Medical college's pro-poor admission policy gets SC nod

Medical college's pro-poor admission policy gets SC nod

"If any college, out of charitable or philanthropic motive, wants to extend a helping hand to the economically weaker section of students by providing free admission to its ten per cent management quota seats, there is no need for the fee regulatory committee to fix the fees to be charged by the college for such seats," said a bench of Justices R V Raveendran and H R Gokhle.

"Nor will it be necessary for such a college to be the part of a consortium of unaided private colleges, which wants to charge the fee," held the bench, waiving two legal stipulations laid down by the apex court in some of its earlier judgements pertaining to admissions in professional unaided colleges.

The court, however, struck a note of caution in granting such waivers to colleges, saying, "It will, however, be necessary to ensure that such a scheme (to admit poor students free of cost) is not a camouflage for making illegal or irregular admissions or for clandestinely charging capitation fee or for profiteering."

The bench gave its ruling on an appeal by a private unaided medical college of Gujarat, Pramukh Swami Medical College run by a civil society Charutar Arogya Mandal, seeking to admit and educate the poor and deserving students on its ten per cent management quota seats on a token annual fee of Rs 5,000.

As per the relevant rules for admission to the private unaided medical colleges in the state, 75 per cent of the seats, dubbed as government seats, are reserved for admission to students successfully competing in a state-wide test for admission to various medical colleges.

Out of remaining 25 per cent seats, 15 per cent seats are meant for non-resident Indians and ten per cent seats, called management quota seats, are for candidates selected by a consortium of all the unaided colleges.

The consortium prepares a merit list of students seeking admission to these colleges on their management quota seats against a higher fee.

But Gujarat's Pramukh Swami Medical College scheme to admit poor students free of cost against its 10 per cent management quota seats ran aground for want of permission by the state government, which insisted upon it to stick to the relevant rules of joining the consortium of colleges to fill its management quota seats.

The aggrieved medical college approached the Gujarat High Court seeking permission to allow its own methodology to admit the poor and deserving students.

The high court, however, disposed of the college's plea by a vague order without examining its merits. It was against this order that the medical college came to the apex court and got the reprieve.

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