Bombay HC stay on fee hike GR: No SC relief for Maharashtra | Mumbai News

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MUMBAI: The Supreme Court on Friday did not interfere with an interim order of the Bombay HC that had stayed a May 8 government resolution (GR) against fee hike by schools for the academic year 2020-21.
The GR, citing powers during the pandemic, barred schools from hiking fees for the year 2020-21 and sought continuation of last year’s fees. It also barred schools from collecting yearly fees at one go, instead asking for it in instalments.
The SC, however, gave it liberty to raise the same arguments and apply to vacate the stay before the HC itself.
“Without expressing any opinion either way on the merits of the controversy, we permit the state of Maharashtra to approach the High Court” to recall or modify its order, said the bench of Justices Ajay Khanvilkar and Sanjiv Khanna. The Supreme Court directed the state government to submit, within a week, before the high court its reply to the petition filed by the Association of Indian Schools and others against the GR. The HC has to then expeditiously decide the matter.
In its June 26 order, the HC had stayed implementation of the GR and all subsequent communications seeking compliance. It had also adjourned petitions against the validity of the GR.
While schools claimed that the government is not empowered to regulate fees, the HC had observed the GR was “without jurisdiction”. The HC, however, was also “mindful of the difficulties faced by the parents in these testing times” and directed private unaided schools to consider allowing online payment in instalments.
The issue is also of concern to several parents, with 30-odd parents, citing job losses and pay cuts, filing an intervention application before the high court to support the GR and get the stay vacated. But the HC, on August 20, said no intervention by parents was necessary.



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