The Draft Bill on Private Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fee) 2005

This bill has a provision for reservation of seats. Private aided/unaided institutions would reserve seats for SCs/STs/socially, educationally and economically weaker sections in general category to such an extent as notified by the UGC. Deemed universities would have to reserve 50% seats for students of the state where it is located and for SCs/ STs /weaker sections as notified by the UGC.

The Bill not only strictly stipulates the management quota in such institutions but also lays down tough conditions for fixation of fee.

For instance, fee would be based on seven specific factors. Similarly, to deal with fly-by-night foreign education providers, the Bill stipulates tough conditions. Without meeting them, it would be difficult to do business.

But not all is lost for the Bill since the apex court does talk of a central legislation and recommends a number of measures which are already in the draft Bill.

The SC order is more in the nature of a clarification to the conflicting interpretation given by various high courts to the SC's 11-judge Bench order in the T M A Pai case and the five-judge Bench order in the Islamic Academy case. Moreover, the SC clarification, as CJI Lahoti said, relates only to unaided minority and non-minority educational institutions.

The SC also did not agree with the petition filed by minority institutions which demanded freedom to devise the admission procedure and administer educational institutions.

The apex court felt that the regulatory mechanism is aimed at protecting the interests of the student community as also the minorities. "Such regulations do not violate the right of the minorities under Article 30(1) of the Constitution," CJI Lahoti said.