Asking the parents to approach their respective high courts, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde said, “We find it very odd that we have to hear such matters. This must be tackled by the executive.”
The petitioners, represented by advocate Mayank Kshirsagar, informed the court that at present there was no uniformity with regard to payment of fees with seven high courts of the country taking a different take on the matter.
The petition by a group of ten parents from Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Odisha, and Uttarakhand also demanded facilities to be provided for socially and economically backward students to cope up with the online classes till the lockdown was in force.
They even sought a moratorium on payment of fees either from April to June or till such time the schools reopen. Most petitioners claimed that they faced tremendous financial and emotional hardships and will be forced to withdraw their children if forced to deposit fees.
The parents further exposed the ineffectiveness of conducting online classes as most families do not have either computers or internet. It quoted the National Sample Survey (NSS) data of 2017-18, according to which, only 4.4 percent rural households and 23 percent urban households have access to computers. Interestingly, the internet penetration is restricted to 14.9 percent in the rural sector and 42 percent in the urban sector, the NSS data stated.