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SC directs Annamalai University to decide fee based on panel recommendations

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The Supreme Court has directed Annamalai University to refer to the decision of Committee on Fixation of Fee, to decide on the fees for MBBS, BDS and other PG courses in Raja Muthiah Medical College. By this order, the SC has effectively stated that the provisions of the Capitation Fee Act 1992 will apply to Annamalai University.

This order also states that the University is not entitled to devise its own fee structure without having the fee fixed by the Committee on Fixation of Fee.

“We hold that the University was not entitled and competent to devise its own fee structure in the present matter without having the fee fixed by the Committee on Fixation of Fee as contemplated under 1992 Act. The matters shall therefore have to be referred to said Committee and the University is directed to place the entire material including its balance-sheet and accounts before the Committee on Fixation of Fee within two weeks from the date of this Judgment,” the order said.

“The Committee shall thereafter bestow attention and fix appropriate fee structure for the academic year 2013-14 onwards. It goes without saying that if the fee structure fixed by the University is found by the Committee to be inappropriate, consequential benefit and advantage shall be given to each and every student,” the court said, giving relief to several batches of students.

The court also said that the Committee will fix the appropriate fee structure for the current academic year as well. The entire exercise should be completed before August 31, the court further ordered.

The SC has set aside the judgement of the Madras High Court in 2016 which said that Annamalai University was not a government university, and hence the limitations on the fee determined by the Capitation Fee Act 1992 shall not be applicable to it.

Background

149 students pursuing MBBS, BDS and PG courses at the Raja Muthiah Medical College which is a constituent of Annamalai University, had filed a petition opposing the fees charged by the college. In their petition the students mentioned that the University had fixed Rs 5,54,370 and Rs 3,50,370 for MBBS and BDS courses respectively, instead of Rs 12,990 and Rs 10,290 which the government charges in a government college for MBBS and BDS courses.

They had sought for the court to issue directions to the university to not charge fees in excess of what is charged by government medical colleges, and to refund the excess fee collected by the college.

On September 26, 2016, a division bench of Madras HC, consisting of Justices Huluvadi G Ramesh and MV Muralidharan, had ruled that Annamalai University was not a government institution and that the provisions of the Capitation Fee Act 1992 do not apply to it.

Details of the HC order

The HC order said, “Section 4 (13) of the 2013 Act empowers the University to fix the fee for various courses and to demand and receive the same. Accordingly, the University has demanded the fee as prescribed by the Senate.”

The HC had hence dismissed the students’ petition stating that it cannot be said that the University has violated the statute. The court had also mentioned that the state government had taken over the control of the university to prevent it from closure and that it should not imply that the University will collect the fee stipulated for government medical colleges.

With the current order, the SC has effectively set this aside. 

Read: Father’s name optional in birth certificate, don’t force single mothers: Madras HC 

Source: The News Minute

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