are still behind and have defaulted.
“It is open to the School Management to initiate appropriate action for recovery of the outstanding dues/amount, if any, under law. At the same time, if the concerned parent/ward seeks some indulgence for just reasons, it will be open to the School Management to consider such a request compassionately. Besides this, nothing more is required to be said,” the court’s order stated.
On May 3, the Supreme Court ruled that states could not invoke the autonomy of private schools on the COVID-19 pandemic without help in setting and collecting “fair” and “permissible” school fees from parents.
The May ruling was on a series of appeals filed by private schools in Rajasthan without assistance against government notices deferring/lowering school fees following the March 2020 COVID-19, induced shutdown from attending online classes or physical classes for failing to pay Fees, arrear /outstanding fees, including fees referred to in the ruling. He also said schools should not keep student test results in this account.
The higher court has now made it clear that a lawsuit can be brought against parents who have not paid school fees after the due date has expired.
The Court of Justice also reiterated in its order of October 1st that the recovery procedure must be strictly following the law and judgment of May 3.
Senior Advocate Vikas Singh appeared for the petitioner schools along with advocate Azeem Samuel, Daisy Hanna, and Vivek Paul Oriel.
Senior attorney Manish Singhvi represented the defendant, State of Rajasthan.