NIFT students appeal against fee hike upheld by single judge: Delhi HC seeks Centre, institute stand

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has sought responses of the Centre and the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) on an appeal against a single judge order dismissing the pleas of some students challenging the hike in fees by the institute during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notices to the Ministry of Textiles and NIFT, seeking their stand on the petition moved by some students of the institute against its circulars issued in July and August last year hiking its fees.

The students, represented by advocates Abhik Chimni and Lakshay Garg, have sought setting aside the single judge’s October 21, 2020, order declining to interfere with the fee hike.

The single judge was of the view that NIFT’s decision cannot be termed arbitrary or oppressive.

NIFT had last year hiked its fees by 10 per cent for NRI quota students and 5 per cent for non-NRI quota students.

The students, in their appeal, have claimed that the fees was hiked “arbitrarily” and in violation of the NIFT Act of 2006 and applicable ordinances.

They have further claimed that students 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,” they have said in their appeal.

They have sought a direction to NIFT to refund the hiked fees.