Rashtreeya Sikshana Samithi Trust Etc. vs Committee For Fixation of Fee Structure Of Private Professional Colleges & Ors. Etc.

Rashtreeya Sikshana Samithi Trust Etc. vs Committee For Fixation of Fee Structure Of Private Professional Colleges & Ors. Etc.

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


 Non-Reportable
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
Civil Appeal Nos. 3978-3995 of 2017
Rashtreeya Sikshana Samithi Trust Etc.
 …Appellant(s)

Versus
Committee For Fixation of Fee Structure Of
Private Professional Colleges & Ors. Etc.
... Respondent(s)
W I T H
Civil Appeal Nos. 4051-4057 of 2017
Civil Appeal Nos.4076-4077 of 2017
Civil Appeal No.4067 of 2017
Civil Appeal Nos.4222-4239 of 2017
Civil Appeal Nos.3997-4004 of 2017
Civil Appeal Nos. 4058-4964 of 2017
Civil Appeal Nos.4084-4215 of 2017
Civil Appeal No. 4006 of 2017
Civil Appeal No. 4008 of 2017
Civil Appeal Nos.4015-4022 of 2017
Civil Appeal Nos.4024-4037 of 2017
Civil Appeal Nos.4040-4048 of 2017
1 | P a g e
O R D E R
1. Orders passed by Fee Fixation Committee for
undergraduate medical courses for the academic years
2004-2005, 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 were challenged
by the students and private medical colleges in the High
Court. The High Court allowed the writ petitions filed by
the students and dismissed the writ petitions filed by the
management of private medical colleges. Notice was
issued by this Court in the Special Leave Petition on
09.07.2010. On 16.08.2010, the judgment of the High
Court was stayed subject to the condition that the
private medical colleges would refund fee to the
students in terms of the order of High Court and subject
to the condition that the students furnish bank
guarantees.
2. On 06.08.2014, this Court noticed its earlier
judgments which have dealt with the imperative need to
curb the practice of levying capitation fee. In spite of
repeated directions issued by the Court to stop the
menace of capitation fee, this Court observed that the
2 | P a g e
hard reality of charging exorbitant capitation fee was
very much prevalent. When it was brought to the notice
of this Court that there is a legislation in the States of
Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh
to curb the menace of charging capitation fee, the Court
expressed its concern that in spite of the legislations, the
said practice has not been effectively stopped. In order
to put in place effective measures to end the practice of
charging capitation fee, Shri Salman Khurshid, learned
senior counsel was appointed as Amicus Curiae to make
a detailed analysis of the problem and suggest an
appropriate mechanism by which the charging of
capitation fee can be stalled. A direction was given to
the States of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and
Maharashtra to furnish required information to the
learned Amicus Curiae, especially regarding complaints
received, action taken report and any other data
available on the aspect of levying capitation fee. Shri.
Mohit Kumar Shah, Advocate-on-Record was requested
to assist the learned Amicus Curiae and was directed to
create a website wherein email address and postal
3 | P a g e
address could be furnished exclusively to gather more
information from the public at large who were/are
directly affected and who have relevant information
relating to the collection of capitation fee. The State
Governments were requested to assist the Advocate-onRecord for creation of the website and email address and
get them published in the local newspapers, both
vernacular and English. The learned Amicus Curiae was
directed to place on record, a report based on the
information gathered from public and other sources.
3. Pursuant to the order dated 06.08.2014, the
learned Amicus Curiae filed an interim status report on
07.10.2014 in which it was stated that the situation in
State of Karnataka has improved considerably
subsequent to the directions and pronouncements of this
Court. This Court was informed by the learned Amicus
Curiae that a list of 20 queries was forwarded to the
States of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and
Maharashtra for their responses on certain material
aspects. In the light of comments and reports of the
State Governments, it was suggested by the learned
4 | P a g e
Amicus Curiae that a response of the Medical Council of
India and Dental Council of India to the comments of
State Governments should be obtained. In the said
Status Report, the learned Amicus Curiae stated as
under: -
“From preliminary discussions it appears
that the legal structure put in place as a
result of the judgments of the Supreme
Court continue to suffer some unregulated
areas such as the admissions made by selffinancing colleges and Deemed universities.
