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Tuition fee should always be affordable, education is not a business: SC [Read Judgement]

By Lawstreet News Network      Nov 09, 2022      0 Comments      2,348 Views
Tuition fee should always be affordable, education is not a business: SC

The Supreme Court has said that tuition fee should always be affordable and education is not a business to earn profit.

The top court upheld the Andhra Pradesh High Court judgment to quash the state government’s decision to enhance the tuition fee in medical colleges to Rs 24 lakh per annum.

A bench of Justices M R Shah and Sudhanshu Dhulia said to enhance the fee unilaterally would be contrary to the objects and purpose of Andhra Pradesh Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admissions and Prohibition of Capitation Fee) Act, 1983 as well as the Rules, 2006 and the decision of this court in the case of P A Inamdar.

“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. Education is not the business to earn profit. The tuition fee shall always be affordable,” the bench said.

In its judgement, the bench said the determination of fee or review of fee should 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) 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.  

“All the factors are required to be considered by the AFRC (Admission and Fee Regulatory Committee) while determining/reviewing the tuition fees. Therefore, the High Court is absolutely justified in quashing and setting aside G O dated September 6, 2017,” the bench held.

The top court also imposed Rs five Lakh cost jointly on the petitioner, Narayana Medical College, and the Andhra Pradesh to be deposited with the court registry within a period of six weeks.

The bench said the medical colleges are the beneficiaries of the illegal G O (government order), which was rightly set aside by the high court.

“The respective medical colleges have used/utilized the amount recovered under G O dated 06.09.2017 for a number of years and kept with them for a number of years on the other hand students paid the exorbitant tuition fee after obtaining loan from the financial institutions/banks and paid the higher rate of interest,” the bench said.

The court dismissed the plea filed by a medical college challenging the high court judgment.

“If at all the AFRC determines/fixes the tuition fee which is higher than the tuition fee fixed earlier it will be always open for the medical colleges to recover the same from the  concerned students, however, the respective medical colleges cannot be permitted to retain the amount collected illegally pursuant to G.O. dated 06.09.2017”, said the bench.

The High Court had held that considering the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Admission and Fee Regulatory Committee (for Professional Courses offered in Private Un-Aided Professional Institutions) Rules, 2006, the fee cannot be enhanced/fixed without the recommendations/report of the committee.

Senior advocate K V Viswanathan,  appeared on behalf of the appellant, Basava Prabhu S Patil, for the original writ petitioners, and Krishna Dev Jagarlamudi, for the state government.

Read Judgement

Tuition feeSupreme CourtAndhra Pradesh High CourtJustice M R ShahJustice Sudhanshu DhuliaAndhra Pradesh Educational InstitutionsRegulation of Admissions and Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act 1983 Narayana Medical CollegeAdmission and Fee Regulatory Committee Private Un-Aided Professional InstitutionsSenior advocate K V ViswanathanState Government
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