Govt Fee for 50 percent MBBS seats in Private medical colleges, Universities: Supreme Court to decide – Medical Dialogues

New Delhi: The validity of the National Medical Commission’s fee order making the fee of 50 percent seats in Private Medical Colleges & Deemed Universities at par with Government Medical Colleges would now be decided by the Supreme Court, which has already issued notice in the matter.While considering the plea filed by Association Of Health Sciences Institutes (AHSI), the top court…
New Delhi: The validity of the National Medical Commission’s fee order making the fee of 50 percent seats in Private Medical Colleges & Deemed Universities at par with Government Medical Colleges would now be decided by the Supreme Court, which has already issued notice in the matter.
While considering the plea filed by Association Of Health Sciences Institutes (AHSI), the top court bench comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli on Monday has granted the National Medical Commission (NMC) two weeks’ time for filing a counter affidavit in this regard.
However, the Apex Court asked, “Why didn’t you move the Calcutta High Court” and responding to this, the counsel for the association stated that the NMC direction is applicable in pan India.
When the Association prayed for a shorter date citing that the admission process is going to be initiated soon, the bench was quoted replying by Live Law, “Admissions will not be completed. You know how long the process will take.”
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that in the concerned Fee order issued back in February 2022, NMC the Apex Medical Body had stated that the fees of 50 per cent seats in the private medical colleges would be at par with government medical colleges of that particular State/UT.

“After extensive consultations, it has been decided that the fee of the 50 per cent seats in the private medical colleges and deemed universities should be at par with the fee in the government medical colleges of that particular State and UT. The benefit of this fee structure would be first made available to those candidates who have availed government quota seats, but are limited to the extent of 50 per cent of the total sanctioned strength of the respective medical college/deemed university,” NMC had mentioned in the notification.
“However, if the government quota seats are less than 50 per cent of total sanctioned seats, the remaining candidates would avail the benefit of a fee equivalent to the government medical college fees, based purely on the merit,” NMC had added.
Also Read:Madras HC reserves order on plea challenging NMC Fee order
While the proposal sounds promising to the medical aspirants, who choose to leave India and move abroad for cheaper medical education, such a rule fails to take into consideration the plights if the private medical college managements who pay lakhs and crores of money to set up the infrastructure.
Although the order has been challenged before Madras and Kerala High Court, as per the latest media report by Live Law, recently AHSI took up the matter before the Supreme Court bench and argued that the top court in various judgments had reiterated the fact that the method for fixing the fees, would be subject to considering various guidelines such as facilities available in the college, infrastructure, age of investment made, plans for expansion, etc.
In their plea, the association highlighted, “BECAUSE the Impugned OM is entirely arbitrary, ultra-vires and unconstitutional. It has no existence in the eyes of law. It is contrary to the declarations made by this Hon’ble Court prohibiting any such stipulations which have been sought to be imposed by the Respondent on the fundamental rights guaranteed to the private unaided educational institutions such as the Petitioner, under Part III of the Constitution of India.”
The plea claimed that the guidelines prescribed in the concerned OM are beyond the powers conferred upon the NMC and therefore they are invalid as per the law. In fact, the association argued that the only authority that has powers for fixing the fees of medical colleges fees, is the Fee Fixation Committee in each state presided by a retired High Court judge.
“….provisions of NMC Act, including Section 10(1)(i) thereof, NMC has not been empowered to fix the fee or fix any such stipulation having the mandatory effect of reintroducing the features of the Unni Krishnan Scheme [where 50% of the students are to be charged only the Government fee, which was held to be unconstitutional] and to not to allow the unaided private institutions to recover the fee fixed by Fee Committees from all the students in a uniform manner so as to recover its expenditure and also a reasonable profit / surplus for its expansion,” stated the plea.
Challenging the NMC fee order, the association contended that the private unaided institutions can fix the fees being charged annually from the students. However, this fee fixation gets monitored by the Fee Committee in order to ensure that there is no profiteering and the fee charged. This way, the private unaided institutions can get back the expenditure spent along with reasonable profit / surplus for its expansions.
In this regard, the plea submitted, “BECAUSE this Hon’ble Court having held the right of each private unaided institution to recover all its expenditure and reasonable surplus / profit in imparting the higher education from the students, 49 there is no permissibility to the State or any of its agency to venture into imposing any restriction and / or prohibition of any manner in this behalf……Each institution is entitled to recover annual fee on that basis from each of the students admitted in the college [other than the NRI seats]. The State cannot interfere in any manner whatsoever in this behalf.”
Senior Advocates, Mr. Maninder Singh and Mr. Gopal Sankaranarayanan on behalf of the petitioners. While considering the matter, top court bench questioned the counsels, “You are seeking to challenge only the office memorandum?”
Responding to this, the counsel for the petitioners argued that such a position has already been established in the case of TMA Pai and various other judgements.
Apart from this, the counsel also referred to the recent judgment of the Kerala High Court and submitted, “Also, the Kerala High Court has already stayed the culprit part of the memorandum, but it’s only limited to the territory of Kerala.”
Medical Dialogues had previously reported that upset with the NMC order, the management of private medical college had urged the Union Health Ministry to direct NMC for withdrawing the diktat. The Apex medical body, however, did not withdraw its decision and consequently, the private medical colleges and deemed to be universities approached High Courts seeking relief. In this regard a case is still pending before the Madras High Court.
Meanwhile, recently Kerala High Court held that the NMC fee order directing the private institutes charging fees at par with the government medical colleges for the 50% of the total seats would not be applicable in Kerala.
The High Court bench comprising of Justice Devan Ramachandran expressed such an opinion as it took note of the fact that after the implementation of Kerala Medical Education (Regulation and Control of Admission to Private Medical Educational Institutions) Act, 2017 there is no longer ‘Government Quota’ and ‘Management Quota’ seats in the Private medical institutes.
Also Read: NMC Fee Order for 50 percent Private Medical College Seats not Applicable in Kerala: High Court
Barsha completed her MA from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at [email protected]
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