The Madras High Court has ordered that no school in the State should deny a transfer certificate (TC) to any student on account of any dispute, including the inability of the parents to settle the fees due to the financial strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Justice N. Anand Venkatesh stated that those wanting to leave a school must apply for transfer certificates, and such applications must be honoured by the management within a week. Disputes, if any, should be worked out independently as per law.
If schools fail to issue TCs within a week, complaints could be made to the jurisdictional Chief Educational Officer, who shall ensure that the certificates are issued. The court would also initiate suo motu contempt proceedings in case of non-compliance, the judge warned.
The court passed the orders while disposing of a writ petition filed by United District Self Financing Schools’ Association. The association challenged the State government’s instructions that students could change schools without a TC.
Its counsel P. Ebenezer Paul contended that such instructions were against the statutory rules, and that they might go against the interests of the students as there would be no proper records regarding the school from which a student had quit.
Concurring with the counsel, the judge overruled the government’s instructions, which were issued to assist students who want to switch schools due to their inability to pay high fees, and ordered that students must obtain a TC but it could not be denied on any ground.
“The students/parents must have the absolute freedom to take a decision regarding the continuation of education in the existing school or to get transfer to any other school,” the judge said, adding that the interests of the students as well as the schools must also be balanced.