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Cricket dad’s school fees row

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Pranesh Indrajith

INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Pranesh Indrajith, a local attorney, and his son Pavishkar, pictured, made headlines when they took the school to court last year to force it to reinstate the latter as captain of the first cricket team. The application was dismissed in January, with costs.

Pietermaritzburg - St Charles College in Pietermaritzburg is persisting with an application to recover almost R70 000 in school fees from the man who failed to have his son reinstated as captain of the first cricket team, despite his claiming the amount had been paid.

Pranesh Indrajith admitted to having owed R69 479, but he said in an affidavit that he had paid it after the intervention of a Department of Education official, Fuad Desai, to get his son’s matric results. Desai confirmed this in an affidavit.

The application by the school, for summary judgment to be granted, came before the high court on Wednesday, but was not granted. It will proceed to trial on a date yet to be arranged.

An attorney who was not involved said this was to recover legal fees. The school’s attorney, Andrew Dickason, of ER Browne Incorporated, said he could not comment because the matter was pending.

Indrajith, a local attorney, and his son Pavishkar, 18, made headlines when they took the school to court last year to force it to reinstate the latter as captain. The application was dismissed in January, with costs.

The application for payment of fees was brought by the school last year. The claim said Indrajith and his wife, Anitha, had agreed to enrol Pavishkar in 2002 and to pay tuition and other charges levied by the school.

But the couple had failed to make any payment since January last year and owed R69 479 at the end of October, including interest.

Indrajith said in reply that he wrote to the school in November, saying that if his son had been treated properly by the cricket coach, Dave Karlsen, and/or the principal, Allen van Blerk, the fees would have been paid.

His son had been deliberately prevented from playing first-team soccer and hockey, despite the headmaster’s telling him he would “walk into the first hockey team” if he went back to playing sport.

“In fact, discussions took place between Pavishkar and the hockey coach as regards to the team, tactics, captaincy issues etc, but still he was prevented from captaincy and or playing first-team hockey and this can only be at the insistence of the principal.”

Pavishkar therefore did not receive a full and proper education and the actions of the coach and principal were subject to a damages claim.

Indrajith added that when the matric results were released last month, the headmaster refused to release them unless the fees were paid.

This was against the National Protocol of Assessment, an education department policy document, which said schools could not withhold report cards from pupils for any reason.

Indrajith said he took the matter up with the department and Desai was sent to the school to collect the results. Desai met Van Blerk on January 28 and the two agreed that upon payment, the matter would be settled and no further action would be taken and there would be no further costs, even attorney costs.

When Indrajith learnt of this, he agreed to the settlement, even though he was under no obligation.

He added that any other action the family had against the coach or the school, relating to discriminatory words used by Karlson to describe him, his wife and son, would be taken up separately.

He suggested the entire matter should be dismissed with each party paying their own costs.

Desai said in an affidavit that the money had been paid by him to the school.

Indrajith declined to comment.

sharika.regchand@inl.co.za

The Mercury


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