Chennai: Noting that Rs 25-35 lakh fee per annum for medical courses was “prima facie far too high”, the Madras High Court today directed deemed universities in Tamil Nadu to collect Rs 13 lakh for MBBS courses as an interim measure, pending University Grants Commission’s (UGC) fee fixation committee’s decision.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice P T Asha gave the direction while disposing of a PIL by Jawaharlal Shanmugam, who submitted that these institutions were charging exorbitant tuition fees and gave details in a tabular column.
“It appears to us that fees varying between Rs 25 lakh to Rs 35 lakh per annum is prima facie far too high and the fee committee constituted by UGC ought to make an in-depth study and recommend the fees to be collected by the institutions,” the bench said in its order.
It recorded an undertaking given by the UGC to constitute a committee by June 30 to fix the fee structure in these universities.
Making it clear that there was a need for regulating and streamlining the fees after taking into account all relevant factors, the bench directed that the UGC fees committee shall positively submit its recommendation within six weeks after hearing all stakeholders.
The bench said the court was informed that the committee had earlier fixed Rs 11.5 lakh per annum for management quota seats, adding students may now be admitted by collecting Rs 13 lakh on a condition that once the committee determined the fee, balance, if any, would have to be paid back.
Needless to mention that if the fee determined was lower, the students concerned would be entitled to refund, it said.
The PIL sought a direction to fix the tuition fee structure for all medical courses offered by the deemed universities in the state, taking into consideration the complete financial statements and annual returns of the deemed universities and their entities.
It said the deemed universities were managed by highly influential people with enormous political clout and financial strength to perpetuate corrupt activities.
Listing the high fees charged by different institutions, it said this was against the very principle and objective of running a charitable educational institution.
Medical education was now a big profitable business and an easy route to building a big empire, the PIL claimed.