Himachal HC bars Lawrence School from charging additional fee

A division bench of Justices Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Jyotsna Rewal Dua also issued notices to the management of the co-educational boarding school in the Kasauli hills and the state government while fixing July 20 as next date of hearing.




The High Court of Himachal Pradesh has restrained the Lawrence School at Sanawar from charging an additional fee of Rs 1,70,800 from the students for holding virtual classes amid Ciovid-19 pandemic during the ongoing academic session.

A division bench of Justices Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Jyotsna Rewal Dua also issued notices to the management of the co-educational boarding school in the Kasauli hills and the state government while fixing July 20 as next date of hearing.

The order came on a petition filed by Shimla resident Deepak Gupta who alleged that the school was not following an order by the state government issued in May, which directed private schools to only charge tuition fees from the students in view of the pandemic.

The petitioner, father of a student at the school, stated that the annual fee of the school is around Rs 6.36 lakh and the school had already collected around Rs 4 lakh each from the students in February. Most of the students were only able to spend 28 days in school before they were taken home in March. The school later reduced the remaining amount from Rs 2,34,500 to Rs 1,70,800, despite a joint representation from 140 parents requesting it to waive the fee this year

Gupta contented that the school should be charging only around Rs 70,000 from a student, which is the actual tuition fee. He has sought a refund of the fee already paid, except the tuition fee, and has also made the state government a respondent in the case for failing to regulate private boarding schools.

He said that the school fee includes various expenses for not just academics but also boarding, sports, extra-curricular activities and educational benefits of a residential environment. The school cannot claim these expenses when the students are sitting at home, he stated.

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