Puducherry, June 17: Puducherry medical students got a relief after Madras High Court ordered the four self-financing deemed universities of Puducherry to admit students for their post-graduate medical courses at an annual fee of Rs 10 lakhs.
These universities previously charged 50 lakh as a fee per individual, which was unaffordable for every individual to pay for the degree. With an aim to get deserving students an admission at lower cost and taking the case to Madras High Court, the Pondicherry lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi yesterday said “Today is the day of reckoning. The court hearing will be Justice vs. Commerce. The battle is between Parents and deserving medical students vs. Deemed Universities in Medical Education with Money Power”.
UGC (University Grants Commission) and the HRD (Human Resource Development) Ministry was called on short-term order by a bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sunder to urgently set up a fee committee to examine and fix the fees structure for these deemed universities.
The students, who have already cleared their tests for the post graduate medical courses but were not able to secure the admission owing to the excessive fees, where asked by the bench to take admissions by June 19 evening and start attending their classes from 20th June.
The students would pay the differential fee, assuming any, to the courses after the same is chosen by the charge board of trustees set up by the HRD service and the UGC.
The court requested drastic slicing of the expenses charged by the self-financing deemed universities on the petitioners dispute that "the expenses for the PG courses in private medical colleges is Rs 5.50 lakh per annum in for the state quota students and Rs 14 lakh for those from the management quota."
The bench said "This court cannot shut its eyes to impediments in the way of individual hearing by young students. This Court can take note of the facts pleaded by a public spirited citizen and on its own motion pass orders to redress the grievances of the student community".
The bench passed the order in an additional customary circumstance days after the deemed universities had shut the admission in spite of many seats staying empty attributable to the student's failure in arranging the huge fees.
The court dismisses the self-financing deemed universities dispute that they charge such an immense expense to give much better facilities to students. The bench said, "When self-financed private medical colleges can survive charging fees between Rs 5.50 lakh to Rs 14 lakh, we find it difficult to accept that fee of Rs 40 lakhs to Rs 50 lakh per annum is reasonable". The court asked the HRD ministry and the UGC to set up the fee panel immediately and urgently.
Posting the matter for further hearing on July 14, the bench said, "There is an immense urgency and we expect that the UGC and HRD ministry shall forthwith constitute a committee to regulate the fees chargeable by the self-financed deemed universities after giving all stakeholders including the universities adequate opportunity of representation".