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SC stays Telangana HC directive to stop levying 5 years’ tuition on MBBS students

The stay was granted while issuing notice in a plea challenging the High Court decision by the Telangana State Private Medical and Dental College Management Association.

Meera Emmanuel

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Telangana High Court’s recent directive restraining private medical colleges from collecting 5 years’ worth of tuition fees from MBBS students, given that the standard duration of study is only 4.5 years.

The stay was granted while issuing notice in a plea challenging the High Court decision by the Telangana State Private Medical and Dental College Management Association.

The petitioner argues that the High Court’s January 8 verdict contravened the Supreme Court’s 2019 judgment in Vasavi Engg. College Parents Assn. v. State of Telangana, wherein it was cautioned that the courts must be slow to adjudge the validity of executive decisions, and in particular, the manner in which the proceedings of the Telangana Admission and Fee Regulatory Committee (TARFC) should be conducted.

The petitioner highlights that the Supreme Court had then emphasised that where the recommendation of expert bodies have been accepted by the Government, the Courts ought not to interfere unless the decision suffers from arbitrariness, irrationality, perversity or if it violates the law.

Therefore, the petitioner association argues that the High Court had erred in declaring the TARFC’s recommendation to levy 5 years’ fees for MBBS students and the State Governments 2017 notifications accepting the same as illegal and unconstitutional.

The petitioner argues that the High Court was wrong to arrive at this conclusion, particularly since it has not found any fault in the process of decision making followed by the TARFC and the government. Moreover, objection is also registered to the High Court having passed the adverse verdict when the TARFC was not impleaded as a party.

The petitioner also argues that the High Court had neglected to consider that it is not just 4.5 years of study that the authorities must take into account while levying the fee for the MBBS course. In this regard, the petition states,

“… medical colleges run continuously irrespective of the length of study in each year and the expenditure incurred is for the entire year, not a part of it. The teachers are paid salaries for the whole year and the infrastructure of the college is also maintained for the whole year.

While the final year students undertake only one semester in their final year, all other batches run for the whole year. Incidentally, there are also instances where some of the students are required to undergo additional classes, examinations and clinical postings for an extended duration of 6 years, and it may not be foreseeable in the beginning of the academic year as to which students will be required to do so.”

Moreover, the petitioner also points out that in 2016, another single judge of the Telangana High Court had dismissed a plea challenging the fee structure followed by medical colleges in the State. In view of the same, it is argued,

“… the Hon’ble High Court should have referred the matter to a larger bench instead of passing the Impugned Order without even referring to the said judgment dated 25.01.2016.

In view of these submissions, the petitioner-association has urged that the Court set aside the Telangana High Court’s January 8 verdict.

Advocates R Venkataramani and Ramesh Allanki appeared for the petitioner.

[Read the Petition]

Telangana State Private Medical and Dental College Management Association - SC petition.pdf
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