1.NEED FOR A CENTRAL LEGISLATION
There has been a phenomenal increase in the number of professional and technical educational institutions in the preceding years. A majority of these institutions are under private management. While the role and importance of private participation in professional and technical education has came to be widely accepted and the rights of the private education providers to establish institutions has been upheld by the Honble Supreme Court, the need for protecting the interests of the students from commercial exploitation and for preserving the quality and standard of professional and technical education has assumed utmost importance. Professional and technical education has a crucial importance from the point of view of the overall interests of national development and also from the point of view meeting the global challenges. It is too important a subject to be left entirely at the door-steps of private education providers and market forces. States intervention tosafeguard the interests of equity, fair-play transparency, regional and sectoral balance is absolutely necessary. A new situation has arises in the wake of the supreme court judgement in the TMP Pai foundation Vs. State of Karnataka case, posing numerous problems before the students both in respect of fee structure and admission policy. A large number of students have been driven to a state of despair and frustration a few of them even taking the extreme step of committing suicide.
In the Islamia Academy case the supreme court directed the constitution of two committees for the purpose of monitoring and supervising fee fixation and admission process. The court said that the two committees will function under act 142 of the constitution till the parliament enacts a legislation in this respect. Under the circumstances it is imperative that a central legislation is enacted by the parliament. It is open to the Central Government to come out with a central legislation laying down uniform standards for the entire country in exercise of the power under Entry 66 List – I of the Constitution of India. However some of the aspects can be left open for being decided by the State Government in its discretion. It is also not desirable to leave everything open for the State Government, as the same would negate the very purpose of legislation itself. The legislation should be binding on all State Governments except for having the liberty to fine tune the same to suit the local conditions. Unless this is done, it would leave the field open for exploitation of students. Such legislation would also be in the interest of the management of the educational institutions.
2.NATURE OF THE CENTRAL LEGISLATION
The proposed legislation can be enacted in exercise of the power under Entry 66 of List – I of the Constitution of India. Such legislation need not necessarily be within the parameters laid by the Supreme Court in the case of TMA Pai Foundation and Islamic Academy of Education cases. However to avoid future litigation and uncertainty, the legislation can be made so as to fall within the broad framework laid down by the Supreme Court. In this regard, certain broad parameters are suggested for central legislation.
A. The central legislation would deal with the manner of admissions, fixation of fee structure and the establishment of new college. The legislation would provide for constitution of an Admission Committee as well as the Fee Structure Committee consisting of three – five persons as specified in the legislation.
(i) The Common Entrance Test will also be conducted under the supervision of the Admission Committee; all admissions shall be made by a Central Counselling procedure.
(ii) While making admissions to 80% of the students, appropriate reservations shall be made in favour of socially and educationally backward class of the students.