India’s Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice in a petition challenging the validity of the National Medical Commission (NMC) decision, which stipulates that the compensation of 50% seats in Private Medical Colleges & Deemed Universities should be equal to the reimbursement in the Government Medical Commission. Colleges in that State and the territory of the Union.
The Office Memorandum (OM) issued by the NMC on Feb. 3, 2022 mandates that 50% of seats in Private Medical Colleges “should be equal to the reimbursement in the Government Medical Colleges of a particular state. Further, it is intended that the benefit of such fee structure would be made available first to those candidates who have availed of government quota seats, but limited to the extent of 50% of the total sanctioned strength of the respective medical college/deemable university.”
A bench Judges DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli given two weeks to the NMC to file a counter affidavit in the case.
“You’re only trying to challenge the office memorandum?” the bank asked when the matter came up today.
In the TMA Pai case and various other judgments, the position has already been fulfilled, argued the applicants’ counsel.
“In addition, the Kerala Supreme Court has already held the guilty part of the memorandum, but it is only limited to the territory of Kerala,” he argued.
“Why didn’t you move the Calcutta Supreme Court?” the bank asked and the lawyer replied that the NMC board’s operation is pan-India.
Looking for a shorter date, counsel argued that the admission process is just around the corner.
“Admissions are not finalized. You know how long the process takes,” the Bench added quickly.
The petition filed by AHSI (Association Of Health Sciences Institutes) states that the Supreme Court has repeatedly stated in several judgments that the method of determining fees will be subject to consideration of various guidelines, such as facilities available in the college, infrastructure, age of investments made, plans for expansion, etc.
BECAUSE the Defendant OM is completely arbitrary, ultra-vires and unconstitutional. It does not exist in the eyes of the law. It is contrary to the statements of this Hon’ble Court prohibiting such provisions made by the Defendant on the fundamental rights guaranteed to the unaided private educational institutions, such as the Petitioner, under Part III of the Constitution of India”, emphasized the petition.
The guidelines prescribed in the Involved Public Prosecution Service exceed the powers of the NMC and have no legal validity. In fact, the only authority empowered to set medical college fees, according to the petition, is the Fee Fixation Committee in each state, chaired by a retired Supreme Court judge.
“….provisions of the NMC Act, including Section 10(1)(i) thereof, NMC is not authorized to fix the fee or to establish any such provision which has the coercive effect that the characteristics of the Unni Krishnan scheme to be reintroduced [where 50% of the students are to be charged only the Government fee, which was held to be unconstitutional] and not to allow the unassisted private institutions to recover the fee set by the fees committees in a uniform manner from all students to recover the expenses and also a reasonable profit/surplus for its extension.”
The petitioner argues that private institutions can determine the annual fee of the students without assistance. This commitment is subject to the oversight of the fees committee to ensure there are no profiteering and the fee charged – enables the private institutions unassisted to recoup their expenses along with a reasonable profit/surplus for its extensions.
BECAUSE this Honorable Court has granted the right to any unassisted private institution to recover from the students all its expenses and reasonable surpluses/profits in providing higher education, 49 the State or any of its institutions is not permitted to in order to impose any limitation and/or prohibition in any way in this name…… Any institution shall have the right to recover annual fee on that basis from any of the students admitted to the college [other than the NRI seats]. The State cannot interfere in this in any way.”
The NMC’s decision was challenged on these grounds.
Case Title: AHSI Association of Health Sciences Institutes vs Union of India | WP(C) No. 682/2022 X