CHENNAI: Despite the State takeover of the Annamalai University, the fee structure prescribed by the government will not be applicable to a medical college affiliated to the varsity, Madras High Court has ruled.
Justice V Ramasubramanian gave the ruling while dismissing a batch of writ petitions from M Aamira Fathima and 189 other students, studying in the second year, challenging the action of Raja Muthiah Medical College, constituent of Anamalai University, in collecting exorbitant fees. The college continued to collect Rs 5.54 lakh for MBBS and Rs 3.50 lakh for BDS.
When the petitioners joined the courses in 2013-14, the University was run by the Founder’s family. However, the government took over the University. When the academic year 2014-15 commenced and the students were notified to pay the same fee paid last year, some of the students filed the present petitions challenging the collection.
Advocate general A L Somayaji, assisted by advocate R Sureshkumar, contended that the mismanagement of the University and its constituent colleges for more than two decades has resulted in all its courses being run only on deficit finance. Hence, the very continuance of the college and the courses will be in jeopardy, if present structure was nullified.
Accepting the contentions, the judge said the existing fee structure was necessitated by the financial position of the college and justified by the income and expenditure account. As on July 31, 2014, the Annamalai University had a negative balance of Rs 385 crore for medical account alone. Even with the annual fee of Rs 5.54 lakh for MBBS and Rs 3.50 lakh for BDS, the University had a short fall of Rs 18 crore during 2013-14.
The government has taken a positive stand that the fee fixed by the University is not with the object of profiteering. The Raja Muthiah College was designated to be a private unaided college supported by the Annamalai University. “But today, it is financially in the ICU and any attempt at reducing the fee structure would destroy the very institution and may result in either the closure of the medical college or the return of the university,” the judge added.