The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and other respondents to treat as representation, a plea seeking direction for the refund of Classes X and XII examination fees that were cancelled this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Justice Prateek Jalan, while disposing of the plea, noted that the CBSE had incurred expenditure for the development of infrastructure to conduct the exams in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Advocate Rupesh Kumar, appearing for CBSE, submitted that the CBSE is a self-governing body and has not taken any money from even the Central Government. Lots had been spent on centres for the exams that were recently cancelled.
Petitioner Deepa Joseph through a plea submitted that the respondent is totally unjustified in keeping the money collected from students as examination fees for Class X and XII board examinations as the exams got cancelled.
It is safe to assume that CBSE has received crores of rupees as examination fees, the plea stated.
Joseph, advocate, social activist, and mother of a Class X student studying in a CBSE affiliated government school in Delhi, knocked on the doors of the Delhi High Court. The plea seeks direction to the CBSE and Union Ministry of Education to consider formulating a fresh examination refund policy wherein refund of fees will be granted when unforeseen circumstances like pandemic and subsequent cancellation of exams, the plea stated.
Advocate Robin Raju appeared for the petitioner and submitted that the respondent CBSE consider the refind of at least a proportion of the paid sum as examination fee by parents of students.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Class X and Class XII board exams had been cancelled on April 14 and June 1 respectively.
The said examination fees are levied from parents by CBSE for paying the invigilators and examiners or is spent on setting up exam centres, the plea stated, adding that the contention of the petitioner herein is that since the board exams are cancelled, the CBSE and Centre should refund the money collected as an examination fee as it will not have to incur the aforementioned expenses.
The demand for a refund of examination fees was also raised by the All India Parents Association recently, the plea said.
The news regarding the demand raised by the Association to the respondent was also published in media on June 7, 2021. The published news covers stories of people who belong to poor backgrounds and for whom the amount collected as examination fee by the Respondent is significant, especially in these difficult financial times.