Recently, on 30th April, 2020, Mr. Anupam Prabhat Shrivastava, Student, Central University of South Bihar, Gaya, Bihar filed a petition before the Hon’ble Patna High Court for the seeking directions to be issued to the Central Government and the State Government to waive off the Academic Fees, Hostel Fees, Mess Fees and Transportation Fees in all the central government as well as state government affiliated educational institutions including Schools, Colleges, and Universities in the State of Bihar and to provide all the students a substantial amount of cash assistance to enable them for availing the internet data plan for the purpose of attending the online classes and video lectures. The Patna High Court has issued notice to the Bihar Govt and has given two weeks time to clarify its stand.
Anupam says that,
“Education has become one of the basic needs along with the Roti, Kapda and Makaan, for the survival of the people in this competitive era. But irony lies here that none of them are free. Despite being a democratic nation, which tends to follow the concept of socialism, it seems that its every resources/policies have been commercialized, amongst which, education systemis the highest paid system in this welfare state. ‘Right to Education is a Fundamental Right guaranteed by our Holy Constitution of India yet it is not accessible to all. And the one who dares to avail the education needs to pay a hefty amount of money for their academics, hostel, mess, and transport facilities. High Cost Education, Low Income, Poverty and Unemployment are major issues in this respect.
We have been in a lockdown due to the global pandemic COVID-19 for about one and a half month where everything got stagnant. From 13 March, 2020, Educational Institutions were closed, hostels were vacated, mess facilities and transportation facilities were stopped. These educational institution, in the name of relief, granted the extension of time for paying the ‘cost of education’ in the name of the above categorized fees. This meant that they were not exempted from paying the fees despite of the facts that these institutions were closed and every other facilities were also stopped. On the other hand, as per the direction of UGC, these educational institutions started conducting classes and exams with the help of internet online classes where these student needs to purchase high speed internet data packs for their classes. This was problematic for majority of students belonging to poor and middle class families.
The load of paying the fees for the educationand charges of the high speed internet data pack to attend the classes worried many parents and students because economic slowdown resulted in their unemployment, cutting down of salary, or no salary/wages.In this pandemic situation,it would be so difficult for thepeople to bear the burden of ‘the cost of the education’ in the form of above stated categories of fees and for the internet packs.
Therefore, being a student of law and responsible citizen of the state of Bihar, I consulted my seniors who have established their office by the name of Legal Angles Patna for filing a PIL in the Hon’ble Patna High Court seeking directions to be issued to the Central Government and the State Government to waive off the Academic Fees, Hostel Fees, Mess Fees and Transportation Fees in all the central government as well as state government affiliated educational institutions including Schools, Colleges, and Universities in the State of Bihar and to provide all the students a substantial amount of cash assistance to enable them for availing the internet data plan for the purpose of attending the online classes and video lectures. Along with these remedies, the prayer also seeks for no breakage in providing the respective monthly remuneration to all the M.Phil/P.HD. Students and Research Scholars during the extension period of six months because their course work is being extended for six months more as per the newly issued guidelines of the UGC.
Mr. Chief Justice Sanjay Karol J. took the cognizance of current situation and issued notice to Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar and sought a report on this petition.”
Anupam further added that it is the duty of every law student to come forward to help each other highlighting the social issues by the way of social litigation. In fact every person is obliged in this society to raise their concern towards the welfare of the society. The beauty of the democracy lies in this. He further says that the decision of the Hon’ble Patna High Court on this very matter shall provide the instant relief to the people and would also restore the faith and belief on the judicial system. He thanked Legal Angles Patna for taking care of his concerns and the valuable guidance.