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Gujranwala Guru Nanak Institute of Management & Technology through its Principal Body i.e. Gujranwala Khalsa Educational Council, Ludhiana, represented by President P.S. Kapoor. v/s Gagandeep Singh

    First Appeal No. 1200 of 2008
    Decided On, 25 March 2013
    At, Punjab State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Chandigarh
    By, MEMBER
    For the Appellant: Deepak Arora, Advocate. For the Respondent: None.

Judgment Text
Inderjit Kaushik, Presiding Judicial Member:

1. Gujranwala Guru Nanak Institute of Management & Technology, appellant/opposite party (In short 'the appellant') has filed this appeal against the order dated 25.07.2008 passed by the learned District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Ludhiana (in short 'the District Forum').

2. Facts in brief are that Sh. Gagandeep Singh, respondent/complainant (hereinafter called as 'the respondent') filed a complaint under section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (in short, 'the Act'), pleading that he applied for admission in BBA at the institute of the appellant and deposited Rs.5,000/- on 13.06.2005 and receipt no.4039 for BBA was issued with Roll No.1939. The respondent was induced to deposit a further fee of Rs.8,000/- immediately which was deposited by the respondent vide receipt dated 20.06.2005 which included University Examination Fee and other charges. The necessary forms were also got filled up.

3. The respondent submitted his examination form to his class teacher Mrs. Shalu, along with other students and approached the college staff to deliver the roll number for appearing in the examination to be held on 29.12.2005 onwards by Punjab Technical University, with whom the appellant was affiliated. The officials of the appellant told the respondent that his examination form has not been received by the Punjab Technical University which clearly shows that it was misplaced by the appellant. The respondent approached the appellant time and again and requested to issue the roll number for appearing in the first semester of BBA. The appellant, in order to escape from the responsibility, asked the respondent to give in writing that he did not submit the examination form, whereas the respondent himself submitted the form to the class teacher Mrs. Shalu. The respondent on 23.12.2005 met Sh. Dua, Director of appellant firstly along with his father and made representation for delivering the roll number, but it was told that the respondent has not submitted the form.

4. On 24.12.2005, the respondent sent the representation to the Registrar of Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar and also visited the Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar along with his father on 28.12.2005 and narrated the facts to University authorities, who advised the respondent to deposit Rs.50/- for examination form which was deposited and form was obtained. The officials of the Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar told the respondent and his father to deposit Rs.5500/- for issuance of the provisional role number. The University authorities asked the respondent to obtain the signatures and seal of the appellant at the end of the form, where ‘Eligibility checked by the college/institution’, was written. The father of the respondent requested Sh. Dua for doing the same, but he refused to sign the form and due to their non-cooperation, the respondent could not submit the form as a result, the respondent could not sit in the examination, commencing from 29.11.2005 to 14.01.2006. The respondent suffered lot of mental tension and harassment as well as financial loss and claims Rs.5.00 lacs as compensation.

5. It was prayed that the appellant and OP-2 (not made party in the appeal) may be directed to refund the amount of Rs.13,000/- deposited by the respondent along with interest @ 18% p.a. and to pay Rs.5.00 lacs as compensation and Rs.5500/- as litigation expenses.

6. In the written version filed on behalf of the appellant and OP-2, preliminary objections were raised that the respondent is estopped by his own act and conduct from filing the complaint and is not entitled to the refund of the fee, as he did not fulfill the eligibility conditions of the Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar. The respondent did not fill the examination form for the reasons best known to him and in those days, he was absent from the college. The respondent has suppressed the material facts and concealed true facts. As per the rules and regulations of the University, the student has to make 75% attendance as compulsory for enabling him to sit in the examination, but as per the progress report, the lectures attended by the respondent were much below than 75%. As per the rules and regulations, a student who fails to clear more than 50% of the theory papers in first and second semester taken together for two consecutive times, shall be declared ‘not fit to pursue technical education and will not be allowed to pursue the course further’. The respondent failed to clear theory papers and was not eligible to appear in the final examination.

7. The examinations are conducted by the Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar and the rules are framed by the said University and the University is necessary party and the complaint is bad for non-joinder of necessary party.