There is a feeling of lack of adequate
transparency in the matter of entrance
examinations conducted by groups of
institutions that form associations for the
purpose of conducting entrance
examinations. Attempts to shed light on this
such as a PIL filed before the Hon’ble Madras
High Court did not reach any productive
solution as no complainants were willing to
come forward. This remains a major
impediment in implementation of the legal
regime as candidates do not wish to
jeopardise their careers.”
5 | P a g e
This Court on 16.08.2016 examined the Interim Status
Report in detail, and directed the Registry to furnish a
copy of the Report to the Chief Secretaries /
Administrator of the respective States / Union Territories
and to the representative of the students who were
directed to forward their responses to the Amicus Curiae
directly. The appeals were directed to be listed for
further directions on the Interim Status Report
thereafter.
4. The matter was listed for hearing on 20.04.2022
when this Court requested Ms. Lubna Naaz to substitute
Mr. Mohit Kumar Shah, who has been elevated as Judge
of Patna High Court, for carrying out the directions
relating to the creation of the website with the
assistance of the Registry. The learned Amicus Curiae
was requested to give suggestions regarding the steps
to be taken for effective compliance of the directions
that were already given by this Court on 06.08.2014.
5. Notice was issued to the National Informatic Centre
(‘NIC’) on 28.04.2022 for facilitating the creation of
website. On the same day, notice was also issued to
6 | P a g e
Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and
the State of Telangana was also directed to be the
impleaded as a party-respondent. These appeals were
directed to be listed on 04.05.2022 on which day
submissions of the learned Amicus Curiae, learned
counsel appearing for the State Governments and
private medical colleges were heard. The learned
Amicus Curiae was directed to take note of the
submissions made by the learned counsel for curbing
the illegal practice of charging capitation fee and submit
a note along with the suggestions. The learned Amicus
Curiae has compiled all the suggestions made by the
counsel appearing for medical colleges and State
Governments and also given his comments.
6. Before we proceed to deal with the suggestions
made for effectively stopping the practice of charging
capitation fee by medical colleges, it is necessary to
refer to how this Court has previously dealt with the evil
practice of charging capitation fee and the immediate
need to stop the practice of collection of capitation fee
by private medical colleges. In TMA Pai Foundation &
7 | P a g e
Ors. v. State of Karnataka
1
, this court observed that a
rational model should be adopted by the management,
which would not be entitled to charge a capitation fee.
Appropriate machinery can be devised by the State or
university to ensure that no capitation fee is charged
and there is no profiteering, though a reasonable surplus
for the furtherance of education is permissible.
7. While clarifying the judgment of this Court in TMA
Pai Foundation
2
, this Court in Islamic Academy of
Education and Anr. v. State of Karnataka and Ors.
3
observed that once fee is fixed by the Committee, the
institute cannot charge either directly or indirectly any
other amount over and above the amount fixed as fee.
If any other amount is charged, under any other head or
guise, e.g. donations, the same would amount to
charging of capitation fee. The Governments/appropriate
authorities should consider framing appropriate
regulations, if not already framed, whereunder if it is
found that an institution is charging capitation fees or
profiteering, that institution can be appropriately
1 (2002) 8 SCC 481.
2 Supra
3 (2003) 6 SCC 697.
8 | P a g e
penalised and also face the prospect of losing its
recognition/affiliation. In the said judgment, this Court
took note of the fact that the States of Tamil Nadu,
Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have
enacted statutes prohibiting collection of capitation fee
and regulating admission process in professional
colleges. In terms of the provisions of the said Acts, the
management of the professional colleges were
prohibited from charging any amount other than fee
determined under the said Acts. This Court further
observed that the expression “capitation fee” does not
have any fixed meaning. It referred to the definition of
capitation fee in the Tamil Nadu Educational Institutions
(Prohibition of Collection of Capitation Fee) Act, 1992,
which is as follows: -
“Capitation fee means any amount by
whatever name called, paid or collected
directly or indirectly in excess of the fee
prescribed under Section 4;”
8. Lastly, in P.A. Inamdar v. State of
Maharashtra
4
, this Court held that capitation fee
4 (2005) 6 SCC 537.
