PEEVED OVER indiscriminate collection of fees, Justice Gulab Gupta on Sunday warned private medical and dental colleges to desist from running institutions like a business venture.
A day after he took over as chairman of the Judges’ Committee to decide a fee structure in private medical and technical colleges, Justice Gupta struck a tough posture on the issue.
Talking to the Hindustan Times, he assured that the committee would see to it that justice was done to the students who took admission before the panel fixed Rs 1.61 lakh as fee for medical and Rs 1.10 lakh for dental course through an interim order on September 30.
“The committee will find out a way for either refund or adjustment of the excess fee amount. If required, we shall request the Supreme Court for a directive,” he said.
The order also mentioned that the students should not be asked to give bond and bank guarantee. The private medical colleges have charged Rs 3.05 lakh as fee per student (including Rs 25,000 caution money) for MBBS and Rs 2 lakh for BDS courses.
The students were asked to give bank guarantee of Rs 9.80 lakh so that the fee for the entire course could be realised from their bank account in the event of their leaving college midway.
Justice Gupta asserted that had the Supreme Court not directed completion of admission process by September 30, he would have extended the admission date in private medical colleges.
“The constitution of the committee was delayed as the Indian Medical Council (IMC) had not nominated its representative. It has to be a five-member committee but we are only three even now. Still, we passed the interim order so that at least some students are benefited. We communicated to all the 12 medical colleges the interim fee structure decided by the committee for the time being at 4.00 pm by fax. Students admitted after that will get the excess money back.”
Justice Gupta said running an education institution should either be a charity or a business, and if it is the latter, the institution would be covered under all the relevant laws applicable to business establishments, including the Prize Control Act and the Essential Commodity Act.
A spokesperson for the Association of Private Medical and Dental Colleges refused to comment on Justice Gupta’s interim order, saying it is yet to be received.
Asserting that colleges are within their right to ask for bond, bank guarantee from students, he said the association, however, asked them not to insist on bank guarantee.
The scene at the Gandhi Medical College, where the counselling for admission for vacant seats in private medical colleges took place, presented a different picture. A number of students were seen making calls to their parents after being asked to furnish bank guarantee of Rs 9.80 lakh in addition to fee by respective colleges.
The bank guarantee clause has also come in handy for the colleges to give admission to students of their choice depending on paying capacity, irrespective of their position in entrance test merit list. Many students whose name figured on the merit and waiting list opted out of the admission process when told about the hefty fee and bank guarantee.
A spokesperson for Peoples’ General Medical College, which had given admission to 350 students in MBBS and BDS courses this year, claimed that the college did not ask a single student to produce bank guarantee.
However, students had a different story to tell. “When we told a college about newspaper reports on the High Court directing the private medical colleges not to insist on bank guarantee, we were told that colleges were governed by Supreme Court directives and not High Court orders,” said Arpit, seeking admission to the Peoples’ General College.