The practice of private medical colleges collecting tuition fees from MBBS students for five years — even though the course is for four and a half years — is illegal, said the Telangana High Court on Saturday. The High Court has even directed the state private medical and dental colleges to collect tuition fees only for the course duration from now on.
The court was hearing a petition filed by a student named Dundigalla Padmateja of Hanamkonda. The student had filed the petition against the Kaloji Narayana Rao University of Health Sciences, Warangal, for collecting fees for five years, as well as the Telangana state government for enabling the private colleges to collect the fees for five years.
Fee matters related to medical colleges in the state are decided by the Telangana Admission and Fee Regulatory Committee (TAFRC). Based on their recommendations, the state government, on July 20, 2017, released an order that permitted private institutions to collect fees for five years, although, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has mandated just four and a half years for an MBBS course, reported TNIE.
The court after hearing the petition found the actions of TAFRC and state government, illegal and arbitrary.
The court had also pointed out how the fee rules framed to govern tuition fees for medical courses in High Education in the state neither protect the interests of students nor the parents. The rules do not provide an opportunity to the students, nor the parents to deliberate before the TAFRC, reported The Hindu. The TAFRC, instead, decides medical tuition fees based on the suggestions made by private medical college associations, said the court.
The court also observed that the state's rational to collect fees for five years is based on the assumption that all students who get admission to MBBS course would require five years to complete the course, as they are likely to fail, and thus require an additional six months to clear their backlogs.
The court found this rationale of the state government problematic as it assumes without any basis, and ruled that all students must not suffer when only a few are likely to fail. The order was passed by Justice MS Ramachandra Rao, who added that collecting additional fees would be a violation of the Andhra Pradesh Educational Institutions (Regulation of admission and prohibition of capitation fee) Act, 1983.