In the case of Mohammed Mustaq Ansari vs State of Odisha & Ors, (WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) No. 11299 OF 2020, WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) No. 11514 OF 2020, WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) No. 32259 OF 2020), in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak from March on, a group of PILs asking for a remission of school fees charged by private unaided schools in the State were dismissed by a division bench led by Chief Justice Dr. S. Muralidhar and Dr. Justice B.R. Sarangi.
Brief Facts Of The Case: After 14 private unaided schools presented an MoU for the remission of fees at a flat rate in the various categories outlined therein, the case was adjudicated.
Terms of the Memorandum of Understanding:
- In accordance with the MoU, institutions whose fees exceed Rs. 1 lakh annually would waive up to 26% of their tuition and composite costs. Similar to this, several slab rates depending on the charge amount exist. No school that charges fees up to Rs. 6,000/- is required to provide a waiver.
- The institutions have opted to waive “Other Optional Fees” till the start of classes again. However, the costs for transportation and food will continue to be as-is.
- A flat 30 percent of the hostel expenses are waived.
Judgement: In view of the MOU reached between 14 educational institutions in Odisha on the issue of fee waiver during the period of the pandemic, the Bench was not persuaded to further give instructions in the case. However, it was made clear that if any party to the MoU has a problem with any of its conditions, the issue may be raised in separate procedures and determined on a case-by-case basis.
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY PRAKIRTI JENA