Annamalai University has the authority to fix its own fee structure

Madras High Court: While deciding the issue that whether Annamalai University can be termed as a Government University for the purposes of application of  the Capitation Fees Act, 1992, the Division Bench of Huluvadi G. Ramesh and M.V. Muralidaran JJ., held that Annamalai University does not come under the purview of the Fee Fixation Committee as even the Deemed Universities of the State of Tamil Nadu are not covered by the Capitation Fee Act, 1992, hence outside the purview of Fee Fixation Committee, therefore Annamalai University has the authority to fix its own fee structure.

The present appeals have been filed by 149 aggrieved students who contended that the respondent University is a State run university as the State Government took control of the University by passing the Annamalai University Act, 2013 thereby repealing the Annamalai University Act, 1928. The students further contended that they were under the impression that the respondent University is under the control of the State Government therefore they will have to pay the fees as prescribed by the State Government; they got a shock as they were required to pay the fees as per the University prospectus.

The respondent put forth before the Court that the University had faced huge losses due to its unforeseen closure few years back therefore the Government took the complete control of the University, but it cannot be stated that the University is now a State run University and therefore, it should not demand and collect the fee in excess of what is charged by the Government. The respondents further contended that the fee structure was fixed by University senate in order to compensate the expenditure for its functioning, there was not motive of profit making behind the fixation of fee structure.

Perusing the facts, the Court observed that the Government did not include the respondent University in the Government Order constituting the Fee Fixation Committee. The Court further referred to the  provisions concerned of the Annamalai University Act, 2013 and observed that a plain reading of the provisions make it clear that the University is empowered to fix fees and to demand and receive such fees as may be prescribed by the senate. [M. Aamira Fathima v. The Annamalai University, 2016 SCC OnLine Mad 9353, decided on 26.09.2016]

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