Supreme Court: Education Not A Business To Earn Profit

In Narayana Medical College vs State of Andhra Pradesh, the bench of Justices MR Shah and Sudhanshu Dhulia observed that the Government Order (G.O) enhancing the tuition fee on the representations made by the private medical colleges were “wholly impermissible and most arbitrary and only with a view to favour and/or oblige the private medical colleges.”

The court upheld the Andhra Pradesh High court decision of quashing the state government’s order to enhance the medical college’s tuition fees to Rs. 24 Lakh per annum. The order stated: “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 fees must be affordable.”

The Supreme Court dismissed a plea filed by a college against the order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court which had set aside the government decision to enhance the tuition fees for the MBBS Students. The Andhra Pradesh High Court had set up a committee called as Admission and Fee Regulatory Committee Rules (AFRC), 2006. Rule 4 of this stated that the fee cannot be enhanced, fixed without the recommendation or report from the authoritative committee.

In 2011 the state government had issued a Government Order after accepting the report by the AFRC and had enhanced the fee for the academic years of 2011-12 and 2013-14. However, for the academic year of 2017-2020 the state government issued a Government Order without waiting for the report from the AFRC. The medical colleges enhanced the tuition fees payable by the MBBS students which led to a lot of writ petitions filed challenging the said Government Order.

The bench observed that the determination of fees must be within the parameters of the fixation of the 2006 rules. The excerpts from the judgment read out:

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 Economic Weaker Sections of the society. All the aforesaid factors are required to be considered by the AFRC while determining/reviewing the tuition fees.

The court dismissed the appeal and imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh equally paid up by both petitioner and Appellant, The State of Andhra Pradesh. The amount to be deposited with the Registry of the said Court within the period of six weeks.


Source: LiveLaw

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