For the first time in nine years, private law colleges in Maharashtra have been given the permission to hike their fees. The fee for both three-year and five-year LLB courses is being revised by the Fee Regulating Authority (FRA). Moreover, some colleges have been given the permission to double or even triple the current fees, while in some cases the fees has been reduced.
For most of the colleges, the fee has been fixed in the range of Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000. However, those colleges that have better infrastructure facilities and good teachers have been permitted to charge even more.
Till date, it was the responsibility of the respective universities of the colleges to regulate the fee structures at law colleges. Many universities including the University of Mumbai (MU) have not changed the fee structure of their affiliated colleges for a long time. It was in the year 2008, when Mumbai University had last revised the fees. Then the fee was prescribed in the range of Rs 12,000 to Rs 13,500 for both three-year and five-year LLB courses. However, after the state categorized law programmes as ‘professional courses’, they were brought under the FRA’s ambit, making them eligible for fee revision.
As of now the law colleges are under the due control of FRA for the universities that don’t have sound mechanism to monitor the finances of individual colleges. Before deciding on the slab of fee structure, the audited reports of colleges’ expenditure have been gone through. They are not supposed to profiteer off students’ fees. The regulator has now fixed the fees of academic year 2016-17, which will be applicable retroactively, as well as fees for 2017-18, which will be applicable for the upcoming academic year.
Colleges have welcomed the long-due revision in fees. For in all these years, the colleges have been running in huge deficit. “Most of the colleges rely on part-time teachers, but we had appointed full time teachers,” one College authorities told.
On the other hand students hold the view that with the hike in fee, the colleges need to upgrade their infrastructure and quality of education in order to justify all the things. Many colleges don’t have basic facilities such as library and moot court room. The colleges which overcharged should refund the excess amount.
In October 2015, it was reported that some colleges had hiked fees without waiting for a nod from the university. Therefore at that time the university had directed a law college in Goregaon to refund excess fee charged from students.