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Orissa HC Serves Notice To Centre, State After PIL On School, College Fee Exemption

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Cuttack: The Orissa High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre and the State government seeking response on why all government as well as private educational institutions should not waive off monthly tuition fees and transportation charges of students in view of the lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The HC served the notices after hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Prahallad Rout of Bhubaneswar. In his PIL, the petitioner appealed for waiver of school and college fees along with exemption of electricity charges for consumers in view of the lockdown clamped to contain the coronavirus.

The HC has issued notices to 13 parties including the Union Home ministry, Odisha Civil Supplies and Consumer Welfare department, Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission, chief executive officers of power distribution companies and principal secretaries of School and Mass Education and Higher Education department of Odisha.

In his petition, Rout had pointed out that students are basically financed by their parents, who have lost their livelihood and salaries due to the lockdown.

The petitioner had urged the court to issue directions to the government and private schools and colleges, technical and non- technical, government and private institutions to waive monthly tuition fees and transportation charges from March 23 till normalcy is restored.

Rout had also sought exemption of electricity charges for domestic consumers who are self-employed as well as commercial consumers whose business have been closed due to COVID19 outbreak and lockdown.

Moreover, the petitioner had appealed to the HC to pass necessary direction for extension of relief in shape of food grains, LPG cylinder and monthly benefit to all citizens except government and private employees or pensioners during the lockdown.

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