The Delhi High Court has observed that a child cannot be barred from taking examinations in the middle of an academic session over non-payment of fees.

“…a child cannot be made to suffer and not be allowed to attend classes or barred from taking examinations in the middle of an academic session on the ground of non-payment of fees.”, the bench of Justice Mini Pushkarna observed.

The Court also noted that not allowing a student to take examinations, especially the Board Examinations, would be infringement of the rights of a child akin to Right to Life as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The Court made this observation while dealing with a plea raising the grievance that name of the petitioner’s child who is a class 10th student was struck off from the school due to non-payment of fees.

It is the case of the petitioner that due to the financial losses faced by his father, he was unable to clear the fees regularly after the pandemic lockdown.

Advocates Malka Asad, Sonal Singh appeared for the petitioner whereas Advocates Pramod Gupta, Sanya, Utkarsha appeared for the School.

The Court observed thus “A child’s future cannot be allowed to be spoiled and blemished by barring him/ her from taking examinations, especially at such a crucial juncture. In the context of Indian Society, Class 10th and Class 12th Board Examinations are vitally important and critical, having decisive repercussions and bearing on the future of a student.”

However, the Court also noted that a school that is run as a private unaided school cannot be forced to continue with a child who is unable to pay fees, having taken admission in the general quota and not under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) or Disadvantaged Group (DG) quota.

“…the rights of a child to education has to be balanced with the rights of the school under the DSER, 1973. If the petitioner is unable to pay the fees of the school, the petitioner certainly does not have a right to continue education in the school in question.”, the Court observed.

However, the Court held that the petitioner cannot be tormented in the middle of the academic session.

Thus the Court directed the petitioner’s child to be permitted to take the Class 10th Board Examinations.

“…it is directed that the petitioner child shall be allowed by the respondent No.1 school to take up the Practical Board Examinations of Class 10th commencing from tomorrow i.e. 18.01.2023. Further, the school shall also issue the Class 10th CBSE Roll Number to the petitioner to enable the petitioner to take up the Class 10th Board Examinations.”, the Court directed.

The Court also directed the petitioner to pay some amount towards the fees payable to the school in order to balance the equities.

“…it is directed that the petitioner shall pay an amount of Rs.30,000/- to the school within a period of four weeks.”, the Court held.

Cause Title- XYZ v. Indian School & Anr.

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