Kerala High Court gives big relief to BPL students pursuing MBBS

The Kerala High Court has ordered self-financing colleges not to oust any BPL student who has not been able to pay fees.

BySreerag PS

Published Aug 09, 2022 | 1:41 PM Updated Aug 09, 2022 | 1:41 PM

Kerala High Court

The Kerala High Court on Monday, 8 August, provided a big relief to MBBS students belonging to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category who were facing expulsion from college for not paying their fees.

The court ordered self-financing colleges to refrain from taking any disciplinary action against such students, while also asking the government to respond to a petition filed by 27 students in this regard.

The court also said that the order pertaining to the BPL students was not confined to just the 27 petitioners but all such students in the state.

In 2018, it was a major step-up for MBBS students belonging to the BPL category when the Kerala government decided to introduce fellowships covering their annual fees.

A total of ₹5 lakh was to be collected for the fellowship from the ₹20 lakh fees paid by NRI students to self-financing colleges.

The state government confirmed as much in an order earlier this year.

“The principals of the concerned self-financing medical colleges shall collect an NRI Fee at ₹20,00,000/- (Rupees Twenty Lakh only) per student and out of the amount ₹5,000,00/- (Rupees Five Lakh only) have to be kept/held towards corpus fund for awarding scholarship to BPL category students [sic],” read a government order from 14 March this year.

However, the disbursement of this amount to the BPL students would take place “only after the disposal of the matter pending before the Supreme Court in SLP(c) 9885/2020 and connected cases.” the order said.

Advocate V Sethunath, who appeared for the petitioners in the high court, told South First, “A case was filed by some NRI students in the division bench saying the corpus fund for BPL students could not be collected as these funds don’t come to the state treasury, and the court earlier approved this demand without hearing the grievances of the BPL students.”

Sethunath added that the Kerala High Court earlier directed the Kerala government to clarify on how a student belonging to the BPL category would be asked to pay fees.

The court also sought a response from the state as to how these students could be protected at a juncture where their fellowship had been stripped off.