In a major embarrassment to the V.S. Achuthanandan government, a television channel Friday alleged that a state medical college, which has the chief minister as head of its governing body, has demanded Rs.2.5 million each against admission to seats in the Non-resident Indian quota in violation of the rules.
Asianet Television channel Friday alleged that the Kochi Cooperative Medical College had demanded the money as development fees against the NRI quota.
As per a Supreme Court ruling in April this year, no professional college in Kerala can demand any such fees from candidates.
The Kochi Medical College is run by the Cooperative Academy of Professional Education, which has Achuthanandan as chairman and state cooperation minister G. Sudhakaran as vice-chairman.
The expose comes at a time when the division bench of the Kerala High Court is all set to give its verdict on Saturday on an appeal filed by the Kerala government against its July 18 interim verdict on a new education bill. A single bench of the court had ordered that status quo be maintained on the admission procedures and fee structure to self-financing professional colleges in the state.
With the order asking colleges to maintain status quo, 50 percent seats in self-financing professional colleges would continue to be decided by the management and 50 percent would be in the merit category.
The Left Democratic Front government and the students' wing of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has been against huge fees demanded by colleges. It has been on a warpath against private medical colleges which collect such fees.
Reacting to the TV report, state Education Minister M.A. Baby sought to put the blame on the administrative staff of the college.
"If this letter has been sent then it is against the policies of our government. There is no cabinet decision like this. It has been done by the Kochi Medical College authorities. We will launch an inquiry into it," he said.
M. Swaraj, Left wing student leader, said: "We do not subscribe to such hefty fees, and our policies are quite clear. We will launch an agitation against this action."
There are 70 engineering and eight medical colleges in the self-financing sector in the state. These colleges have about 10,000 seats for engineering and 800 seats in medical colleges.