The Supreme Court ruled recently that minority educational institutions are not insulated from the activities of admission and fee control committees. According to the bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjay Kumar, “the appellant society must necessarily submit to the AFRC the fees proposed by it in respect of the professional courses offered through its institutions for the purpose of review and regulation, as per the provisions of Section 9 of the Act of 2007.“
In this case, Icon Education Society (appellant) runs and manages two independent educational institutions in Indore, namely the Indore Institute of Law and the Indore Nursing College. Both of these institutions meet the definition of “minority educational institutions” under Section 2(g) of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act of 2004.
The issue before the bench was as follows:
Is it necessary for a minority educational institution in the state of Madhya Pradesh to have its fees determined by the Admission and Fee Regulation Committee under the terms of the Madhya Pradesh Niji Vyavsayik Shikshan Sanstha (Pravesh Ka Viniyaman Avam Shulk Ka Nirdharan) Adhiniyam, 2007?
The Supreme Court cited the case of T.M.A. Pai Foundation and others v. State of Karnataka and others, in which the prevailing view, expressed by B.N.Kirpal CJ, speaking for himself and five other learned Judges, addressed the issue of whether statutory provisions regulating aspects of educational agency administration, including regulation of fees, would tamper with the right of administration by minorities in the negative, but held that such regulatory measures should be minimal in the case of unaided minority educational institutions. It was determined that the fees charged by unaided institutions could not be regulated, although no institution should charge a capitation fee.