Education Is Not A Business : Supreme Court

Nitin Varma

Nitin Varma

The Supreme Court has upheld a decision made by the Andhra Pradesh High Court to set aside an increase of tuition fees. “Tuition fee must be affordable, education not a business,” the judges stated.


On Monday, the Supreme Court observed that education should not be a business to earn profits and that tuition fees should always be affordable because it is noted that the Andhra Pradesh Government’s decision to increase fee to ₹ 24 lakhs per annum, which is seven times more than the previously-set fee, is not justifiable at all.

The State Government’s decision to increase tuition fees for MBBS students was overturned by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, which reasoned that it will deter students from pursuit of medical education.

The Andhra Pradesh government has recently increased the tuition fee for MBBS students.

“The High Court has not committed any error in quashing and setting aside the Government Order dated September 6, 2017, which amended the tuition fee for block years 2017-2020,” The Supreme Court said.

“We can’t justify the fee being raised from ₹ 10,000 to 24 lakhs per year. Education is not a commodity sold for profit. The tuition fee can never be too high,” the court said.

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The court ruled that the judge examining the fee will do so within the parameters of the rules on fixation. This includes considering what factors are listed in Rule 4, including the location of the institution, its courses, and administrative costs. The deciding committee should also take into account factors like what happens if you waive tuition for some students and if any funds are used to help students belonging to certain categories of society.

The court noted that the AFRC must keep these factors in mind when they review a college or university’s tuition (or other fees).

The court also advised that there was no error committed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in issuing directions to refund the amount of tuition fee collected under the Government Order. The court said, “Therefore, the High Court is absolutely justified in quashing and setting aside Government Order dated September 6, 2017.”

“The management cannot be permitted to retain the amount recovered/collected pursuant to the illegal Government Order dated 06.09.2017. The medical colleges are the beneficiaries of the illegal Government Order dated September 6, 2017, which is rightly set aside by the High Court,” the court said as it noted that medical colleges have utilized the amount for a number of years and kept with them for a number of years on the other hand students paid exorbitant tuition fees after obtaining a loan from banks and financial institutions and paid higher rates of interest.

“Therefore, even the direction of the High Court to refund the amount of tuition fee collected pursuant to Government Order dated September 6, 2017, after making adjustments according to an earlier determination, is not required to be interfered with,” the court said. With these observations, the top court dismissed appeals filed by the medical college against the Andhra Pradesh high court order.

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