The Madras High Court on Monday extended the deadline for payment of the first instalment of 40% of school fees for the current academic year from August 31 to September 30 considering the difficulties faced by parents due to COVID-19.
Justice N. Anand Venkatesh also warned schools of facing contempt of court proceedings if they were found to have collected more than 40% of tuition fees, fixed by the court on July 17, in the inquiry to be conducted by the School Education Department.
The judge directed the department to complete the inquiry within two weeks and file a report by September 23. The direction was issued after hearing School Education Secretary Dheeraj Kumar through video call on the action taken so far.
He told the court that the Director of School Education had issued a circular to all 37 Chief Educational Officers in the State on July 31 to inquire into complaints regarding violation of court order on collection of tuition fees.
Thereafter, about 34 complaints were received and show cause notices were issued to 29 schools since there was prima facie material against them. Some of those complaints had been forwarded by the Regional Director of Central Board of Secondary Education.
In order to streamline the receipt of complaints, exclusive e-mail IDs were created for each of the 37 educational districts last week. After that, as many as 74 complaints were received on Friday and Saturday, Mr. Kumar told the court.
It was while passing common orders on a batch of cases filed by associations of many private schools and colleges against a Government Order restraining them from collecting fees that the judge had on July 17 directed them to collect the fees in instalments.
He ordered that 40% of tuition fees could be collected as first instalment and the rest after the educational institutions were allowed to be reopened by the State government.