CERS compels school authorities to refund wrongfully held fees post withdrawal of admissions

Ahmedabad, 15th June, 2013

In a recent order passed by Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum Ahmedabad (Rural), city based Somlalit School was asked to refund the entire amount of Rs 50000/- charged as admission fees along with interest to harassed parent, Dharmesh Shah who had claimed the refund after withdrawing the admissions of both his sons on 10th May 2010 without them attending even a single session of the academic calendar in school. The forum has also ordered Somlalit School to pay Rs. 3000/- for mental agony faced and Rs. 1000/- towards the litigation charges involved.

Dharmesh Shah had paid admission fees for both his sons-Fenil Shah and Devras Shah at Somlalit School. But, before the academic session for 2010-11 began, Dharmesh decided to withdraw the admissions of both his children and therefore claimed refund from the school authorities. In fact, Dharmesh also followed up his request with a legal notice on 30th October 2010. When the school authorities refused to respond, Dharmesh approached CERS to intervene. CERS was quick to initiate action and filed a case on May, 2012 in the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum on behalf of the complainant.

Later on, the school authorities said that the refund was denied as it was non refundable and the same had been specified at the time of admissions. In response to this reply, CERS filed a rejoinder affidavit on 13th August 2012 clearly highlighting that the amount being non refundable was no where specified in all the fee receipts given by the school during the admission process and therefore the claim for refund was valid.

During the arguments, the school authorities also claimed that being an educational institute they were not bound by the regular consumer and service provider relationship. However, the consumer forum denied the claim citing the ruling of the National Commission and Supreme Court which clearly states that due to the fees charged the educational institute is bound to provide the service. Further CERS also highlighted that the withdrawal of admissions by Dharmesh Shah hadn’t adversely affected the school authorities as the seats were later on filled by other students and so there is no reason for them to refuse the refund claims.

After hearing both parties, the forum did not find any merit in the arguments made by the school authorities. Therefore the forum ruled an order in favor of the complainant asking the school to lawfully compensate the complainant at 9% rate of interest from 10th May 2010 along with charges for mental agony caused and litigation involved.

For further information please contact : Ms Pritee Shah (O) 079-27489945/46

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