Fee charges more than what the government or its authorized body approves would be an offence under the proposed law to check unfair practices in professional higher education institutions with a penalty of fine upto Rs one crore, if the cabinet on Wednesday approves HRD ministry's proposal.
The ministry has agreed with several key recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing committee on Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Institutions Bill and has decided to re-define the term "capitation fee" to make it more specific to check the illegal practice.
The committee advised that 10% excess of the tuition fee should be termed as a capitation fee. The ministry has gone a step ahead and has decided that a penny charged more than the fee decided by a government's fee fixation committee or any other authorized body for technical education and medical institutions would be capitation fee.
In most of the state, a committee under the Technical Education department fixed the fee structure in consultation with different types of professional institutions. With this, these committees would get a statutory backing.
The ministry has also accepted the committee's recommendation earlier this year that fine for charging capitation fee should be increased from up to Rs 50 lakh to Rs one crore and there should be a minimum penalty for each offence.
Another new addition in the reworked bill for Cabinet consideration is that failure to meet any promise made in the prospectus would also be an offence. And, there would be a grievance redressal mechanism in each institution for students before they approach the state level educational tribunals to be set up once the proposed law is enacted.
"We have accepted over 80% of the recommendations made by the Parliamentary standing committee," a government official said, hoping to re-introduce the bill in the winter session of Parliament starting in November end.
Getting the bill approved in Parliament will not be easy as already four MPs had submitted a dissenting note on standing committee's report and there has been opposition from within the UPA allies on the issue.
The Cabinet will also consider the Central Education Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Bill 2010 which gives institutions six years to implement 27% reservation for other backward classes in higher education institutions. The present law gives institutions three years to implement reservation.