The instant appeal under Section 15 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (for brevity, ‘the Act’) is at the behest of complainant to impeach the final order/judgment dated 10.07.2017 passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Kolkata, Unit – III (South) (in short ‘Ld. District Forum’) in Consumer Complaint No. 615 of 2016. By the impugned order, the Ld. District Forum allowed the complaint lodged by the appellant under Section 12 of the Act with the direction upon the opposite party/respondent to refund of Rs. 77,000/- within three months from the date of the order in default the amount shall carry interest @ 10% p.a.
The appellant herein being complainant lodged the complaint before the Ld. District Forum asserting that he was admitted in Ph.D course in Computer Science and Engineering Department of respondent institution on 02.11.2011 which institution was a franchise of several university courses. The appellant was first admitted at Chandra Mohan Jha University (CMJ University), Shillong (Meghalaya) for which the respondent took Rs. 37,000/- only as admission charge. On 04.10.2012 the respondent took Rs. 5,000/- as course fee and Rs. 2,000/- as examination fee but later the appellant came to know that the university where he was admitted was a fake one. When the appellant demanded for refund of course fee again he was promised by respondent for admission at OPJS University, Churu (Rajasthan). Accordingly, the appellant deposited Rs. 35,000/-. However, when the appellant personally visited the OPJS University, Churu he came to know that the respondent institution did not pay the course fee to the university. Therefore, on the allegation of deficiency in services on the part of the respondent/opposite party the complainant approached the Ld. District Forum with prayer for refund of course fee mentioned above along with interest thereon.
The respondent being opposite party by filing written version contested the case and prayed for dismissal of the complaint.
During hearing of the case, both the the parties have tendered evidence through affidavits. They have also given reply against the questionnaire set forth by their adversaries. Upon consideration of the matter, Ld. District Forum allowed the complaint with the directions as indicated above. Being dissatisfied with the award passed by the Ld. District Forum, the complainant has come up in this Commission with the present appeal.
I have heard the Ld. Advocate for the appellant and seen the materials on record.
Despite receipt of notice on 06.11.2017 the respondent did not bother to appear and contest.
Ld. Advocate for the appellant has submitted that the Ld. District Forum has glaringly erred in holding that the appellant is not entitled to any compensation for the harassment. Expanding her submission, Ld. Advocate for the appellant has submitted that the Ld. District Forum has failed to observe that the career of the appellant has been spoiled and he had to loss long valuable five years due to negligence or deficiency on the part of the respondent and as such the appellant should have been compensated.
Upon hearing the Ld. Advocate for appellant and on perusal of record, it would reveal that the appellant being a resident of P.O. + P.S. Balurghat, Dist.- Dakshin Dinajpur approached the respondent institution to pursue Ph.D course through the respondent institution as per their advertisement in the website. The respondent gave the appellant three choices of colleges and the appellant chose CMJ University, Shillong (Meghalaya) and got admitted in the said university through the respondent on 02.11.2011 for Ph.D course and paid registration fee of Rs. 37,000/-. The respondent held on Course Work Examination in their office premises in Kolkata avoiding UGC Regulations and issued one Course Completion Certificate in June, 2012. The materials on record also indicate that the appellant also paid Rs. 5,000/- and Rs. 2,000/- for course fees and examination fees respectively. However, due to irregularities, mismanagement and mal-administration, the Meghalaya Government compelled to dissolve the said university.
When the appellant claimed refund of amount he was allured by the respondent’s promise for getting admission in OPJS University, Churu (Rajasthan) for pursuing his course. However, when the appellant personally visited Rajasthan to ascertain the actual state of affairs, it was found that the respondent did not provide any amount to OPJS University, Churu for prosecuting his studies.
The facts and circumstances and the materials available on the record indicate that the opposite party/respondent was not only deficient in rendering services but also adopted an unfair trade practice within the meaning of Section 2(1)(r) of the Act. In that perspective, the Ld. District Forum has rightly allowed the complaint but in ignoring the fact that the appellant/complainant has paid Rs. 79,000/- to the respondent institution and not Rs. 77,000/- and as such a direction for refund of Rs. 79,000/- should have been passed.
However, in the prayer clause of the petition of complaint also in the body of the petition of complaint, the appellant did not claim any amount of compensation. Needless to say, fair procedure is the hall-mark of justice and an affected party has every right to know the allegations by which he will be affected. When there is no averment or prayer in the prayer clause of the petition of complaint, I think the Ld. District Forum was quite justified by not awarding any amount as compensation.
So far as the claim of litigation cost is concerned, the appellant has not annexed any copy of written version or the evidence led by the parties before the Ld. District Forum and as such it is not possible to ascertain how and on what circumstances the Ld. District Forum without awarding any interest from the date of payment has passed an order to make payment of interest @ 10% p.a. unless the amoun
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t is paid within three months from the date. In such a situation, I do not find any reason to interfere with the amount of litigation cost imposed by the Ld. District Forum. In view of the above, the impugned order is modified only to the extent that the respondent/opposite party to refund Rs. 79,000/- to the appellant/complainant. However, other part of the order is maintained. With the above observations and directions, the instant appeal stands disposed of. The Registrar of the Commission is directed to send a copy of the order to the Ld. District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Kolkata, Unit – III (South) for information.