Colleges can't bar SC, ST students from exams if fee not paid: Maharashtra commission
The pronouncement came after the commission heard a complaint against a degree college in Bandramumbai Updated: May 20, 2018 16:05 IST
The Maharashtra State Scheduled Caste (SC) Scheduled Tribe (ST) Commission held that colleges cannot bar students belonging to socially weaker sections from examinations if they are unable to pay their fees.
The pronouncement came after the commission heard a complaint against a degree college in Bandra, which issued a notice threatening disciplinary action against reserved category students who failed to pay their tuition fees. The college agreed to withdraw the notice after the directive from the commission.
On April 12, shortly before the semester examinations commenced, Chetana College, Bandra, had issued a notice asking the students in self-financed courses, who were admitted under reserved categories in the academic year 2017-18, to pay their dues. The annual fee for reserved category students in bachelor of management studies, bachelor of commerce (accounting and finance), bachelor of mass media and bachelor of science (information technology) ranges from ₹7,000 to ₹22,000.
The college said that it had no option left but to demand fees from students as the state government has failed to reimburse it for waiving off fees of reserved category students. "The state hasn't cleared its dues since 2013, despite our letters to the concerned departments. The government announced that the fee waiver money will now be transferred directly to the beneficiaries’ bank accounts. But how will we collect the money after the students graduate? We are running a tight ship as more than 50% students in the college belong to reserved categories," said MP Joshi, principal, Chetana College. Joshi said until now the college has never demanded fees from the students who applied for fee waiver.
The state department for social welfare and special assistance, which is responsible for scholarships and fee benefits to SC students, insisted that it has cleared most of the arrears. "Except for a few thousand cases having issues we have cleared all our dues."
Santosh Gangurde from Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena, who had filed the complaint said that the colleges should not trouble students during examinations. "The colleges should display an altruistic behaviour rather than a commercial one," he said.