There cannot be any fixed formula on the basis of which concessions can be granted to the students for alleged disruption and lack of facilities made available to them by the College where they are studying due to the pandemic and lockdown and same was upheld by High Court of Kerala through the learned bench led by HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE A.K.JAYASANKARAN NAMBIAR in the case of TALWIN JOSEPH vs. STATE OF KERALA (W.P(C).NO.18510 OF 2021) on 8th April, 2022.
Facts of the case are that the petitioners, 35 in number are BAMS Degree students of the Nangelil Ayurveda Medical College, Kothamangalam. They joined the College during the academic year 2018-19. In the writ petition, it is their case that during the academic year 2020-21, there was a disruption in the instructions imparted to them by the College, and hence they ought to be extended a pro rata concession in the fee demanded from them for the said academic year.
Learned counsel for petitioner rely on the decision of the Supreme Court in Indian School, Jodhpur and Others v. State of Rajasthan and Others to point out that under similar circumstances, the Supreme Court had directed a School to extend a 25% reduction in the fees to students.
Public Prosecutor submitted that although there was a disruption in the functioning of the College owing to the outbreak of Covid-19 in March, 2020 the management had taken steps to ensure that instructions were imparted to the students online and further that the staff and faculty were made available for the students by paying them the entire salary and other allowances due to them even during the pandemic period. He further stated that there was no saving effected in the infrastructure costs incurred by the College the benefit of which could be passed on to the students concerned.
In view of the facts and circumstances the Court stated that there cannot be any fixed formula on the basis of which concessions can be granted to the students for alleged disruption and lack of facilities made available to them by the College where they are studying. And the college was a first line Covid treatment facility for a good part of the academic year 2020-21, and consequently, the hospital attached to the College was not available for the benefit of the students pursuing the BAMS course in the said College. The Court held that extending a reduction of 10% of the annual fee charged from the petitioners for the said academic year would not be unreasonable under the circumstances.
Judgment reviewed by – Amit Singh