Hyderabad: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has said that if a student leaves a school to join another institute, the fee collected from the student must be refunded and the certificates returned. The commission held that the fee has to be refunded and a processing fee of Rs.1,000 deducted.

After the commission’s verdict, a consumer redressal forum in Karimnagar has directed Alphores High School in the district to pay compensation and refund the fee to a parent whose child had to leave the school two days after he was enrolled.

On 18 April 2016, A. Venugopal’s son was enrolled in Class IX at Alphores High School. Mr Venugopal paid Rs. 10,000 as admission fee. However, due to personal reasons his son had to drop out of the school within two days. The complainant, Mr Venugopal, requested the school to refund the fee after deducting incidental charges. However, Alphores High School refused and said it was the school’s admission policies that fee once paid will not be refunded.

“The complainant enrolled his son in the school agreeing to the rules stated in the biodata-cum-admission form of which rule 1 says that admission fee once paid will not be refunded and rule 16 imposes liability of payment of 25 per cent of the total fee in the event of cancellation of admission within one month. In the caution deposit it is mentioned that registration fee will not be refunded,” an official statement from Alphores school said.

The total fee payable was Rs. 40,000 and 25 per cent of that, Rs.10,000, was for examinations (Rs. 6,000) and caution deposit (Rs. 4,000).

With reference to the national commission’s order the consumer forum, while listening to the arguments made by both the parties, said, “Having seen the hardship the complainant had to encounter, the opposite party (the school) ought to have refunded the amount to the complainant and the failure of the opposite party on such count amounts to deficiency in service on the part of the opposite party.”

The forum, hence, directed the school to pay Rs. 9,000 with interest at nine per cent per annum from the date of filing of the complaint, 29 November 2016. Also, the school was asked to pay an additional Rs. 5,000 as compensation.

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. Dheeshma has also made short films and documentaries. Her documentary ‘Still I Rise’, which is based on sex-trafficking in Hyderabad’s Old City, has earned accolades in several film festivals, such as International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala (IDSFFK). An avid foodie, she loves to travel and listen to stories that others tell. Photography is one of her all-time interests. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, health, consumer, and data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.

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