As the state Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) awaits the Supreme Court’s (SC) nod to allow it more days to fill up vacant seats in government and private medical institutes, students who had secured seats in deemed institutes last month withdrew their admissions for seats in private and government institutes.
While the institutes refunded the fees paid, they also charged a penalty ranging from Rs10,000 to Rs90,000, said parents. “We can’t even blame the institutes because their rules clearly state a refund after 15-30 days will come with a penalty. The problem is that five months after the SC decided on the medical admissions’ schedule, students are still waiting for the process to complete,” said Ananth Sarma, a parent.
Sarma said that after paying Rs4.5 lakh to confirm a seat in a Pune-based deemed institute, his son got a seat in a private institute at Latur. “We withdrew admissions the minute my son’s name appeared on the new list, but it was still more than two weeks later and so, the institute charged us 10% of the fees as penalty. Another parent I know has been charged almost Rs90,000 because he withdrew admissions four weeks after confirming the seat,” he said.
Many parents have called this a fallout of the seemingly unending admissions process this year that has dragged on for more than four months. What started with an SC order in April making the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) the only entrance exam for admissions to medical and dental courses from this academic year, has been followed by a series of writ petitions filed by various parties, delaying the admissions schedule further.
“We had to wait until August 17 only to start admissions to private and deemed institutes because of the NEET results. But after the results, there have been numerous petitions filed in the SC and Bombay high court, leaving us with no option but to wait,” said a senior DMER official.
While parents are complaining about institutes deducting huge chunks of money in the name of penalty for withdrawing admissions, experts have pointed at how this is against the rule set by the state.
“If a student cancels admission from a private institute within the admissions’ cut-off date, then the institute can only charge Rs1,500 as penalty. If institutes are charging more, they are breaking the law,” said Rajesh Jain, state member of Parents’ Association for Medical Students.
He said that deemed institutes can deduct Rs1,000 if admission is cancelled before classes commence and a proportionate tuition fee, if it is cancelled after classes commence. “Parents should raise their voice against these arm-twisting methods of institutes,” he added.