The High Court on Tuesday gave the Karnataka government four weeks to make up its mind on implementing a 2006 law that lays down a procedure to fix fees in professional colleges.
The Karnataka Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Determination of Fee) Act of 2006 has remained unimplemented in the state for eight years, and the Karnataka Unaided Private Engineering Colleges Association had filed a petition against the delay.
The state, after putting the act on hold, had not come up with an alternative system, a division bench comprising Justice K L Manjunath and Justice Ravi Malimath observed.
They said it was the duty of the government to implement the act in the absence of an alternative system, and colleges shouldn’t suffer because of the government’s neglect.
The association had also sought directions to the government to implement the recommendations of the fee fixation committee headed by former High Court judge Ajit Gunjal.
The committee, formed in 2013, had submitted a report, which also the government put on hold following a huge public outcry against the “high” fee structure recommended. The bench observed that the act was passed in 2006 and the gazetted notification was also issued eight years ago, but the government continued to dilly dally.
The Common Entrance Test for 2014-15 is scheduled for May 1, 2 and 3, and confusion will continue unless the government acts on the court’s directions.
Left to itself, the government is not in a mood to take any decision till the elections are done. At a meeting called by the Higher Education Department to discuss the private college managements’ demand for a fee hike, officials said they needed to talk to the CM first.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) has dispatched brochures and application forms for CET 2014, using data from last year.
When contacted, M K Panduranga Setty, secretary, Karnataka Unaided Private Engineering Colleges Association, said, “We are firm about our demands, but the principal secretary said he could take a decision only after speaking to the chief minister.”
However, by the time the private managements fix a meeting with Siddaramaiah, the CET process will be over. In Karnataka, elections are due on April 17 and the results will be out on May 16.
According to Higher Education Department sources, Siddaramaiah is likely to be available some weeks after the results are announced. “Restrictions will remain in force even after the elections. So, we may not be able to fix a meeting with him till the end of May,” a source said.
Meanwhile, colleges will receive CET brochures and applications by Thursday.
April 5 is the last date for CET 2014 candidates to submit their filled applications.
“The last date to receive them will be extended because of the delay in sending the forms to the colleges,” said a senior KEA official.
What the Act Says
Section 6 of the Karnataka Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Determination of fee) Act states the government should form a Fee Regulatory Committee, headed by a former High Court judge, to fix the fees in private unaided institutions. Section 7 lays down the factors to be taken into account to determine fees. These include (a) location (b) nature of the course (c) infrastructure provided (d) administration and maintenance costs (e) a reasonable surplus for growth, and (f) any other factors the committee may deem fit.