Petitioners have sought a direction allowing them to levy uniform fees on all candidates

The Karnataka High Court on Friday ordered issuance of notices to the State government and the Fee Regulatory Committee, on a petition filed by 13 private unaided engineering colleges that have sought a direction for determining fees for engineering courses by the committee, as per the law enacted on the basis of the Supreme Court’s verdict.

A division bench comprising Justice K.L. Manjunath and Justice Ravi Malimath passed the order. The petitioners have also sought a direction that will allow them to levy uniform fees on all candidates.

“The fees being fixed by the State government, under so-called ‘consensual arrangements’ are contrary to the verdicts of the Apex Court,” the petitioners alleged.

Merely because “consensual arrangements” are possible, it does not prevent colleges from demanding fixation of fees by the committee when the fees proposed by the State are “inadequate”, they claimed.

Old fee structure

The petitioners also contended that the State government was “compelling” colleges and the Karnataka Unaided Private Engineering Colleges’ Association to agree to a “wholly inadequate” fee structure, which was “consensually agreed to” by colleges and the government over five years ago.

It has also been alleged in the petition that though a new committee was constituted under the chairmanship of Ajit Gunjal, a retired High Court judge, the Minister for Higher Education had been repeatedly summoning association representatives, to “compel them” to accept the proposal to continue with the old fee structure, despite the association’s opposition.

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