The Students of the Nirma University, Ahmedabad have written to the Gujarat High Court seeking a stay on the University’s notification demanding full fees from all students.
The students have urged the Court to direct the University to waive off a part of the fees being charged and refund the fee of those students who have already paid.
The University, through its notification dated July 1, 2020 had informed the students that online sessions for the current academic year will be started from 6th July 2020 and the students should therefore submit their full fees by August 5, 2020.
According to the petitioner students, demanding full fees as previously demanded, which includes numerous charges not being utilized in the online teaching is manifestly arbitrary, illegal and thus unconstitutional being hit by Article 14 of the Constitution.
The petitioners have stated that a fair balance would provide that if there is any reduction of cost, there should also be a proportionate reduction in the fees. If the benefit of reduction is not shifted to the students, it would lead to colleges earning beyond the standard set by the law and thus, would be considered illegal.
The letter petition has stated that the impugned notification was issued without duly considering the disproportionate impact that the lockdown has had on the livelihood of their families.
The petition has cited Supreme Court’s judgement in Modern Dental College v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2016 7 SCC 353, where it was held that a University cannot charge a fee beyond the purpose of fulfilling the object of education.
The petitioners have added that a prevalent situation indubitably warrants from the university to arrange and provide for special considerations in these unprecedented times. Appropriate relaxations are a bare minimum threshold that the University should have ideally met without any external calling.
According to the petitioners, the claim of the University that online teaching will incur more cost is illogical, irrational and manifestly arbitrary.
-India Legal Bureau
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