9 | P a g e
cannot be permitted to be charged and no seat can be
permitted to be appropriated by payment of capitation
fee. This Court observed that it cannot shut its eyes to
the hard realities of commercialization of education and
evil practices being adopted by many institutions to earn
large amounts. This Court was of the opinion that the
method of admission has to be regulated so that the
admissions are based on merit and transparency if the
charging of capitation fee and profiteering has to be kept
in check.
9. In spite of the State Governments enacting
legislations prohibiting the practice of charging
capitation fee and making it an offence, the stark reality
which cannot be ignored is that capitation fee being
charged for admission to medical colleges is prevalent
even today. For the present, by this Order, we are only
concerned with the suggestions that are made by the
learned Amicus Curiae for curbing the menace of
capitation fee, after taking note of the suggestions and
comments of learned counsel appearing for the States,
10 | P a g e
medical colleges and National Medical Council for the
issuance of appropriate directions.
10. Pursuant to orders dated 6.08.2014 and
20.04.2022, Shri Hargurvarinder S. Jaggi, Officer on
Special Duty in the Supreme Court of India, has been
nominated for rendering assistance to learned Amicus
Curiae in the matter of setting up a web portal which
would serve as a platform for the aggrieved persons to
provide information relating to any demand of capitation
fee made by the private medical colleges. Though, we
are informed that no complaint has been received by
any State Government regarding charging of capitation
fee, it was suggested that a web portal under the aegis
of Supreme Court would provide confidence in the public
to furnish any information relating to capitation fee
being charged by private medical colleges. The Ld.
Amicus Curiae further suggested that all candidates
taking the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET)
for undergraduate, postgraduate and super speciality
courses should be informed about the web-portal
wherein complaints with respect to charging of
11 | P a g e
capitation fee can be registered. In addition, a pamphlet
should also be issued to the students and parents
regarding the existence of website at the time of
counselling. The Chief Secretaries of the State
Governments and Union Territories should ensure that
the details of the website are published in English as well
as vernacular newspapers to spread awareness amongst
the public at large. This website could be maintained by
the National Informatics Centre (NIC) under the Ministry
of Electronics and Information Technology.
11. The other suggestions relate to the steps to be
taken by the concerned authorities to prevent the
practice of charging capitation fee. One important
suggestion in this regard is the completion of all rounds
of counselling, including stray vacancies round, at least
two weeks before the last date for completion of the
admission process as per the schedule fixed by the
National Medical Council and Dental Council of India. It
was brought to our notice that names of ten students for
each seat which remains to be filled in stray vacancies
round are sent by the competent authority from which
12 | P a g e
the private medical colleges are given liberty to make
admissions on the basis of merit. For the purpose of
ensuring transparency in the process, the names of
students which are recommended by the authority for
admission in the stray round vacancy have to be made
public along with the rank allotted to them in the NEET
exam. It was suggested that the admissions should be
made strictly on the basis of merit and in the event of
any admission to the contrary, suitable action shall be
taken against the private medical colleges. We are in
agreement with the suggestions made by the learned
Amicus Curiae.
12. Another point made by the learned counsel relates
to fee that is charged by the private medical colleges in
the guise of additional charges such as establishment
fee, room rents/hostel fee, mess fee, bus fee, library fee,
laboratory fee, internet charges, special posting fee etc.
It was suggested that the Fee Fixation Committees in the
State should fix a price band for different expenses and
the colleges should be directed not to charge any
amount from students in addition to the prices that are
13 | P a g e
fixed by the Fee Fixation Committee. We see force in the
submission made by the learned counsel on this behalf.
The Fee Fixation Committees have to fix the fee without
leaving any scope for the managements of private
medical colleges to charge any additional fee which is
not part of fee fixed by the Committees. We make it
clear that the Fee Fixation Committees have to take into
account all components of fee proposed to be charged
by the Management while determining the fee to be paid
by the students. For this purpose, assistance can be
sought from the report of Hon’ble Mr. Justice B.N.
