Decide on plea over Class 10, 12 exam fees refund, HC tells Maharashtra board
The Bombay high court (HC) has directed the chairman of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) to decide the representation of a parent seeking a refund of SSC and HSC board exams fees due to the pandemic.
The petitioner, a retired principal has stated that due to the pandemic the state government cancelled the SSC and HSC board exams and as a lot of parents are going through financial difficulties it is mandatory for the state government to refund the amounts collected by the state board, for the exams that it did not conduct.
A division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Girish Kulkarni, while hearing public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Pratapsing Chopadar, a retired principal from Miraj in Sangli district was informed by advocate Manoj Shirsat that the PIL was filed as the state had cancelled the Class 10 and 12 board exams, which are conducted by the MSBSHSE through government resolutions dated May 12 and June 9 respectively.
Shirsat submitted that the MSBSHSE had recovered fees of ₹415 from the 17,65,829 students who registered for the Class 10 board exams and ₹520 from the 15,07,314 Class 12 students for the board exams to be held in 2020. As the statistics for the number of students registered for the exams for 2021 were not available, he was assuming the figures for last year and said that the board had collected ₹80 crore and ₹70 crore from the Class 10 and 12 students, respectively, but as the exams were cancelled based on the two GR’s, the state was bound to refund the fees.
Chopadar’s petition further states that he had made a representation to the chairman of the MSBSHSE at Pune but as there was no response he had no option but to approach the HC through the PIL.
After perusing the PIL and hearing the submissions by Shirsat, the court directed the chairman MSBSHSE to decide on the representation made by Chopadar expeditiously, preferably within four weeks and also decide on the quantum of the amount to be refunded and disposed of the PIL.