SC agrees to hear plea challenging NMC Fee order today
New Delhi: While considering the plea challenging the validity of National Medical Commission's fee order for implementing Government fees in 50 percent Private Medical Colleges, the Supreme Court has agreed to take up the matter today.The top court bench agreed to hear the matter on September 23 after the senior counsel Manindar Singh on Thursday requested for the court for...
New Delhi: While considering the plea challenging the validity of National Medical Commission's fee order for implementing Government fees in 50 percent Private Medical Colleges, the Supreme Court has agreed to take up the matter today.
The top court bench agreed to hear the matter on September 23 after the senior counsel Manindar Singh on Thursday requested for the court for urgent listing.
Meanwhile, the Central Government has filed a counter affidavit in the matter on Thursday i.e. on September 21, 2022.
The issue concerns the Office Memorandum issued by NMC back in February 2022. In that order, the Apex medical body had clarified that the fees of 50 per cent seats in the private medical colleges would be at par with government medical colleges of that particular State/UT.
"After extensive consultations, it has been decided that the fee of the 50 per cent seats in the private medical colleges and deemed universities should be at par with the fee in the government medical colleges of that particular State and UT. The benefit of this fee structure would be first made available to those candidates who have availed government quota seats, but are limited to the extent of 50 per cent of the total sanctioned strength of the respective medical college/deemed university," NMC had mentioned in the notification.
"However, if the government quota seats are less than 50 per cent of total sanctioned seats, the remaining candidates would avail the benefit of a fee equivalent to the government medical college fees, based purely on the merit," the Commission had added.
While such a move definitely brought relief to a section of medical aspirants who choose to leave India and move abroad for cheaper medical education, such a rule fails to take into consideration the plights of the private medical college managements who pay lakhs and crores of money to set up the infrastructure.
Therefore, upset with the NMC order, the management of private medical colleges had urged the Union Health Ministry to direct NMC for withdrawing the diktat. The Apex medical body, however, did not withdraw its decision and consequently, a host of private medical colleges and deemed to be universities had approached the Madras HC seeking relief. Similar pleas were made before other High Courts and the Supreme Court as well.
Association Of Health Sciences Institutes (AHSI) had made the plea before the Supreme Court and argued that the top court in various judgments had reiterated the fact that the method for fixing the fees, would be subject to considering various guidelines such as facilities available in the college, infrastructure, age of investment made, plans for expansion, etc.
In their plea, the association highlighted, "BECAUSE the Impugned OM is entirely arbitrary, ultra-vires and unconstitutional. It has no existence in the eyes of law. It is contrary to the declarations made by this Hon'ble Court prohibiting any such stipulations which have been sought to be imposed by the Respondent on the fundamental rights guaranteed to the private unaided educational institutions such as the Petitioner, under Part III of the Constitution of India."
Challenging the NMC fee order, the association had contended that the private unaided institutions can fix the fees being charged annually from the students. However, this fee fixation gets monitored by the Fee Committee in order to ensure that there is no profiteering and the fee charged. This way, the private unaided institutions can get back the expenditure spent along with reasonable profit / surplus for its expansions.
While considering the matter on September 5, the top court bench comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli had granted the NMC two weeks' time for filing a counter affidavit in this regard.
As per the latest media report by Edex Live, the Central Government has filed a counter affidavit in this regard on Thursday i.e. on September 21, 2022.
The Tribune adds that after considering the request of Senior Counsel Manindar Singh for an urgent listing, the top court bench agreed to take up the matter on Friday, i.e. on September 23, 2022.
Previously, while considering similar pleas, the Kerala High Court had clarified that the concerned Fee order will not be applicable in Kerala. Similarly, the Madras High Court had asked NMC to reconsider its decision and issue fresh guidelines as necessary. In its order, the Madras HC expressed concern over the possibility of several seats going vacant because of the high fees in the other 50 percent seats in the self-financed institutes.
Meanwhile, recently the Madhya Pradesh Government decided to implement the NMC fee order for the admission to Postgraduate medical courses and became the first date for agreeing to the NMC terms. While Madhya Pradesh agreed for its implementation, the private medical colleges in Maharashtra have demanded subsidy for the implementation of the NMC fee diktat.
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.