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No student in Punjab schools to be removed over fees: HC

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No student will be struck off the rolls of private schools in Punjab on account of non-payment of fees until the final decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which on Monday issued notice on the appeals filed by the state.

The move comes as a major relief for parents of students of private unaided schools who had expressed financial difficulty in paying fee for the lockdown period, and whose wards were consequently facing threat of being removed from the schools.

The interim relief came during hearing on the appeals filed by the Advocate General’s office on the directives of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

This relief will be applicable to all those students and parents who are unable to pay school fees and who had filed an application before the school and the state regulator, under the Punjab Regulation of Fee of Un-aided Educational Institutions Act, 2016, showing financial difficulty.

The high court asked the school authorities to decide on applications of such parents expeditiously.
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The state had filed an appeal before the division bench against the order of a single judge allowing the schools to charge fees irrespective of whether they were offering online education or not, and to charge actual expenses incurred, for the lockdown period.

The single judge had allowed parents facing financial difficulty to apply for exemption or waiver of fee.

After extensively hearing parties for more than two hours on the question of interim relief, the bench, of Chief Justice Ravi Shankar Jha and Justice Arun Palli, noted orally that ordinarily the court would only have issued notice on the appeals, but the interim order was currently being passed given the apprehension and anxiety expressed by the Advocate General on the effect of the judgment passed by the single judge.

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