New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has sought responses from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and the Centre while hearing an appeal against a single-judge order that dismissed the students’ pleas challenging the institute’s fee hike during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notices to the NIFT and Ministry of Textiles and sought their stand on the petition moved by some students. The institute issued circulars in July and August last year to hike the fees, according to a PTI report.
Advocates Abhik Chimni and Lakshay Garg, representing the students, sought setting aside the single judge’s October 21-order that declined to interfere with the hike in fee.
The single judge had observed that NIFT’s decision cannot be termed arbitrary or oppressive. NIFT had hiked its fees by 10 per cent for NRI quota students and 5 per cent for non-NRI quota students in 2020.
Appealing against the fee hike, the students claimed that the fees were hiked “arbitrarily” and in violation of the NIFT Act of 2006 and applicable ordinances, the report stated.
The students further claimed that they and their families “are facing difficulties in paying this increased fee in the current financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
“That the students are not able to utilise the infrastructure and facilities usually provided by the institute due to a shift to online classes.
“That if the illegal fee hike imposed on the students is not set aside the academic work of the petitioners (students), and many other students of the institute, will be affected adversely. The decision of the respondent institute will even force some students to discontinue their studies at the institute,” the students were quoted as saying in their appeal by PTI.
They have also sought a direction to NIFT for a refund of the hiked fees.