A bench of Justices M R Shah and Sudhanshu Dhulia quashed Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to allow private medical colleges to raise fee seven time to Rs 24 lakh per year in 2017 and directed the colleges to refund the extra fee charged from the students between 2017 and 2020.
“To enhance the fee to Rs. 24 lakh per annum i.e., seven times more than the fee fixed earlier was not justifiable at all. The education is not the business to earn profit. The tuition fee shall always be affordable,” the SC bench said.
“Determination of fee/review of fee shall be within the parameters of the fixation rules and shall have direct nexus on the factors mentioned in Rule 4 of the Rules, 2006, namely, (a) the location of the professional institution (b) the nature of the professional course (c) the cost of available infrastructure (d) the expenditure on administration and maintenance (e) a reasonable surplus required for growth and development of the professional Institution (f) the revenue foregone on account of waiver of fee, if any, in respect of students belonging to the reserved category and other Economically Weaker Sections of the society,” the bench said.
The court said that as per its verdict in the P A Inamdar case, Admission and Fee Regulatory Committee(AFRC) was to be set up for determining the tuition fees and it was followed by the state government also but despite that the fee was revised after getting recommendation from the statutory panel
“Therefore, the G.O. issued by the state government enhancing the tuition fee for the private medical colleges on the representations made by the private medical colleges was wholly impermissible and most arbitrary and only with a view to favour and/or oblige the private medical colleges. The same is rightly set aside by the high court.”
“The State could not have issued the G.O. enhancing the tuition fee for private medical colleges dehors the recommendations of the AFRC. Any enhancement of the tuition fee without the recommendations of the AFRC shall be contrary to the decision of this Court in the case of P.A. Inamdar and even the relevant provisions of the Rules,” the bench said.
Fees for professional courses must be affordable, the SC said, quashing AP government’s decision to allow private medical colleges to raise fee seven time to Rs 24 lakh a year in 2017.