Hyderabad: The consumer dispute forum has directed FIITJEE in Hyderabad to pay Rs. 35,000 as compensation to a parent for causing him mental agony over fee refund issue.

The complainant, M. Sridhar Brahma, a resident of Madhapur, decided to enroll his daughter Shruti Brahma in FIITJEE for her intermediate course. The two visited the institute on 12 April 2018 to make inquiries about the course. FIITJEE asked Shruti to appear for an examination the same day and the institute collected Rs. 100 for a talent test.

"The same day they declared that my daughter was eligible for admission and asked me to deposit a fee of Rs. 2,35,298 for each year. I did not want to enroll my daughter at the institute as I may get transferred. I informed them and told the principal who assured me that the money would be refunded in case I was transferred," said Mr. Brahma.

The complainant paid the enrollment fees of Rs. 53,100 and Rs. 6,400 by way of two separate banker's cheques drawn on 12 April 2018 in favour of FIITJEE. The opposite party (FIITJEE) collected three post-dated cheques for Rs. 79,700, Rs. 40,798, and Rs. 55,300, respectively. The complainant paid a total sum of Rs. 59,500 to FIITJEE as enrollment fees and received acknowledgment for the same.

Four days later, Mr. Brahma heard from reliable sources that he was being relocated to another city. On 16 April, he approached the senior general manager of FIITJEE with a letter stating he was withdrawing his daughter's admission and requesting a refund. The institute, however, did not refund the fees.

FIITJEE, meanwhile, said that relocation of a job cannot be a ground for refund as per the various terms and conditions of enrollment. The complainant's daughter was enrolled in the college and admittedly discontinued the course in the middle of the academic year due to which she is not entitled to a refund, it said. "The seat which was filled by the complainant's daughter is now left vacant in view of the said withdrawal in the middle of the academic year and the same cannot be filled by another student. As such, the seat is left vacant causing loss to the institution," said FIITJEE in a statement to the forum.

After going through the evidence and hearing the arguments of the complainant, the forum said: "The enrollment fees were paid on 12 April 2018 and the request of withdrawal of enrollment was made by the complainant on 16 April which is well in advance of the commencement of the academic year. The endorsement of the opposite party (attendance register) made this point very clear that the student had not attended a single class which proved that the complainant's daughter had not joined the institution."

It also added that the facts of the case were quite different and the citations filed by the opposite party were irrelevant. The acts of the opposite party (FIITJEE) amount to deficiency of service apart from adopting unfair trade practices for which they are held liable, it further said.

The forum asked FIITJEE to refund Rs. 59,500 and three post-dated cheques and pay Rs. 15,000 for causing mental agony and hardship to the complainant and Rs. 10, 000 towards costs of litigation.

Sumit Kumar Jha

Sumit Kumar Jha is currently a multimedia journalist with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University and Amity University, he has interned with The New Indian Express and CGNet Swara. Sumit has also worked with video production houses in Mumbai as an assistant director in shows like 21 Sarfrosh for Discovery Jeet. He is specialised in Video Production. He was also the contributor at PARI network. Hailing from rural Bihar has spent his childhood shifting from places and people. Growing up he felt the need to document the lives and dreams of rural India. A lover of visual storytelling goes around the cities to search for Stories. He primarily reports on civic, human interest and data stories.

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