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Supreme Court: Andhra Pradesh Govt. illegally fixed interim fees for unaided institutions

The SC on July 14, 2020 {RAJEEV GANDHI MEMORIAL COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY & ANR. vs THE STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH & ORS.} held that the interim fee fixed by the Andhra Pradesh Government without following the drill of Rule 4 has correctly been found to be prima facie illegal and has therefore correctly been suspended by the learned Single Judge’s order of 31.07.2019. The SC held that Division Bench ought not to have interfered with the aforesaid order by the impugned order dated 08.08.2019.

It was held by the Bench, comprising of Justice R. F. Nariman, Justice Navin Sinha and Justice B.R. Gavaithat the Andhra Pradesh Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Prohibition of Capitation Fee) Act, 1983 (for short “the Act”), inter alia, deals with fee fixation insofar as unaided institutions like the present two institutions are concerned.

In the present case, instead of following the drill of Regulation 4 of the Act, the State, by an order dated 23.07.2019, fixed, as an interim measure, that the earlier fee that was prescribed for the years 2016-19 would govern the block period of 2019 onwards as well - which was assailed before the HC. The learned Single Judge’s of HC vide order dated 31.07.2019 prima facie found that the contentions of the petitioners were correct. The Division Bench of HC, by the impugned order dated 08.08.2019, interfered with the Single Judge’s interim order and “modified” the aforesaid order.

In view of erroneous approach of the Division Bench of HC, the appeals were allowed by the SC and the impugned order was set aside. The SC held that the learned Single Judge’s order will now continue to operate insofar as the period of 2019 onwards is concerned until a final fee is fixed in accordance with the requisite Act and Rules.

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