Srikrishna dated 26.08.2021 for reviewing the existing
fee structure and for fixing the norms and guidelines for
charging tuition and other fees in which the Committee
has prescribed the parameters and guidelines for the
types of fees to be charged by the institutions
recognized by the AICTE. The report also prescribes the
minimum and maximum fees which includes the tuition
fee, development fee, examination fee and other fees.
13. It was submitted that the managements of private
medical colleges should be directed not to receive fee
14 | P a g e
through cash payment and to prohibit certain private
medical colleges from insisting on payment of fee for
entire course in advance. The latter issue of payment of
fee for the entire course in advance is the subject matter
of another SLP bearing SLP (C) No. 11296 of 2021 titled
JNU Institute for Medical Sciences and Research Centre &
Ors. v. Deepesh Singh Beniwal & Ors., in which this Court
on 23.09.2021 had directed the Ministry of Health and
Family Welfare, Government of India to conduct a
meeting with all the stakeholders to find a solution to the
issue. For the former issue, we are in agreement with the
suggestion that the managements of private medical
colleges should not accept any fees in cash in order to
avoid the charging of capitation fee. It has also been
suggested that the Director General of Health Services
and other concerned authorities of the State
Governments should ensure that the All-India Quota and
State Quota round of counselling is completed strictly in
accordance with the time schedule that is fixed. The
regulatory authorities should be directed to consider
fixing a schedule by which the last round of counselling,
15 | P a g e
that is stray round, is completed at least two weeks
before the last date of closure of admissions.
14. The conspectus of the above discussion would lead
us to the following conclusions: -
(a) A web-portal under the aegis of Supreme Court
has to be set-up wherein any information about
the private medical colleges charging capitation
fees can be furnished by the students. The webportal has to be maintained and regulated by the
National Informatics Centre (NIC) under the
Ministry of Electronics and Information
Technology;
(b) The Chief Secretaries of the States and Union
Territories are directed to publish the details
about the web-portal in the English as well as
vernacular newspapers at the time of admission.
In addition, a pamphlet should be compulsorily
given to the students and their parents at the
time of counselling informing them about the
availability of the web-portal;
16 | P a g e
(c) While fixing the schedule for the admission
process, the National Medical Commission and
the Dental Council of India have to make sure
that the counselling for all the rounds, including
the stray vacancy round, is completed at least
two weeks before the last date of admission;
(d) The names of students who are recommended by
the authority for admission in the stray round
vacancy have to be made public along with rank
allotted to them in the NEET exam. The
admissions should be made strictly on the basis
of merit and in the event of any admission to the
contrary, suitable action shall be taken against
the private medical colleges;
(e) While fixing fee, the Fee Fixation Committees of
the States should take into account all the
components of fee, leaving no scope for
managements to charge any additional amounts
apart from what has been prescribed by the fee
fixation committee from time to time. In the
event that the management intends to charge
17 | P a g e
additional amounts over and above the price
band fixed by the Fee Fixation Committee, or for
any component not included in the structure
fixed by the Fee Fixation Committee, the same
can only be done with the concurrence of the Fee
Fixation Committee;
(f) The management of private medical colleges are
strictly prohibited from accepting payment of
fees in cash, in order to avoid charging of
capitation fee. The students or any other
aggrieved persons are at liberty to report on the
web-portal regarding collection of fees in cash by
any medical colleges;
(g) The Director General of Health Services and
other concerned authorities to the State
Governments should ensure that the All-India
Quota and State Quota rounds of counselling are
completed strictly in accordance with the time
schedule that is fixed.
15. The aforementioned suggestions of the Amicus
Curiae and the learned Counsel for the States and
18 | P a g e
National Medical Council are accepted and directions are
issued accordingly.
16. List these Civil Appeals in July, 2022 for further
hearing.

.....................................J.
 [L. NAGESWARA RAO]
.....................................J.
 [B. R. GAVAI]
New Delhi,
May 19, 2022
19 | P a g e

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