New Delhi Sept 6(ILNS): The Delhi High Court today deferred its hearing till September 30, 2021, in a plea challenging a notification pertaining to the retrospective fee hike, issued by the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University located in the national capital, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The development came after the Division Bench comprised of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh was informed that a similar petition and appeal in respect thereof, have already been decided by the Delhi High Court.
The Bench, while refusing to issue notice, asked the parties to bring on record the orders passed in the earlier petition as well as the appeal.
The petition has been filed by lawyer and social activist Varun Katiyar, alleging that the notification dated September 7, 2020, whereby the University has raised the fees of 21 unaided educational institutions affiliated to it, is disproportionate, arbitrary, and unreasonable.
The plea states that while the entire nation is facing financial hardship on account of the global pandemic, the University raises its fees retrospectively in a disproportionate, arbitrary, and unreasonable manner.
It further states that the fees have been increased despite the fact that there neither have been any on-campus classroom sessions in any of the institutions since last year nor have the students availed any services at these institutions, including library or conference facilities.
The plea points out that the fees have been raised despite a letter issued by the University Grant Commission on May 27, 2020, requesting the educational institutions to be sympathetic with students on payment of fees. A similar circular, to all the centers of legal education in the nation, was issued by the Bar Council of India on July 27, 2020.
The plea further points out that a representation was made by the Association of Indian Students, a voluntary student organization run by the petitioner, before the Vice-Chancellor of the University on November 4, 2020, requesting him to take appropriate action against the notification.
In light of the above, the plea seeks a declaration of the notification to be illegal and thereby, null and void. In addition, the plea seeks to restrain the University from taking coercive actions against students failing to pay the fees in lieu of the notification. Furthermore, the plea prays for directing the University to not charge an academic fees with retrospective effect from students and refund the fee to those students who have already paid the same.
“The educational institutions are social welfare institutions whose motive is to do social welfare and not aim at making profits,” reads the plea.
The plea adds that the retrospective fee hike by the University curtails the access of students to quality education and depicts that the University is working for profit motive rather than for departing quality education./ILNS/BG/KR/SNG