Did Uttarakhand bypass Supreme Court while giving free hand to pvt medical colleges?
“Yes I made a mistake,” Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said on Sunday, two days after he announced his government’s intention to alter the decision giving free hand to the private medical colleges in the state to increase tuition fee.
Guns are trained on the BJP government for favouring strong medical education lobby in the state.
Speaking at a discussion show hosted by a news channel here on Sunday, the chief minister was visibly uncomfortable when asked who gave him the idea to give rights to the private medical colleges to increase fee manifold.
“I made a mistake. If required we will make amendment in the act (that gives right to the private universities) on fee hike. It was previous government in whose tenure the act was enacted,” chief minister said.
He said a notification in this regard will be issued on Monday. However, the roll back decision shall give relief to the students of the ongoing courses but there is an ambiguity on the new admissions.
During the recent budget session, the state government gave a nod for fee hike in the private medical universities and colleges. Furthermore, a bill was tabled on the floor of the house that was passed amid uproar.
Interestingly five months back, in October 2017 a letter from the union joint secretary (health and family welfare) was marked to the state governments including Uttarakhand.
State’s additional chief secretary Om Prakash received the letter. The content of the letter reads that as per Supreme Court directives the fee in private medical and dental colleges is fixed by a committee headed by retired judge of the high court.
“During a meeting held in the ministry, it was brought to the notice that colleges are charging higher fee that fixed by the committee,” the letter reads.
However, it is apparent that Uttarakhand ignored the apex court’s advice and gave free hand to private medical colleges to decide on their own.
“It is a clear violation (of the court order). Why there was such a need. The CM’s statement on roll back is confusing as the bill passed by the house still stands,” said senior BJP leader Ravindra Jugran on Sunday.
He is leading an umbrella body of the parents whose wards studying in the private colleges.
Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Pradeep Tamta blamed the government for not sharing details (of bill) and allow his party legislators to discuss the amended bill on fee hike in the House last week.
Meanwhile, MBBS students at SGGR college refused to call off strike. They demanded a written assurance from the management they will not be charged “exorbitant” fee.
The college was the first to hike tuition fee from ₹4.5 lakh to nearly ₹19 lakh.
Vijay Dhasmana, vice-chancellor of Swami Ram University, said last year the government authorised medical education department to take call on fee hike and this year three private (medical) universities have been authorised.
“We will abide by rules, let me assure everyone” he said in an official note.