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Punjab to enact law on medical fee structure
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
The Punjab Government will bring a Bill in the coming session of the Punjab Assembly to regulate the functioning, fee structure and admission process in private medical, dental and other such professional colleges in the state. The session will start in the first week of October.

Official sources said on the basis of the legal opinion given by the Advocate- General, Mr R.S. Cheema, the government had decided to enact a law to streamline the functioning of the medical and other such institutions.

Mr Cheema had said that the state government was duty bound to set a regulatory mechanism in place in line with the Supreme Court judgement in this connection. He had stated that the Majithia Committee, which at present is functioning as a fee fixation committee, “is a stop-gap measure or an ad-hoc arrangement”. The government had all the power to challenge unrealistic and arbitrary decisions of the committee till the new act is enacted in the state.

For the past three years, the government has failed to tackle the problem faced by students of private medical, dental and other such colleges with regard to fee structure and admission process. Most of these colleges have been charging huge sums of money from students in the garb of various fees and funds openly violating the government instructions in this regard. Parents of students have been complaining to the government in this regard but no one has perhaps the time to take action against the colleges resorting to open harassment of students. The government has been issuing empty threats to such colleges but have avoided decisive action against them.

Parents have complained that one private medical college has imposed a fine Rs 30 per day on students for delay in the payment of tuition fee. That college has also asked each student to pay Rs 1.67 lakh as fee clearly violating the government instructions.

The government says it had to seek legal opinion from Mr Cheema on the fee structure recommended by the Majithia Committee because there was no uniformity in the criteria fixed for determining fee. More, the government felt that any increase made in the fee structure for certain colleges by the committee was on the higher side. And in certain cases, the difference in fee structure for medical and dental colleges was very small though medical colleges had to create far more infrastructure compared to dental colleges.

A senior government official said it was clear from the Supreme Court judgement that private bodies were not allowed to mint money by opening such professional colleges. These were supposed to be institutions without any profit making intentions.

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