Perturbed by unabated practice of medical and engineering colleges charging exorbitant capitation fee, the Supreme Court has sought the assistance of former Union law minister Salman Khurshid for putting in place a mechanism to end the menace.
A bench of Justices F M I Kalifulla and Shiva Kirti Singh has requested Khurshid to function as as amicus curiae and adduce a report after making detailed analysis of the subject matter and also suggest appropriate mechanism by which the charging of capitation fee can be effectively stopped.
The court, while hearing a batch of cases involving colleges from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, underscored that the issue of capitation fee was already covered by a Constitution bench in the landmark cases of TMA Pai Foundation and Islamic Academy cases.
It noted that there have been consistent and specific directions in all these judgments that charging of capitation fee was not permissible, even by private unaided institutions imparting education in medical and engineering courses.
“However, we take judicial notice of the hard reality that charging of very high capitation fee is very much prevalent in spite of the said specific observations/directions issued by this court,” said the bench.
On the point of states having their own legislation to crackdown such practices, the court remained unimpressed, saying the need of the hour was to have a comprehensive and in-depth study to curb the practice in toto.
The bench asked the chief secretaries of the states to render all assistance to Khurshid regarding the issue and also to help him with all the data required for preparation of a detailed report.
The court also impleaded the Medical and Dental Councils of India as parties, and sought their response within four weeks.
By a separate judgment in September last year, the SC had held that private technical and medical colleges demanding capitation fee from students was “illegal” and “unethical”. It asked the Centre to make laws to put an end to such practices which deny admission to meritorious financially poor students in those institutions.
The court had said quality of education has gone down in private colleges which are turning into financing institutions. It said government agencies need to introspect on the issue to bring proper legislation.
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