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International Institute of Fashion Design v/s Preetika Sharma

    Appeal Case No. 214 of 2009

    Decided On, 23 October 2009

    At, Union Territory Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission UT Chandigarh

    By, MEMBER

    For the Appellant: Ameet Awasthi, Advocate. For the Respondent: Arvind Chauhan, Advocate.

Judgment Text

Pritam Pal, President:

1. This appeal by opposite party is directed against the order dated 20.3.2009 whereby complaint case No. 1480 of 2008 filed by Ms. Preetika Sharma was allowed by District Consumer Forum-II, U.T. Chandigarh in the following terms:

'In view of the above discussion, the complaint is allowed. OP is directed to return a sum of Rs. 22,000 (as a sum of Rs. 2,500 was sent to the University as registration fee) along with interest @ 9% from the date of its deposit till the date of this order. OP is also directed to pay Rs. 5,000 to the complainant as costs of litigation.'

2. The brief facts giving rise to this appeal are as under:

The complainant on 11.7.2008 took admission in diploma course of Interior Design in the institute run by OP and paid a sum of Rs. 24,500 as fee. She had also appeared in a Common Entrance Test conducted for admission to engineering courses. On 30.6.2008 the complainant received information from the University to appear for Counselling to be held on 20.8.2008 and she was hopeful of getting admission in view of her rank in the common entrance test. Accordingly on 10.8.2007 she informed OP that she was hopeful of getting admission in the engineering course in B. Tech and she was not interested to continue her studies in the diploma course for which she had taken admission. She also requested OP for refund of the fee but despite her repeated requests the amount was not refunded. Hence, alleging deficiency in service the complaint was filed.

3. OP appeared before the District Forum and filed written reply admitting the factual aspect of the case with regard to taking of admission by the complainant in Interior Design Diploma course by depositing fee of Rs. 24,500. However, it was stated by OP that the complainant had appeared for common entrance test for admission to engineering college. On 30.6.2008 she also came to know about her result and thereafter she received letter for counselling for 20.8.2008 but still she preferred to take admission in the institute of OP on 11.7.2008 and signed the declaration on 12.7.2008 wherein it was clearly mentioned that the fee once paid could not be refunded under any circumstances. It was pleaded by OP that the complainant left the course of her own sweet will because she got admission in another college, so, there was no deficiency in service on its part and complainant was not entitled to refund of any fee.

4. The learned District Consumer Forum after taking evidence of the parties on file and hearing Counsel for the parties allowed the complaint as indicated in the opening part of this judgment. This is how feeling aggrieved opposite party has come up in this appeal.

5. We have heard learned Counsel for the parties and perused the file carefully.

6. The only short point of arguments put-forth on behalf of appellant is that once the admission fee is deposited and declaration is furnished by the candidate or his/her guardian then he/she would not be entitled to the refund of admission fee. In support of this point of arguments he relied upon following cases:

(i) Appejay Institute of Management and Information Technology v. Prashant Ashok, 2009 (1) CPC 213,

(ii) Ramdeobaba Engineering College v. Sushant Yuvraj Rode & Anr., III (1994) CPJ 160 (NC),

(iii) International Institute of Information and Technology & Ors. v. Sumer Singh, I (2004) CPJ 522.

7. On the other hand, learned Counsel for complainant has repelled the aforesaid point of arguments raised on behalf of OP and contended that in view of circular dated 23.4.2007 of the University Grants Commission, the entire fee collected from a student cannot be swallowed by the authorities of the institutions as such same should be refunded after making deduction of process fee if the student left the college/institution and got admission in some other institution. He further relied upon a case titled Comed-K. v. T. Nagamani, II (2009) CPJ 314 (NC).

8. We have given our thoughtful consideration to the submissions made by learned Counsel for the parties and find no force in the plea raised on behalf of appellant/OP, inasmuch as it is a case where complainant had not attended the class even for a single day in the institution of OP, so, no service whatsoever was ever provided to her (complainant). In such circumstances, in our opinion, this is an unfair trade practice; rather unethical standard of the teaching institutions to swallow the amount of admission. A perusal of the impugned order shows that the District Forum has rightly ordered the refund of admission fee after making deduction of Rs. 2,500 which was sent to the university for registration fee, etc. No loss is proved to have accrued to OP by not joining the institution of the OP by the complainant. In the given facts and circumstances of the case the terms and conditions incorporated in the admission form, if any, for not refunding the admission fee in any circumstances are held to be arbitrary and against the ethics and so not binding upon the complainant. It is also in the fairness to the learned Counsel for appellant that we have gone through the ruling

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s cited by him, in fact the facts contained therein are quite at variance of the facts in hand, therefore, no benefit can be derived by the appellant from the observations made therein by Their Lordships. 9. In view of our foregoing discussion, we find no illegality in the order passed by the District Forum which is well reasoned and justified, so, no interference is called for therein. Consequently, this appeal fails and same is hereby dismissed. Certified copies of this order be communicated to the parties, free of charge. The file be consigned to records.