16 July 2022 10:30 AM GMT
The Kerala High Court recently asked the State to remit the Scholarship amount to the students with an Annual Family Income below Rs.2,50,000/- into their designated accounts and to ensure that this amount is paid by them into the accounts of the Colleges/Managements within a one week or so.Justice Devan Ramachandran also clarified that the amount shall be directly remitted to the account of...
The Kerala High Court recently asked the State to remit the Scholarship amount to the students with an Annual Family Income below Rs.2,50,000/- into their designated accounts and to ensure that this amount is paid by them into the accounts of the Colleges/Managements within a one week or so.
Justice Devan Ramachandran also clarified that the amount shall be directly remitted to the account of the management or the college for students with a larger family income.
Various associations of managements of Medical and Dental Colleges across the State approached the Court with three petitions, challenging the manner in which the State government and the Union were offering Post Matric Scholarships to students belonging to Scheduled Castes for their studies.
Senior Advocate Kurian George Kannanthanam instructed by Advocate P.M.Saneer appearing for the petitioners submitted that the scholarship amount was directly paid to the students and credited to their designated Bank Accounts. However, it was argued that these were often not transferred by them to the account of the Colleges and thus misappropriated or used for their own private purposes.
Therefore, the petitioners contended that they were being put to unnecessary prejudice and trouble and asserted that this could have been easily rectified had the State remitted the scholarship amounts directly into the account of the Managements to avert the opportunity to misappropriate it, even temporarily.
They added that although the Scheme applies only to those students whose Annual Family Income does not exceed Rs.2,50,000/-, this Scholarship has been offered to other students with a larger family income, which liability is shouldered by the State itself. Therefore, it was contended that at least with respect to those students, the Scholarship Scheme would not stand in the way of their request being acceded to.
Nevertheless, Special Government Pleader Latha Thankappan responded that as per the Scheme of Scholarship, the Centre (which shoulders 60% of the scholarship) has placed a specific condition that the amount shall be remitted only into the students' account and not to that of the Managements. She submitted that if the State violates this, the Centre would withdraw its responsibility under the Scheme, thereby putting every eligible student in great prejudice.
Regarding the argument of the scheme being extended to students with a larger family income, the Government Pleader submitted that such an arrangement would give rise to two categories of students, one who receives the Scholarship into their designated accounts and the other who would obtain it only by credit into the account of the Managements. She submitted that she leaves it to the Court to take an apposite decision in this regard.
The Court observed that the controversy in these writ petitions was in 'extremely confined purlieus'.
For the purpose of clarity and certainty, the Judge asked the Centre if it would shoulder the responsibility under the Scheme even for a student whose Annual Family Income exceeds Rs.2,50,000 and whether they would consider the payment of Scholarship into the Bank Accounts of the Management, rather than being credited into the students' accounts.
To this, ASGI S.Manu responded that the Scheme was propounded with a great amount of care and thought; therefore, none of its conditions can be varied or modified.
The Court noted that the stand of the Centre was that it will not shoulder any responsibility for the Scholarship under the scheme with respect to any student whose Annual Family Income is over Rs.2,50,000/-; and that the amount of Scholarship eligible to such students will have to be credited into their own accounts.
While recording this submission, the Judge found that it was indubitable that it could not pass orders in modification of the Scheme in any manner whatsoever. Resultantly, the petition was allowed with the following directions:
(a) State Government will remit the applicable Scholarship amount to the students whose Annual Family Income is Rs.2,50,000/- or less into their designated accounts; but will ensure, through a properly constituted mechanism, that said amounts are paid by them into the accounts of the Colleges/Managements within a period of one week or so thereafter.
(b) As far as those students whose Annual Family Income is more than Rs.2,50,000/- and if they are paid Scholarship either under any Scheme by the Government of Kerala, they will remit the said amount into the account of the Managements/Colleges directly; however, intimating the students of such credit immediately thereupon.
Every other contention was left open to be pursued by the petitioners if it becomes so necessary in future.
Case Title: Kerala Christian Professional College Management & Ors v. State of Kerala & Ors.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 352
Click Here To Read/Download The Order