Counselling by the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot, as well as Adesh University, Bathinda, for the 250 MBBS and BDS seats of Adesh University has been challenged in the Punjab and Haryana high court.
A medical aspirant, Akshat, who got admission in an MBBS seat of Adesh University through counselling conducted by BFUHS on June 22 for Adesh seats, has approached the court. Taking up the petition, the court headed by justice GS Sandhawalia directed Adesh University to file its reply before July 17.
As per the state government’s directions issued on March 7, BFUHS conducted counselling for Adesh’s MBBS seats on June 22. After the high court’s directions issued on June 23, Adesh University conducted provisional counselling for its MBBS and BDS seats on June 25. The second round of counselling by BFUHS has to be conducted before July 27, but the schedule has not been finalised yet.
The petitioner submitted that there was no reason for Adesh to conduct provisional counselling when it had already been conducted by BFUHS.
It was submitted that Adesh University is not competent to hold separate counselling as it is also governed by the Punjab Private Health Sciences Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission, Fixation of Fee and Making of Reservation), Act, 2006. It was added that the 2006 Act was already in force before passing of the Adesh University Act, 2012, and Punjab Private University Policy, 2010.
Also, there is nothing in the Adesh University Act, 2012, and Punjab Private University Policy, 2010, that bars the application of the 2006 Act in the admissions conducted by Adesh University, the petitioner submitted.
“The state government shall regulate admission, fix fee and make reservation for different categories in admissions to private health sciences educational institutions,” reads the 2006 Act.
The petitioner informed that Adesh University, in its pro forma submitted to the University Grants Commission (UGC), has written, “At present, fees are as per Punjab government guidelines for all courses except paramedical courses.”
SC ORDER ON FEE
The Supreme Court judgment of October 31, 2002, in the “TMA Pai Foundation and others versus state of Karnataka and others” reads, “… as the occupation of education is, in a sense, regarded as charitable, the government can provide regulations that will ensure excellence in education, while forbidding the charging of capitation fee and profiteering by the institution. Since the object of setting up an educational institution is by definition ‘charitable’, it is clear that an educational institution cannot charge such a fee as is not required for the purpose of fulfilling that object…”