If the state government is really interested in protecting the rights of students, it should issue instructions to all private medical schools not to charge fees in excess of what has been prescribed by statutory authorities, a said the Karnataka High Court.
A divisional bench comprising Judge B. Veerappa and Judge KS Hemalekha issued the directions while allowing motions filed by Harish G. and 28 other students from the city’s Rajarajeshwari Medical College.
The petitioning students, who had joined the MBBS course in 2017-18, had asked the college to refund the excess fees collected from them during the 2017-2021 period contrary to the fees set by the Admissions Oversight Committee (AOC ) put in place. according to law by the government.
“They are running the establishment for the purpose of marketing education to students, like a money-making machine, which is unconscionable,” the bench observed while refusing to accept the claim made on behalf of of the college administration that “some of the students had paid the surcharge voluntarily”.
“If the institution comes forward for the education of students with good intentions, in all fairness, it [management of Rajarajeshwari medical college] should have ordered students not to pay the excess fees,” the bench said while observing that “if they really maintain transparency, they should not have accepted the excess fees and, as an institution of teaching, should act as a “guru”.
Observing that it is high time for the state government to issue general instructions to private medical institutes against the collection of excess, the bench ordered the college to refund the excess fees collected from the requesting students with interest at 6% in accordance with the order issued by the AOC in October 2018.
The bench also noted that in March this year the High Court dismissed the petition filed by the college, which had questioned the legality of the order made by the AOC to return the excess costs with interest of 6%.
While advising the college to leave no room for contempt proceedings to be brought against him, the bench gave the college two weeks to repay the excess fees with interest.