Forum directs city college to refund fees to former student

Mubarak Ansari
Sunday, 11 June 2017

The District Consumer Forum passed the order in her favour after observing that she was made to pay for an open seat, though she belonged to the OBC category.

Pune: A girl student has won back her Rs 88,204 fees from the All India Shri Shivaji Memorial Society’s (AISSM) College of Engineering after five years. The institute had refused to refund it after she had cancelled her admission in 2012.

The District Consumer Forum passed the order in her favour after observing that she was made to pay for an open seat, though she belonged to the OBC category. Another student had been admitted in her place by the college after her admission was cancelled.

The girl, a resident of Mangalwar Peth, Pune, had taken admission in the college on August 28, 2012. As she belongs to the OBC category, she had deposited Rs 48,284. But she could not continue her education and cancelled her admission due to health problems on September 7, 2012.

She had sought refund of fees paid along with original documents.
However, she was told to pay the fees meant for an open seat. She was warned that she would not get back her original documents till she deposited Rs 39,920 more. The complainant’s maternal aunt found out that another student had taken admission after she had cancelled her admission.

Alleging deficiency in service by the college, she filed a complaint with the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum.

The college authorities countered the consumer complaint by filing their written version before the forum. “There is no deficiency in service. As per the rules framed by the Technical Board, if admission is cancelled and the seat remained vacant, then the student concerned is not entitled to refund of fees. The complainant had made wild allegations in the complaint. She herself withdrew her admission. Hence, the complainant is not entitled to any kind of relief. It was also denied that another student took admission after cancellation of admission by complainant, on these grounds the college sought dismissal of the complaint,’’ said the letter submitted by authorities to the forum.

A bench headed by consumer forum President VP Utpat and members Onkar Patil and Kshitija Kulkarni heard the case. “It is not in dispute that admission of complainant was cancelled and another student took admission two days later. It is significant to note that unless and until that student has deposited the fees, it cannot be said that his admission is confirmed. The record before the forum is eloquent about the admission process. Hence, it is the considered opinion of this forum that admission of the complainant was cancelled and thereafter, another student took admission in the college. In these circumstances, the complainant is entitled for refund of fees. Moreover, there is no explanation given by the college as to why complainant, who is belonging to the OBC category, was compelled to deposit the entire fees, which is required for the open seat. These facts also amount to deficiency in service,” the forum judgement read.

The college has been ordered to refund Rs 88,204 with 14 per cent interest since September 6, 2012, besides Rs 5,000 towards mental and physical agony.

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