Kerala High Court Interim order in the case of Sreelekshmi v. State of Kerala, WP (C) No. 10867 of 2020, decided on 03-06-2020

As per the guidelines of MHA, the schools, colleges & coaching institutes were closed down because of the COVID pandemic. In order to impart uninterrupted study, the schools were constrained to conduct online classes. Some schools started levying & insisting for payment of additional fees for the conduct of such online classes.

The parents agitated against this illegal levy  moved to the High Court for redressal against the arbitrary & illegal demand on this account. The Kerala High Court on 3 June,2020 restrained  such schools from levying additional fees for the conduct of virtual classes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The  Court held that the right to education was sacrosanct in the Constitution. The Court held thus:

“Right to education is sacrosanct in the Constitution of India and is the mandate under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009”.

The Court expressed anguish to the fact that a student in Kerala took her life due to lack of access to the internet for attending virtual classes. Thus the Court ordered that students should not be denied education for want of payment of fees during the pandemic period.

Since, the threat of Covid-19 is not yet over and it may take a couple of months before the schools physically open. It is therefore incumbent upon the schools to facilitate the online classes throughout the country. I feel it is the bounden duty of all state governments to issue directions to all schools for the same. However, where there are financial difficulties for the schools, the state should provide the schools  requisite funds for acquiring IT infrastructure required for the same.

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March 2021