top of page

Writ Petition challenging the levy of fees after the suspension of physical classes amidst COVID-19.

This article discusses the details of a Writ Petition filed before the Madras High court of public importance, challenging the levy of fees for facilities not used after the suspension of physical classes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to add that some of the petitioners are subscribers and well-wishers of Indic Legal, and accordingly, we are sharing this article for reference to the legal fraternity and subscribers of Indic Legal.


This writ was filed by Advocates K.M.Mrithunjayan, A.M.Manav, A.Venkatesh, N.Zahid Ahmed, P.E. Senthil Kumar, and Anbarasi. R.


The students of School of Excellence in Law (SOEL), TNDALU, had moved the Madras High Court, challenging the fee circular dated 29.08.2020 issued by the college, calling for payment of the annual semester fee for the Academic year 2020-2021. This was inclusive of Tuition fee, Library fee, Internet fee, Infrastructure fee, Class amenities fee, Sports fee, Moot court fee, Admission application fee, NSS fee, and Youth Red Cross fee.


As the academic year had been restricted to online classrooms due to the outbreak of this pandemic COVID -19, it was the students' contention to calculate the fee-only based on the facilities which were offered.


In consonance with the above, the Writ petition sought the directions of this court to justify the valuation so arrived for collecting the utility fee per annum when the facility itself is not put to use and that the fee chargeable should be in line with the actual number of working days after commencement of physical classes excluding the working days conducted online.


Also, the Writ petition raised the ground that the use of these facilities is subject to powers conferred under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.




On the final hearing of the Writ Petition, the Counsel appearing of the Petitioner contended that the facilities offered in the college are subject to the executive powers of the government conferred under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. As the government has unfettered powers under the statute to cancel/abrogate any events during the pandemic, the fee must be valued in consonance with the SOPs issued by the government at the given time. Any event which is likely to stand canceled must be taken into account, and the fee must be waived for the same. E.g., Sports fee, Cultural fee.


Mr.V.Vasantha Kumar, learned Counsel for the Respondents 4 and 5, made the following submissions in response to the petitioner's queries.


“The Finance Committee of School of Excellence in Law in its 82nd meeting by circulation dated 02.11.2020 resolved to recommend to the Syndicate to grant concession of 30% (Thirty Percentage) in the fee (other than Admission fee, Tuition fee, & AIR Cafe fee) payable during the academic year 2020-2021 in the following heads of fees viz., Library fee, Internet fee, Infrastructural facilities fee, Class Amenities fee, Sports fee, Moot Court fee for students of the first year to the final year of all 5 year / 3 year LLB(Hons.) and LLM students, who seek for concession and the Syndicate approved the said recommendation in its 172nd (special) meeting held by the Syndicate by circulation on 12.11.2020”.


Recording the said submissions made by the learned Counsel for the respondents that 30 % concession has been granted, the Hon’ble Court had disposed of the writ petition. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petitions are closed. No costs.


As briefed by-

Advocates K.M.Mrithunjayan, A.M.Manav, A.Venkatesh, N.ZahidAhmed, P.E. Senthil Kumar, and Anbarasi. R.


To read previous article on...



~Team Indic Legal

Comments


Articles

bottom of page