Friday, June 18, 2010

TC: Refuse to refund Tuition Fees


Present Hon'ble Thiru Justice M. THANIKACHALAM PRESIDENT



(Against order in O.PNo.12/2005 on the file of the DCDRF, Namakkal)


The Chairman

Mahendra Engineering College Mr. S. Natarajan

Mallasamudram (West) Counsel for

Namakka, District Appellants / Opposite party


K.J. Thiagarajan

25, Ramasamy Street M/s.S.Devika & T.Mohan

Rasipuram Counsel for

Namakkal District Respondent/ Complainant


1. The unsuccessful opposite party before the lower forum is the appellant herein.

2. The complainant/ respondent had admitted his son in the Engineering College run by the appellant, in the Mechanical Engineering- 1st year. At that time on 20.9.2004, on behalf of his son as father he had paid a sum of Rs.42800/-, which includes tuition fees, development fees etc., The son of the complainant realizing the infrastructure available in the college run by the appellant is insufficient and bad, thus dissatisfied, left the institution within three days. Thereafter, a requisition was made for the return of the amount paid as well as the original certificates, but the management have agreed to return the original certificates, refused to return the amount, which caused grievance resulting a consumer complaint for the return of the tuition fees, in addition to compensation.

3. The appellant having received the copy of the complaint before the lower forum appeared through counsel, but failed to file version within the time contemplated, resulting an application for extension of time, which was allowed on some condition. Despite an opportunity has been given, the appellant has not properly utilized the same in the sense not complied the condition resulting dismissal of that application. Therefore, the lower forum took the case and decided the same on merit resulting an order directing the appellant to pay a sum of Rs.34000/- being the part of the amount paid in addition to cost, which is impugned in this appeal.

4. As mandated written arguments were filed and giving opportunities to the parties, arguments of their counsels were heard.

5. In the grounds of appeal though a strong defense has been taken as if the complaint is not maintainable, as the son ought to have filed a complaint as well as the consumer court has no jurisdiction, both the grounds were not urged before us which shows the fairness of the learned counsel for the appellant though it may be due to the judicial precedent available as on this date.

6. In Nipun Nagar Vs. Symbiosis Institute International Business reported in I (2009) CPJ 3 (NC), the National Commission has considered the same kind of case taking into consideration the guidelines issued by Universities Grant Commission, as well as the fate of the student, if the student is not allowed to leave the institution, in case if he had a chance to have better education in the best institution. In the case involved in the above decision it seems that the student had left the institution within the short period and the vacancy caused has been filled up and therefore there was no loss of any kind to the institution. Considering this fact as well as giving effect to the guidelines given by University Grant Commission, it is held by the National Commission that if refund is not ordered, it will be unfair and unjust on the part of the institution thereby bringing this kind of cases within the ambit of Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Therefore, the learned counsel appearing for the appellant fairly conceded that this forum has jurisdiction to decide the case. The complainant being the father, an attempt was made as said above as if the student who paid the amount alone should have filed the complaint, which appears to be incorrect in our view. It is the common knowledge that when children are educated, when they are not earning members and the amounts are paid in the name of the students by their parents and therefore as the person who has paid the amount, the father has filed the complaint, in which there cannot be any defect warranting rejection.

6. Admittedly, the complainant had deposited totaling a sum of Rs.42800/-. Within three days as proved, not disputed, the student left the college. We do not find any case on behalf of the appellant, that since the student had left the institution that seat was vacant throughout and thereby causing loss for four years or so. The institution might have filled up the vacancy caused by the complainant’s son, leaving the institution though for the reasons best known to him they have not disclosed. Therefore, on the ground that there was a loss of income to the institution because of the conduct of the petitioner’s son, it is not possible to throw the complaint as a whole. The University Grant Commission has issued a public notice, which is referred by the National Commission in the citation referred above, wherein emphasis was made that institutions are not entitled to retain the entire fees and if at all they can deduct some amount that is, not more than Rs.1000/- and the balance should be refunded. Taking into consideration the above facts also, the lower Forum deducted some amount from the tuition fees and directed to refund the balance of Rs.27500/-. Since the student left the institution immediately, the lower forum feltallowing the institution to retain the development charge, uniform cost and caution deposit also may not be proper in this way, it directed to refund another Rs.6500/- thus totaling a sum of Rs.34000/-, which is fair and reasonable. This quantum also not seriously challenged before us. For the non-payment of the amount forthwith reasonable interest of 9% p.a., alone is ordered to be paid, which should have the approval of this Commission. Thus analyzing the case from all possible angle and considering the submissions made by either counsels, we are constrained to hold that there is no merit in the appeal and it deserves only dismissal but without cost.

7. In the result, the appeal is dismissed. The order of the District Forum is confirmed. However, there will be no order as to cost in the appeal.






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