TAMIL NADU

HC strikes down GOs on SWS for MBA, MCA

CHENNAI JULY 3. The Madras High Court today struck down two government orders -- introducing the Single Window System (SWS) of admissions to MBA and MCA in all colleges, and prescribing a fee structure for the two courses. It also ordered full refund of the fees collected by the Anna University/Government from the aspirants.

Allowing a batch of 36 writ petitions challenging the orders dated April 9 and 18, 2002, a Division Bench said: ``The timing and contents of the notification do not conform to the requirements of the Central policy and they cannot be regarded as a valid exercise of power''.

Coming down heavily on the Government, it observed: ``The unfortunate situation created for students this year is the result of negligence and tardy action on the part of the State Government, which has failed to act with the degree of responsibility required of it while dealing with the future of the students''.

(While the first GO sought to bring all government, aided and self-financing private engineering, arts and science colleges under the SWS, the second order proposed a uniform fee structure for MBA and MCA in these institutions).

The Bench, comprising Justice R. Jayasimha Babu and Justice E. Padmanabhan, said, ``...on account of the State's failure to comply with the Central policy and regulations, both GOs cannot be sustained.

The GO on the ceiling on fee ``is wholly arbitrary as it merely sets out a recommendation made by one individual (Director of Technical Education) and acceptance thereof, without any kind of enquiry, without any material having been gathered and considered, and without any opportunity being given to the institutions".

Noting that the State had put the cart before the horse, issuing the notification for the entrance test even before finalising a fee structure, the Bench directed the AICTE and the Centre to immediately set out clearly the courses to which the regulatory regime of centralised admissions and ceiling on fees would apply.

``Although several thousand students have applied for the test, in view of the legal position and the acts of omission and commission of the State, the conduct of the common entrance test is impermissible in the law.

``The fee fixed under the April 18 order being arbitrary and without any jurisdiction, it cannot be given effect to. The fee collected by the Government or the Anna University from the students shall be refunded in full and all expenses incurred by the university in this regard shall be wholly borne by the Government,'' the Bench said.

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