Nation Current Affairs 25 Jul 2016 Students are 'c ...

Students are 'consumers' under Consumer Protection Act: Forum

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | U SUDHAKAR REDDY
Published Jul 25, 2016, 1:50 am IST
Updated Jul 25, 2016, 3:15 am IST
The forum ruled that as per UGC guidelines, college can deduct Rs 1,000 if a student left midway but rest of the fee has to be refunded.
NIFT claimed that Rs 5000 had been refunded. (Representational Image)
 NIFT claimed that Rs 5000 had been refunded. (Representational Image)

Hyderabad: A judgement by a district consumer forum in Andhra Pradesh against the National Institute of Fashion Technology quoting University Grants Commission guidelines and rulings of the Supreme Court, has once again stated that students of educational institutions are defined as “consumers” under the Consumer Protection Act.

The judgement comes in the backdrop of students and parents complaining that educational institutions do not refund fees when they leave colleges after taking admission or midway; colleges and universities failing to return certificates; lack of amenities; and on quality of education.

 

The West Godavari District Consumer Forum at Eluru on July 13 ordered NIFT to refund fees it had withheld from a student who had left the college after admission. The forum ruled that as per UGC guidelines, the college can deduct Rs 1,000 if a student left midway but the rest of the fee has to be refunded.

Baljaireddy Sai Krishna, 17, of Eluru filed a complaint in the forum against NIFT director and registrar at Delhi, NIFT director at Madhapur in Hyderabad, and NIFT director at Shillong, Meghalaya. Upon selection, he was to pay a fee of Rs 81,000. He had to report to the NIFT director at Shillong but due to health issues he could not join and informed the NIFT authorities.

 

“I had not attended a single class. When asked to refund the fees, they said I was entitled only for Rs 5,000 refund. After they credited the amount I approached the forum for refund of Rs 76,000,” the complainant stated.

The NIFT director of Hyderabad contended that the complainant was not a consumer in terms of the definition provided under the Act. NIFT claimed that Rs 5000 had been refunded.

Colleges say candidates exiting early hurts bank
Educational institutions say when a student leaves in the middle of a course, they can’t fill the seat and it results in monetary loss as the student will not pay for the remaining semesters.

 

They quote earlier SC judgments that education is not a consumer service. In the recent case, NIFT had argued: “Due to complainant’s withdrawal, the institute fails to refill that seat and it remains vacant for four years and it suffers losses of more than the twice the fees per year paid by the student.”

The Madras High Court, in the case of a deemed university vs the district consumer disputes on January 9,  2015, had directed the father of a student to pay the second semester’s fee and the deemed university was directed to hand over the certificates within three days of payment.

 

The deemed university had approached the HC against the consumer forum’s judgment stating that as per a clause in the application they had issued a transfer certificate and had returned other certificates on payment of fees for the entire course to the tune of `1,77,000. But the father was demanding a full refund.

The HC had said that an unaided institution was entitled to claim the full fee either for the entire course or for the particular year, as the case may be, when a student leaves midway.

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Location: India, Andhra Pradesh




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