Bombay HC stays Maharashtra order for academic institutions on no fee hike

The Bombay High Court on Friday granted an interim stay on a Maharashtra government resolution that directed all the educational institutions in the state to not hike their fees for the academic year 2020-21 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

On May 8, 2020, the state government had issued the resolution saying that no educational institution in the state shall hike their fees for the academic year 2020-21.

The resolution also directed all the institutions to not collect any balance fees of the year 2019-20 or fees for the year 2020-21 at one go, but give parents an option to deposit it monthly or quarterly.

Aggrieved by the order, several educational trusts running schools across the state approached the high court seeking for the same to be quashed and set aside.

In an interim order, a division bench of Justices Ujjal Bhuyan and Riyaz Chagla on Friday stayed operation of the government resolution pending final hearing and disposal of the petitions.

The petitioners include the Association of Indian Schools, Global Education Foundation, Kasegaon Education Trust and Dnyanseshwar Mauli Sanstha.

The Kasegaon Education Trust, which runs a school in Navi Mumbai, argued through their lawyers Milind Sathe, Saket Mone and Prateek Seksaria, that the resolution was violative of their fundamental rights and curbed their rights to administer their educational institutions which includes right to regulate and fix fees.

“The petitioner is further aggrieved by the impugned notice in as much that the same threatens action under the Epidemic Diseases Act. The decision of the government is an illegal exercise of statutory power,” the petition filed by the Kasegaon Education Trust said.

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