The Madras High Court on Friday passed an order saying that the interim fee for MBBS course under management quota in deemed universities across Tamil Nadu state and the Union Territory of Puducherry will be 13 lakh per annum for now. Deemed universities have been asked to follow this order till a final decision on fee is made by the University Grants Commission (UGC) fee fixation committee.
The bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice P T Asha said, â€śWe are informed that the (UGC) fee committee has earlier fixed Rs 11.50 lakh for management quota for the medical colleges run by the Deemed Universities and the students may now be admitted subject to payment of Rs 13 lakh.â€ť
Once the committee decides on the fee and if the fee is lesser than 13 lakh, then the students will be given a refund. However, if the fee is higher, then the students should remit the balance.
The UGC gave an undertaking to the High Court that it will constitute a committee by June 30 to decide on the finalized fee.
The interim order on fee was passed in response to the PIL petition filed by Jawaharlal Shanmugam in 2017.
In 2016, the Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court in the Modern Dental College vs State of Madhya Pradesh case had ruled that states can regulate fees and stop the commercialization of education.
EXPLAINER: Why this might not be great news after all
Though the Madras HC had asked the UGC to form a fee fixation committee in 2017, no steps were taken. Though UGC has told the HC that the committee will be formed by end of the month, it remains to be seen if they would agree for a Rs 13 lakh cap.
It is very unlikely that deemed universities will accept the order. In all likelihood, they will move the court for a stay in this High Court order.
Even if deemed universities do act on the order in the coming days and collect only 13 lakh fee per annum, they are surely going to levy an additional fee under tags such as administration fee. On the ground, thus the order may not make much of a difference for students or parents.
Though the Supreme Court has banned the capitation fee, many universities still continue collecting it. This is a â€śpublic secretâ€ť which many parents and students begrudgingly comply with. In Tamil Nadu, especially, the capitation fee is an accepted norm in most universities.