Thursday, Sep 25, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
In a 2-1 majority order, the Bench observed that the order was passed "in complete defiance" of the court's interim direction issued earlier for fixing the fee for Government seats at Rs.1.50 lakhs. Besides, the majority judgment delivered by the Chief Justice, J. L. Gupta, and Justice M. Ramachandran held that the Government could not force the self-financing medical colleges to collect an annual fees of Rs.11,825 from the students. The majority judgment pointed out that the result of the order was inequity because the management would have to suffer loss. The fixation of the fee at Rs.11,824 would place a heavy burden on the petitioner, the court observed.
The court stay order will remain in force until the committee appointed by the Government to fix the fee gave its opinion or until the writ petition was disposed of. The order was passed on a petition filed by the Pushpagiri Medical Society, which runs the Thiruvalla-based Pushpagiri Institute of Medical Science and Research Centre.
In his dissenting order, Justice R. Basant opined that the Government Order did not deserve to be stayed until the committee set up by the Government for fixing the fee took a decision or the petition was finally disposed of. According to the judge, if the order was stayed, some students already admitted to the Government quota would find it difficult to raise the balance amount to be paid to the managements.
There was a difference of opinion between the Chief Justice, J.L. Gupta, and Justice R. Basant who formed a Division Bench when the case was taken up in the morning. So, a Full Bench was constituted in the afternoon.
The counsel for the petitioner contended that the Government Order on the fee structure was violative of the recent ruling of the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court. He contended that the ruling did not empower the State Government to unilaterally fix the fee structure in self-financing colleges.
On other hand, the Supreme Court had held that the fee structure should be modified or approved by a committee headed by a retired High Court Judge. It was also contended that the Supreme Court had not stayed or held void the High Court's earlier interim order allowing the petitioner to collect an annual fee of Rs. 1.5 lakhs from the students admitted to the Government quota.
The counsel also submitted that if there were any poor students who could not afford to pay the annual tuition fee of Rs. 1.50 lakhs, the management would provide concessions and scholarships to such students.
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