(Per : HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE AKIL KURESHI) The applicant - original petitioner seeks direction to the Registry to refund an amount of Rs.6,13,300/- to the applicant.
Upon perusal of the documents and hearing the learned advocates for the parties, what emerges on the record is that this Court by an order dated 31.3.2010 passed in Letters Patent Appeal No.584 of 2008 and connected matters, gave several directions with respect to different educational institutions falling under different categories. The case of the applicant falls in direction contained in paragraph 10(c) of the judgment, which reads as under:
"(c) With respect to the educational institutions which fall in category B as mentioned in para.(7), amounts deposited by such institutions shall remain with the Registry of the High Court till their fresh petitions challenging the fee structure fixed by Justice R.J. Shah Committee being Special Civil Application No. 5655/2009 and connected matters are decided."
Subsequently, by another judgment dated 9.4.2010 passed in Special Civil Application No.5655 of 2009 and connected petitions, the question with respect to present applicant came to be decided in its petition being Special Civil Application No.12027 of 2009. The Court allowed the petition with following directions:
"10.Under the circumstances, we hold and direct that :
(i) In cases where Justice R.J. Shah Committee has fixed the fee for a particular academic year which is less than the fee which was previously fixed by A.U. Patel Committee for the same year, it is the later i.e. the fee fixed by A.U. Patel Committee which shall prevail.
By way of illustration, in case of H.B. Kapadiya Education Trust, petitioner of Special Civil Application No.5655/2009, for the year 2006-2007 A.U. Patel Committee had fixed annual fee of Rs.28,200/- against which for the same year Justice R.J. Shah Committee has fixed fee of Rs. 26,000/- . In such a case, it is the fee fixed by A.U. Patel Committee of Rs. 28,200/- that shall prevail.
(ii) In cases where the fee fixed by Justice R.J. Shah Committee is higher than what was fixed by A.U. Patel Committee for the same year, it is the fee fixed by Justice R.J. Shah Committee which shall prevail.
By way of illustration, in case of Sarvodaya Charitable Trust, petitioner of Special Civil Application No.12022/2009 for the year 2006-2007, A.U. Patel Committee had fixed fees at Rs. 20,000/- per annum. For the same year, Justice R.J. Shah Committee had fixed the fees at Rs. 21,000/- per annum. Fee fixed by Justice R.J. Shah Committee therefore, shall prevail.
(iii) In case of the Cambay Education society, petitioner of Special Civil Application No.6543/2009, there was no previous decision of A.U. Patel Committee. Fee fixed by Justice R.J. Shah Committee shall therefore, stand. Similarly, is the case for the academic years 2003-2004, 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 of Sarvodaya Charitable Trust, petitioner of Special Civil Application No.12022/2009 and therefore, fee fixed by Justice R.J. Shah Committee shall stand.
(iv) The fee structures provided by Justice R.J. Shah Committee in each of the cases shall stand modified to the above extent.
(v)(a) In cases where the colleges have been permitted to collect fees at the rate of Rs. 30,000/- per annum per student and where by way of above formula contained in directions (i),(ii),(iii) and (iv), the final fee fixation in their favour is less than Rs. 30,000/-, such institutions shall not be required to refund the excess fees to the students.
(v)(b) In cases where the fee fixation pursuant to above directions
(i),(ii),(iii) and (iv) is higher than Rs. 30,000/- per year per student for any years, the colleges shall not be permitted to recover the difference of fees from the students.
(v)(c) However, it is clarified that fee structures as provided here-in-above in para. (i),(ii),(iii) and (iv) shall hold the field for all other purposes including consideration of fee revision for future years.
(vi) We have provided for the above formula in larger interests of all concerned to achieve finality of fee structures which is pending since many years. In view of the above formula and in view of the stand adopted by the counsel for the petitioners before us, we have not dealt with the factual and legal contentions raised by the petitioners. It is therefore, clarified that contentions raised in the petitions shall not be taken to have been accepted by us.
(vii) It is clarified that benefit of this order shall be confined only to the present petitioners and shall not be available to any of the educational institutions who are not before us."
Thereupon the present applicant moved this Court again for directions by filing Miscellaneous Civil Application No.1449 of 2011 for refund of fees. Such application came to be disposed of by order dated 22.6.2011, leaving it open to the applicant to approach the Registrar General in terms of our directions contained in paragraph 10(e)(iii) of order dated 31.3.2010.
The applicant, accordingly, approached the Registrar General, however, the request for refund of the fees was turned down, holding that in the case of the applicant, the High Court was required to retain the fees deposited.
We are of the opinion that by virtue of combined reading of our orders dated 31.3.2010 and 9.4.2010 in the case of the present applicant, excess fees collected is required to be refunded. Ordered accordingly. However, it is left open to the Registrar General to ascertain what amount under such head is lying and refund the same to the applicant accordingly. Rule is made absolute accordingly.
[AKIL KURESHI, J.] [HARSHA DEVANI, J.] parmar* Top