Medical colleges cannot charge 5 years fee for 4.5 years MBBS course: High Court
Hyderabad: In a major respite to MBBS students, the Telangana High Court has recently declared the state’s permission as “arbitrary and illegal” wherein it allowed the private medical colleges to collect MBBS fee for 5 years while the course's duration is 4.5 years. Warning the concerned private medical colleges that stringent action could be initiated against them under the Andhra Pradesh Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Prohibition of Capitation Fee) Act-1983, the court further directed the institutes to collect tuition fee only for the stipulated duration for MBBS course. The order was passed by the division bench of Justices MS Ramachandra Rao and K Lakshman who found fault with the state government for blatantly accepting the recommendation of the Telangana Admissions and Fee Regulatory Commission (TAFRC) for charging the MBBS fees for 5 years. As per the Medical Council of India Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997, the duration of MBBS course is four-and-a-half years. Noting the petition filed by one concerned students who assailed the action of Kaloji Narayana Rao University of Health Sciences, Warangal of overcharging, the bench made its observations in the case. In 2018 as well, the petitioner had challenged the GO No 120 in 2017 which enabled the collection of the annual tuition fee for MBBS course prescribed for five academic years instead of duration fixed by the MCI. During the recent hearing, in response to the petition, the Fee Regulatory Commission contended that the fee for 5 years is being collected because the colleges have to conduct extra classes for failed students and those who were short of attendance. Despising this contention, the bench stated that it appeared that the government harboured the assumption that all students who get admission to the MBBS course were likely to fail and would require an additional six months of study. The court observed:
“Such presumption is wholly without any basis because only some of the students might fail and require to be provided additional study period, but on that account all students cannot be charged tuition fee for five years when the course of study as fixed by the Medical Council of India is only four-and-a-half years."Terming the decision to allow the collection of fees for an extra half-a-year as “baffling”, the bench stated that it was most unfortunate on part of the TAFRC, whose duty it is to protect the interests of students and to ensure that they are not overcharged by the private unaided professional institutions, reports Deccan Chronicle.
“It was unfortunate that rules framed under GO MS No. 6 of Higher Education did not provide an opportunity either to students or parents association before the TAFRC decides upon the contentions of private medical colleges association. …This deprives students and parents of any scope to protect their interests over fee fixation.. …Neither the State government nor TAFRC seem to be bothered about this serious omission in the rules.The TAFRC contended that, in the combined state of AP and new state of Telangana, fee was being collected for five years. Supporting the TAFRC’s recommendation for collection of fee for five years, the government filed an affidavit stating that medical colleges would not charge extra for medicos who have to undergo classes for six more months due to securing less than 35% marks in internal assessment or those failing in final examination, reports Hindu. In the order, the bench asserted that any violation shall stipulate action under the AP Educational Institutions (Regulation of admission and prohibition of capitation fee) Act, 1983 against the private medical colleges, adds TNIE. The Andhra Pradesh Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Prohibition of Capitation Fee) Act, 1983 provides for regulation of admission into Educational Institutions and to prohibit the collection of Capitation Fee in the State of Andhra Pradesh. Medical Dialogues had recently reported that pointing towards the increasing inflation rate and institutional expenses, the Private Medical and Dental Colleges Association in the state has pressed for a 5 percent fee hike in MBBS and BDS courses citing that the last increase was made in 2016. This comes at a time when the Telangana Admission and Fee Regulatory Committee (TAFRC) is going to revise the fees for these UG courses. Read Also: Telangana Private medical colleges demand MBBS, BDS fee hike; medicos appeal for rebate