Maharishi Markandeswar Medical College slapped with 1Cr penalty by HPPEIRC
Shimla, July 24
On Monday, the two-member bench of the H.P. Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Commission (HPPEIRC) doubled the penalty on Maharishi Markandeswar Medical College, Kumarhatti, district Solan (or MMU) for charging exorbitant fees from a batch of MBBS students who graduated during the academic session of 2013-14 to 2019-20.
Pertinent to mention that in their earlier order this penalty imposed was Rs 45 lac.
The amended order was passed by the Commission’s two members, Chairman Atul Kaushik and member Lalit Kumar, after carefully considering the matter. The university was slapped with an increased penalty of Rs one crore. Additionally, the Commission ruled that the university must refund Rs. 36 lakh to both the complainants and also repay the excess fees amounting to approximately Rs. 1,03,96,53,000/- for the entire batch of MBBS students who passed during the academic session of 2013-14 to 2019-20.
The complaint against MMU was brought forward by Dr. Nividita and Dr. Yamin, who alleged that the university had charged tuition fees, university charges, and hostel fees beyond the prescribed 4.5-year duration of the MBBS course, as stated in the prospectus. The Commission found that the university had indeed charged excess fees not only from these two complainants but from the entire batch of students from 2013 to 2019-20.
The High Court directed the matter to be heard by a new commission bench comprising Major General Atul Kaushik and new member Lalit Kumar. This directive was given, and the High Court also imposed a cost of Rs 25,000. The Commission was ordered to re-examine the matter afresh based on the decision of the division bench of Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua and Justice Satyen Vaidya of the Himachal Pradesh High Court on May 24, 2023.
Also read:MMU Medical college excessive fee charging case referred back to Commission for fresh hearing
The university requested the Commission to reinvestigate the matter, but their plea was rejected, as the Commission had already seized the relevant records, which verified the allegations of charging exorbitant fees.
During the course of the proceedings before the High Court, it was revealed that one of the commission members, Dr. Shashi Kant Sharma, had a personal interest in the matter, as his daughter had pursued an MBBS degree from the petitioner university, and his son-in-law was employed as a faculty member at the same university. Due to this conflict of interest, Dr. Shashi Kant Sharma did not sign the order.
In its 13-page order on May 24, 2023, the High Court emphasized the principle that justice should not only be done but should also be seen to have been done. The court noted that the petitioner university had raised objections to the continuation of respondent no. 3 as a member of the commission bench only at the stage of pronouncement of the orders by the commission, which was not in line with the principles of justice.
Also Read:Matter of Rs 103. 96 Cr excess charge from MBBS students by MMU, reaches State HC
The High Court also mentioned that the university and medical college had previously been ordered to refund the excess fee amounting to Rs 103.97 Crore and pay a penalty of Rs. 45 lakhs for charging excess fees from the complainants. Instead of complying with the order, MMU and MMC chose to file a civil writ petition before the High Court seeking suspension of the proceedings in the complaints.
Empower Independent Journalism – Join Us Today!
We’re committed to unbiased, in-depth journalism that uncovers truth and gives voice to the unheard. To sustain our mission, we need your help. Your contribution, no matter the size, fuels our research, reporting, and impact.
Stand with us in preserving independent journalism’s integrity and transparency. Support free press, diverse perspectives, and informed democracy.
Click [here] to join and be part of this vital endeavour.
Thank you for valuing independent journalism.
Vishal Sarin, Editor