Upholding a single judge’s order, a Division Bench of the Madras High Court has held that Annamalai University near Chidambaram, which came under the control of the State government by an Act in 2013, is “not a government university” and would not come under the purview of the Fee Fixation Committee.
Dismissing a batch of appeals filed by medical students challenging collection of higher fees for various courses than what was collected in other State-run medical colleges, the Bench comprising Justices Huluvadi G. Ramesh and M.V. Muralidharan said the Capitation Fee Act, 1992 would not apply to the university and it was also empowered to fix the fees as prescribed by the Syndicate.
When the university was about to be closed due to its financial condition during 2012-13, the government took charge “in order to keep it alive”. The said act of the government “will not make the university a government university. Therefore, it cannot be said that the university is a State-run university,” the judges held.
The batch of pleas was filed by students contending that since the university was under the control of the government, they were required to pay the fees prescribed in the prospectus, which was determined by the Senate, and not as prescribed by the government.
However, the judges observed, “In a situation where the university is under deficit financing, the question of profiteering or commercialising the education by the university will not arise.” They also pointed out that the university or its constituent colleges were not included in the Government Order constituting the Fee Fixation Committee and it showed that the university was “not profiteering or commercialising the education”.
Since the committee never ventured out to fix the fees for the courses run by the university, the judges held that the question of invocation of Capitation Fee Act, 1992 did not arise.
dinathanthi newspaper 03/10/2016 : http://www.dinathanthiepaper.in/firstpage.aspx