Thane, Apr 30 UNI | 3 months ago

Admitting a complaint by a student for BDS, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum here held the Terna Dental College deficient in service and resorting to unfair trade practices, and directed it to pay a compensation of Rs 70,000 to the student.

The Forum, headed by president S S Mhatre, dismissed the defence of the College and ordered it to refund an amount of Rs 79,000 along with interest at 12 per cent per annum from September 21, 2011.

As per the order, the college has to make the payment within 30 days of the passing of the order. Of the total compensation amount, Rs 50,000 is compensation to the complainant for undergoing metal agony, physical harassment and for causing inconvenience for not paying returning the fee and Rs 20,000 towards the cost of the complainant.

The complainant, Kavita Mullal Kanojia, a resident of Kanjurmarg in Mumbai had stated that she passed her class XII exam in the year 2010 and qualified the Common Entrance Test conducted by the Association of Management of Unaided Private and Dental Colleges and secured 145 marks. She secured admission in the Terna Dental College on September 12, 2011.

At the time of admission, she had paid a fee of Rs 1,70,000 and an additional Rs 35,000 as hostel fee and caution money deposit of Rs 35 besides an application fee of Rs 100.

In her complaint, she submitted that she belonged to OBC category but the fee she paid were applicable to the general category candidates. However, the college refused to give her any concession.

She further stated in her complaint that initially Shishir Singh, Dean of the College, refused to admit her on the ground that she did not have a caste validity certificate. The complainant assured him to produce the same shortly and was admitted on the basis of provisional certificate.

The Dean agreed to give her admission on the condition that if she failed to produce an original caste validity certificate within 30 days of her admission, the same will be cancelled and she will have to pay the entire fees for the four years' course.

The College told the complainant that if she cancelled her admission by September 25, 2011, she would get 50 per cent of tuition fees back and if she fails to produce caste validity certificate in time, she would have to pay fees of Rs 80,000 as fees.

She received her caste validity certificate on September 30, 2011, and then approached the College to secure the admission but was told that the seat was filled and that she would not get admission that year.

The College, deducted Rs 80,000 from the total fees, even as the complainant lost an entire academic year. Therefore, she urged the Forum to direct the College authorities to return Rs 80,000, in addition to Rs 3 lakh for loss of her academic year and stigma on her career, she also calimed Rs one lakh for mental torture and Rs 10,000 towards the cost of the complaint. The Forum, in its order, observed that the College had miserably failed to show that there were no vacant seats in the college after cancellation of admission of the complainant. The Forum further observed that the College had deducted Rs 80,000 from the fees paid by the complainant in an unauthrised manner and this amounted to deficiency in service on the part of the respondents. It also amounted to unfair trade practice as defined under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the forum said.

Therefore, the complainant is entitled to get the said amount from the College with interest at 12 per cent per annum from September 21, 2011, till its payment.

The Forum, however, refused to grant a compensation towards loss of academic year of the complainant.

(Posted on 30-04-2014)