The State government’s decision to enforce the Karnataka Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Determination of Fee) Act, 2006 has run into a controversy now.
The government had stepped into the system of conducting CET in 1994 following the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Unnikrishnan and others v/s State of Andhra Pradesh the previous year. According to officials who were involved in conducting the CET, the judgment in the Unnikrishnan case was a watershed. “That was a landmark judgment due to which the CET system came into existence. The judgment clearly said that where there are government and private colleges, there must be a uniform system with a concept of government and private fees,” said a former official of KEA. Though the judgment applies to all states, Karnataka was the first to implement it by starting CET.
In 2006, the then government framed an act following the Supreme Court judgment in the case of TMA Pai Foundation v/s State of Karnataka in 2002. An 11-judge Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice B M Kripal had come out with a judgment which called for scrapping the existing system of Common Entrance Test (CET) and the framing of a new Act.
Till 2005, the government and private professional college managements used to sign consensual agreements by deciding the fee structure and seat sharing for that particular year. In 2003, the Supreme Court, in its judgment on the case of Islamic Academy of Education and others v/s State of Karnataka, sought to regulate admissions to professional courses through two committees. One of these panels would oversee admissions and the other would approve the fee structure in professional educational institutions, pending enactment of an appropriate law by Parliament.
“The Supreme Court’s judgment in the TMA Pai Foundation case effectively said the verdict in the Unnikrishnan case was not good,” said a retired official.
According to officials who were involved in conducting CET, the government framed the 2006 Act in a bid to the comply with the 2002 SC judgment. However, they added that if the existing Act was abolished, the only solution is to enact a legislation to negate the 2002 SC judgment.
Ready to Increase Seats in UVCE: BU V-C
Bangalore University V-C B Thimme Gowda told Express that the number of seats will be increased in University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (UVCE), the only government engineering college in Bangalore, if the government releases development grants. “If the State government gives us grants, we will increase enough seats to match 2-3 government colleges,” Prof Gowda said.