Those paying huge sums of money as donations to get a medical college seat will face a probe on the source of such funds, ruled the Madras High Court on Wednesday. Calling it a bribe, the court said those who such donations as well as those who receive it must be punished.
Several parents, however, justified paying lakhs of money to get admission for their wards, saying they had very little options. “My son scored very well in his state board exams but missed the government college seat by 0.5 marks. We had always dreamt of making him a doctor,” says a parent. When he failed to make the cut off, they had no other option but to cough up money to a private medical institute so her son could realise their dreams. He is now studying in his final year.
Advocate S Prabhakaran supports the judiciary’s move. “Parents should only pay the amount fixed by the government. It is absolutely wrong to pay an exorbitant amount. It is inducing a bribe,” he argues.
He also hits out at private colleges for taking “undue advantage” and asks why they can’t take people on the basis of merit.
The Madras High Court’s order comes weeks after SRM Chairperson TR Pachamuthu was arrested by the Chennai Police after more than 100 parents alleged that they had paid around Rs 50 lakh each to get a medical seat but were not admitted.
Paul Kanagaraj, an advocate who is representing 11 students in the Pachamuthu case, however, feels the government should allow the private colleges to take money from students legally. “Private institutions require money for good education and they should be allowed to do that. The government does not have enough colleges and private colleges are business for their owners. If the colleges are demanding money, the parents have to meet it,” he states.
Kanagaraj also says that the parents of the 11 students have proof to show that they had paid money to the college.
A private college student believes that a college’s survival depends on the donations that it receives for admissions. “It is very difficult to run a private college which includes getting experienced professors, maintaining high level of cleanliness,” says the student.
While the amount of the donation varies from instate to institute, he claimed that paying Rs. 6-7 lakhs is justifiable while an exorbitant amount of Rs 70-80 lakhs is unacceptable.
Madras High Court’s order was made while hearing bail petition of SK Durairaj, who had taken Rs 20 lakhs from a parent on the promise of securing an seat. When the student did not get admission and the money wasn’t refunded, a complaint was filed against Durairaj. The court refused to grant him anticipatory bail.