Hyderabad: In what is seen as a step towards checking misuse of the provision for management quota in medical colleges in the State, the High Court of Judicature for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on Thursday stayed the Telangana government’s decision to hike tuition fee for PG Super-specialty courses under management quota from the current academic year. The court granted two weeks’ time to government and other respondents to file a counter affidavit. The case is again posted for hearing on September 6.
High Court stays fee hike for PG super-specialty courses
It may be mentioned here that the Telangana government, through GO-78, gave its nod to enhance fee to Rs 25 lakh in all private minority and non-minority medical colleges in the State. A PG medical aspirant filed writ petition (WP 29938/2018) on August 20 and the case came up for hearing. Sama Sandeep Reddy, legal counsel for the petitioner, argued that said GO was issued in a hasty manner after the completion of the 1st round of counselling, after students reported to the concerned college and after they paid first year fee in terms of the old fee structure.
Exploiting the said situation, the private medical colleges are treating the entire Super-specialty seats as management quota seats and are accordingly collecting the tuition fee. In terms of G.O. Ms No. 78 issued on August 14, the hike in the annual tuition fee structure for the Private Medical Un-Aided Minority and Non-Minority Professional Institutions for the academic year 2018-19 was in the range of 233% to 327%," the court was told.
Also, the Government of Telangana deliberately and mischievously omitted to upload copy of the impugned government order on its website with a mala fide intention to prevent the public from accessing the same and for availing appropriate legal remedy against the impugned GO.
The impugned Government Order has been passed without any recommendation from the Telangana Admission and Fee Regulatory Committee (T AFRC), which is the regulatory body for fixing the fee. According to Sandeep Reddy, the High Court observed that as the general election was approaching, it appears that the Government of Telangana seems to be eager to please private college managements.
The High Court also made an observation that G O Ms No 78 dated 14.08.2018 was issued without the recommendation of the Admission and Fee Regulatory Committee and as such the same is against the Supreme Court orders. As such the High Court has stayed fee hike GO for a period of two weeks. Meanwhile, the court has directed the petitioner advocate Sandeeep Reddy Sama to issue notices to private medical colleges.
However, the HRDA (Healthcare Reforms Doctors Association) welcomed the court decision and stated that it would bring much-needed relief to PG medical aspirants. Dr K Mahesh, president of HRDA, wanted the government to withdraw the fee hike decision as rules were not followed.
He reiterated that fee revision needs to be approved by T AFRC (Telangana Admission and Fee Regulatory Committee).
The exorbitant fee structure would have dealt a big blow to meritorious PG students to pursue higher studies, Mahesh felt. It may be noted that fee enhancement move drew the ire of PG medical aspirants and doctors fraternity with HRDA, a body comprising working and junior doctors from government and private hospitals, bringing the issue to the notice of the government.
It also faulted authorities for clubbing convener and management quota seats in private medical colleges leading to confusion among students. The doctors’ forum wanted MCC (Medical Counselling Committee) and KNR University of Health Sciences (KNRUHS) to differentiate and notify convener and management quota Super-specialty PG seats at the earliest according to MCI Post-Graduate Medical Education Regulations.