Ensure proper mechanism for Scholarship of Medical, dental students: Kerala HC directs state
Ernakulam: In order to ensure that the Post Matric Scholarships amounts for medical students are not being misappropriated, the Kerala High Court recently directed the State to transfer the scholarship fund of students whose annual family income exceeds Rs 2.5 lakh directly to the accounts of managements of medical and dental colleges.However, in case of students whose Annual Family Income...
Ernakulam: In order to ensure that the Post Matric Scholarships amounts for medical students are not being misappropriated, the Kerala High Court recently directed the State to transfer the scholarship fund of students whose annual family income exceeds Rs 2.5 lakh directly to the accounts of managements of medical and dental colleges.
However, in case of students whose Annual Family Income is Rs.2,50,000 or less, the Court noted that the Union Government shoulders 60% of the responsibility of the Scholarship and one of the conditions of the Centre is to credit the amount directly to the accounts of the students.
Therefore, the Court observed that this scheme cannot be modified and directed the State to remit the applicable Scholarship amount to the designated accounts of the students.
It also directed the State to "ensure, through a properly constituted mechanism, that said amounts are paid by them into the accounts of the Colleges/Managements within a period of one week or so thereafter."
Such observations came from the HC bench comprising of Justice Devan Ramachandran while it was considering the pleas by several Associations of Managements of Medical and Dental Colleges.
They informed the Court that the State along with the Union Government offers Post Matric Scholarships to the students belonging to Scheduled Castes for their studies.
As per the criterion under the Scholarship Scheme, certain fixed sums are paid to the students directly, by making credit into their designated Bank Accounts. However, the petitioner managements contended that many a time, these are not transferred by the Government to the account of the Colleges and thus misappropriated or used for their own private purposes. They further informed the Court that in this way they are being put to unnecessary prejudice and trouble.
They also informed the Court that this could have been easily rectified, had the Government of Kerala remitted the Scholarship Amounts directly into the account of the Managements, so as to avert the opportunity to misappropriate it, even temporarily.
On the other hand, referring to Scheme of Scholarship, the Government Pleader informed the Court that the Union Government 60% of the Scholarship and it has placed a specific condition that same shall be remitted only into the account of the students and not to that of the Managements. The Counsel for the State further informed the HC that if the State violates the condition then the Government of India will withdraw their responsibility under the Scheme and this would put every eligible student into great prejudice.
However, Sri.Kurian George Kannanthanam, a counsel for the petitioners intervened and referred to the fact that the scheme of the Union Government applies only to those students whose Annual Family Income from all sources does not exceed Rs.2,50,000. Therefore he submitted that this scholarship has been offered to other students as well, who have larger family income and in this case the liability is shouldered by the State Government itself. Therefore, the counsel argued that in that respect at least, the Scheme would not stop in the process of granting the prayers of the Managements i.e. the amount can be transferred into their accounts.
Although the Government Pleader confirmed this, she also submitted that this would give rise to two categories of students, one who receives the Scholarship into their designated accounts and the other who would obtain it only by credit into the account of the Managements. Therefore, the Government Counsel urged the Court to make a fitting decision in this regard.
After considering the submissions, the HC bench asked the Assistant Solicitor General, for the purpose of clarity and certainty, if the Union Government would shoulder the responsibility under the Scheme even for a student whose Annual Family Income exceeds Rs 2.5 lakh and if they would consider paying the Scholarship into the Bank Accounts of the Management, rather than crediting them into the students' Accounts.
In response, the ASG informed the Court that the concerned Scheme had been formed with great amount of care and thought and submitted that none of its conditions can be varied or modified.
Clarifying that the court cannot modify the conditions of the Scheme, the bench mentioned in its order that the Scholarship amount for the students whose family income is less than Rs 2.5 lakh shall be credited in their designated account. However, the State shall monitor that these funds are being properly utilized.
In the case of students whose family income exceeds Rs 2.5 lakh, the Court directed the State to transfer the amount into the accounts of Managements/ Colleges directly.
The order stated,
"(a) Government of Kerala will remit the applicable Scholarship amount to the students whose Annual Family Income is Rs.2,50,000/- or less into their designated accounts; but will ensure, through a properly constituted mechanism, that said amounts are paid by them into the accounts of the Colleges/Managements within a period of one week or so thereafter.
(b) As far as those students whose Annual Family Income is more than Rs.2,50,000/- and if they are paid Scholarship either under Ext.P5 or under any other Scheme by the Government of Kerala, they will remit the said amount into the account of the Managements/Colleges directly; however, intimating the students of such credit immediately thereupon."
To read the order, click on the link below.
Barsha completed her MA from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at email@example.com.