Shikshan Shulka Samitee to display computation sheets to fix fees

In what is being seen as a success for the RTI, the Supreme Court-mandated Shikshan Shulka Samitee (SSS) of the Maharashtra government that decides fees to be charged by professional courses has agreed to display on its website computation sheets of colleges whose fees have been finalized by it, in keeping with the enabling provisions of the Act.

This is expected to help parents and students to know the rationale behind the SSS while approving fees for colleges offering engineering and health science, among other courses.

City-based civic activist Vivek Velankar had raised the matter with the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), stating that SSS has 'failed to comply' with the RTI Act by not suo motu disclosing facts and reasons for decisions on interim and final fees of colleges as per Section 4 (1) (C) and and 4(1) (D).

These sections stipulate that all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing decisions by a public authority be published providing reasons for administrative or quasi-judicial decisions that affect stakeholders.

Velankar, in July 2009 had sent a formal request to the SSS for making public computation sheets of professional colleges in matter of fees as per the RTI Act, and lodged a complaint with the CIC office in October last year when his demand on behalf of scores of parents and students was not met.

Amid the CIC's scheduled hearing on Velankar's complaint, the SSS agreed to disclose computation sheets of final fees of professional colleges concerned during its official meeting held in December and conveyed to the CIC about the same vide a letter dated January 15.

Terming the SSS's decision to disclose fee computation sheets of professional colleges, as a 'partial victory', Velankar said the SSS should also ensure publishing proactively the salary and non-salary expenditure of professional colleges that form the basis of fee structure.

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