In a major setback to private medical colleges in Kerala, which had hiked the fees for MBBS, the state government on Friday cancelled 117 vacant NRI seats and admitted students from the general category in those seats.
As per sections five and six in the medical admission prospectus, which enable the conversion of vacant NRI seats to general seats, the state controller of entrance examinations passed the order.
For those who are admitted in these 117 seats, the annual fees will be Rs 5 lakh while for NRI seats, the annual fees will be Rs 20 lakh. The colleges had recently hiked the annual fees for general category students to Rs 11 lakh in line with a Supreme Court order.
Meanwhile, the managements have raised objections to the government move and have informed that they will approach the court.
They also claim that the Supreme Court had asked to complete the admission procedure by August 31 and the admissions which happened on September 1 would be considered illegal.
However, Health Minister KK Shailaja told media that the government will help the students if managements approach court against the admissions.
A huge issue has been raging in Kerala for the last several days after the annual fees was more than doubled by the Supreme Court.
On August 28, the Supreme Court issued an interim order overturning a Kerala HC verdict that had allowed the government to fix a cap of Rs 5 lakh on the annual fee for MBBS courses in self-financing colleges. The apex court, instead, fixed the fee at Rs 11 lakh.
Out of this, Rs 5 lakh has to be remitted in cash, while the remaining Rs 6 lakh is to be paid in cash or with a bank guarantee that has to be submitted within 15 days of admission.
The SC ordered that the bank guarantees be deposited in a separate bank account until the fee structure is finally determined by a Fee Regulation Commission, which is likely to be completed by October.
The announcement of an additional amount of Rs 6 lakh has turned into an insurmountable obstacle for many students, whose families have already borrowed Rs 5 lakh from banks and private money lenders.