8. On merits, applying for admission in BBA and deposit of Rs.5,000/- and the giving of receipt and roll number was admitted. The respondent did not submit the examination form to the class teacher. Out of 80 students of BBA First Semester, 73 students filled the forms and their forms were sent to the University vide letter dated 08.10.2005, but the respondent was absent in the class for 5 days and he did not submit the form. He also remained absent for many days in November and December, 2005 and was short of lectures. Sh. Dua, who is Coordinator, advised the respondent to meet the Director/Principal Sh. Kuldip Singh, but the respondent did not meet him. All other allegations were denied and it was prayed that the complaint may be dismissed with costs.

9. Parties led evidence in support of their respective contentions by way of affidavits and documents.

10. After going through the documents and material placed on file and after hearing the learned counsel for the parties, the learned District Forum observed that the respondent is not entitled for refund of admission fee and tuition fee as he did not attend the institute. The examination fee of Rs.3,000/- was taken from him, but he was not eligible to appear in the examination and the same cannot be retained by the appellant. The complaint was allowed and the appellant was directed to refund Rs.3,000/- to the respondent along with interest @ 9% p.a. from 20.06.2005 till payment. Rs.1500/- were awarded as compensation and litigation costs.

11. Aggrieved by the impugned order dated 25.07.2008, the appellant has come up in appeal.

12. We have gone through the pleadings of the parties, perused the record of the learned District Forum and have perused the written arguments filed on behalf of the appellant.

13. Neither the counsel for the respondent nor anybody else on his behalf appeared at the time of arguments.

14. In the written arguments filed on behalf of the appellant, it was submitted that the respondent took the admission and deposited Rs.5,000/- on 13.06.2005. As per the respondent, he deposited a sum of Rs.8,000/- on 20.06.2005 for examination fee and submitted the form with class teacher, along with other students, but he was not issued the roll number. The pleadings were repeated. As per the version of the appellant, the respondent did not fill or hand over the examination form to the institute or class teacher Mrs. Shalu. The factual position is that the respondent failed in First and Second semesters of BBA course and did not attend the lectures to make 75% attendance and he was ineligible as per the criteria fixed by the University and he did not fill the examination form, as he was absent from the college. The District Forum did not appreciate the fact that the respondent has not been over charged with respect to the examination fee, but the question is whether the appellant committed any deficiency in service. The perusal of the fee receipts clearly shows that the amount of Rs.8,000/- has been charged from the respondent as admission fee and there is no material on record to prove that any examination fee was charged. The District Forum wrongly held that examination fee of Rs.3,000/- was charged and the order of the District Forum is not sustainable and the appeal may be accepted and the order under appeal may be set aside.

15. We have considered the written submissions filed on behalf of the appellant and have carefully monitored the entire record placed on the file.

16. Perusal of the District Forum’s record shows that the examination form Ex.C-2 was filled by the respondent, but neither it is signed by the Principal/Competent Authority, nor the admit card was issued by Controller of Exams. Vide receipt Ex.C-3 dated 20.06.2005, Rs.8,000/- were received by the appellant from the respondent. The appellant has placed on record the Progress Report Ex.R-1 as per which the respondent remained absent for a number of lectures and vide Ex.R-2 dated 19.10.2005, he was advised to bring parents. As per Academic Result, 2004 Ex.R-4, 75% attendance is compulsory. The respondent, as per record of the appellant, did not attend the requisite lectures and the amount of Rs.8,000/- was deposited as tuition and Rs.5,000/- as admission fee. No examination fee was charged but the District Forum, of its own without any basis thereof, calculated the examination fee as Rs.3,000/-. Once, the respondent was not eligible for examination, there

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was no question of charging any examination fee from him, although admittedly, he took admission and paid the tuition fee. The order of the District Forum is based on conjectures and surmises and is not sustainable. 17. Sequel to the above discussion, the appeal filed by the appellant is accepted and the impugned order under appeal dated 25.07.2008 passed by the District Forum is set aside. Consequently, the complaint filed by the respondent/complainant is dismissed. No order as to costs. 18. The appellant had deposited an amount of Rs.2250/- with this Commission at the time of filing of the appeal. This amount with interest accrued thereon, if any, be remitted by the registry to the appellant by way of a crossed cheque/demand draft after the expiry of 45 days. 19. The arguments in this appeal were heard on 15.03.2013 and the order was reserved. Now the order be communicated to the parties. 20. The appeal could not be decided within the stipulated time frame due to heavy pendency of court cases.