KOLKATA: A large number of city schools have decided to follow in the footsteps of the 12 Church of North India (CNI) institutes and file appeals in the Supreme Court against the Calcutta High Court order on offering 20% concession on fees for the pandemic months. Though the SC was closed next week, it was allowing online filing of cases, , lawyers said, adding appeals would be filed using this window.
Some schools, like South Point and MP Birla Foundation, have held back their bi-monthly fees due on October 15, so that the appeal can be filed first. “We have asked our lawyers to file the appeal at the earliest. We feel the order is not balanced,” said spokesperson Krishna Damani. The schools are being represented by lawyer Saurav Bhagat, partner at Fox and Mandal. Bhagat, who is also preparing the papers for schools like Apeejay, said, “In absence of a law in Bengal regulating fees of private, unaided schools, the HC is not justified in passing directions regarding such schools.”
Many schools have decided to go into appeals in groups. Heritage, BDMI and Indus Valley World School will be together and have asked lawyer Partha Banerjee to prepare their papers. “We should be ready by Sunday evening and file by Tuesday,” Banerjee said.
Some CNI schools claimed no parent had asked for a waiver. Similar was the claim in other religious minority institutes. “Why should we give a waiver when no one has approached us? If parents are facing issues, they would have come to us by now,” said secretary of a prominent CNI school. The 12 schools have prepared their papers and will be among the first to file their appeal on Monday, said lawyer B P Tiwary.
Some owner-run English-medium schools will get together under the association they are members of. Talks on fees are rife in Kolkata Sahodaya, a platform for private CBSE schools.
Parents have also started approaching schools to gain clarity on fees for the previous two quarters as many have not yet paid up and the HC order asks them to pay the “new” fees after the 20% concession. Schools are yet to announce their new fee structures on their websites, as was asked by the HC. “I have mailed to the school, asking for clarity but the school’s reply doesn’t match the court order. I am confused,” said a parent.