The Supreme Court has refused to interfere with the Order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court directing the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala to charge only 50% of the Hostel rent from the students for the Covid period.

“We are not inclined to interfere with the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court. The special leave petition is, accordingly, dismissed.”, the bench of Justice BR Gavai and Justice Vikram Nath held while dismissing the special leave petition filed by the University.

Advocate Sanjay Vashishtha appeared for the Appellant-RGNUL whereas Senior Advocates Siddharth Dave and Sridhar Pottraju appeared for the Respondents.

The Punjab & Haryana High Court had directed the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala to charge only 50% of the Hostel rent from the students and observed that the University was not justified in charging the entire hostel rent from the students during COVID as the people were trying hard to make their two ends meet. The Writ Petition before the High Court was filed by under-graduate students of RGNUL, Aditya Kashyap and others, some of whom graduated during the pendency of the litigation.

The Bench of Justice Augustine George Masih and Justice Vikram Aggarwal of Punjab and Haryana High Court observed that COVID time was a really tough time for everyone and the students were compelled to leave all their belongings in the hostel rooms. But that does not justify the University's decision to charge the entire hostel fees from the students when only 25% of the rent was being charged from the contractors of mess, shops, canteens, etc.

In this case, the students submitted a representation on May 18th, 2020 to reduce/waive fees under various heads.

A subsequent representation was also filed to the Dean of Students Welfare of the University and in the meeting held on June 20th, 2020, the Finance Committee decided to waive off the annual increase of Rs. 5000/- in the tuition fee and the mess charges until the mess operations resumed.

Students were called to deposit the fees following the decision taken by the Finance committee, which was challenged before the High Court.

Cause Title- Rajiv Gandhi National University Of Law v. The State Of Punjab & Ors.

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