MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here has directed a teacher training institute at Thanjavur to refund Rs.78 lakh to 28 female and 11 male students who were admitted without complying with the mandatory procedures.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Prabha Sridevan and Justice B. Rajendran directed the Ramajayam Teacher Training Institute at Vallam to pay Rs.2 lakh to each of the 39 students and report compliance by March 31.The High Court Registry was directed to communicate the order directly to the institute. A copy was also marked to the Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Union Ministry of Human Resources Development and Research.

Earlier, the petitioners' counsel submitted that the students, who joined institute in 2005, could not complete the course despite having paid Rs. 81,000 towards college fee and Rs.1 lakh towards capitation fee besides Rs.80,000 spent on filing cases.

The institute had admitted the students without obtaining approval of its staff list from the National Council for Teacher Training Education (NCTTE). The admissions were made in 2005, but the staff list was forwarded only in 2008.

However, the students managed to write the examinations on the basis of interim orders passed by the High Court. But a single judge on July 2, 2009, refused to order declaration of their results for want of approval of staff list and hence the present writ appeals.

In its counter affidavit, the institute said that it was attached to Ponnaih Ramajayam Institute of Science and Technology. “Now it has become a deemed University and it grew and developed like a banyan tree having schools and engineering colleges.” The management of the university “being very much depressed and disheartened, decided to surrender the teacher training courses,” the counter filed on November 2 read. Thereafter, the institute's counsel did not appear to argue the case.

The Division Bench agreed with the single judge that teacher training institutes could not admit students without obtaining approval of the staff list. Nevertheless, the institute in the present case could not be let free without compensating the students.

Ms. Justice Sridevan said: “Students of teacher training institute generally come from middle class families. Very often, the parents even sell their agricultural lands to get their children admitted in the course. But the institutes like the fourth respondent (Ramajayam institute) take these people for a ride, admit them and receive huge amounts even before approval and even without complying any of the requirements of the NCTTE.”

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