The management of a Kochi-based self-financing engineering college has been directed to refund a fee of Rs.3 lakh with 12 per cent interest to a student who quit the college soon after enrolling for a course.

The Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, headed by Justice P.Q. Barkath Ali, upheld the order earlier issued by Ernakulam Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum. The commission also dismissed an appeal filed against the district forum order by chairman of SCMS Group and principal of SCMS School of Engineering and Technology.

Appeal dismissed

The appeal was dismissed with a cost of Rs.5,000.

The district forum gave the order after looking into a petition filed by S.S. Mahendrakumar of Kottayam.

According to the complainant, his son enrolled himself for the automobile engineering course under the management quota. However, he left the college as he disliked the subject.

When he sought the transfer certificate and fees to be refunded, he was asked to pay Rs.60,000 as liquidation damages in accordance with the seat sharing agreement the college had signed with the State government. Mr. Mahendrakumar said his son was admitted after commencement of classes in the first week of September 2009 and he left the college in the last week of September.

The management contended that the student had decided to quit without remitting the entire course fees. They argued that the agreement executed between the State government and Kerala Self-financing Engineering College Management Association provided that if a student discontinued his studies, the college authorities were entitled to retain the entire tuition fees collected. Therefore, if he was issued the transfer certificate, it would have amounted to violation of a clause in the agreement.

Dismissing the appeal, the commission observed that it was true that clause-10(2) of the agreement provided that “in case any student admitted to the college decides to cancel the admission for any reason whatsoever after 14th August 2009, the educational agency shall be entitled to collect the tuition fees for the entire course as fixed under this agreement”. But the above agreement was “not binding” on the complainant or his son who was “not a party to the same.”

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