New Delhi: Kolkata-based Indian Institute of
Hotel Management (IIHM) has been ordered by the country`s apex
consumer forum to refund the entire fee to its student who was
admitted over six months after the course began.
Dismissing IIHM`s contention that fee once paid is not
liable to be refunded, National Consumer Disputes Redressal
Commission (NCDRC) directed IIHM to refund the entire Rs
45,460 to student Reshmi Dutta after deducting a nominal Rs
1,000 as administrative charges.
"As per UGC guidelines, the entire fee after a deduction
of the processing fee of not more than Rs 1,000 shall be
returned by the institute to the student," NCDRC Member S K
Naik said, endorsing a West Bengal state consumer commission
"It can only be said that these type of one-sided
conditions have been overruled by a number of fora, including
the University Grants Commission and the Ministry of Human
Resources Development," the NCDRC held dismissing IIHM`s plea.
Reshmi had taken admission in the institute on December
5, 2008 after seeing an advertisement for admission in a
regional daily on November 23, 2008. Three days later, she,
however, realised that the course had started in May 2008 and
the examination for second semester was to begin in the next
When contacted, the college authorities advised her to
attend the classes, saying she would be able to cover the
syllabus and her attendance shortfall would be waived.
Finding it difficult to cover up the syllabus at the
stage when the practical examinations had already been held,
Reshmi requested the institute to consider her candidature for
the next session beginning May 2009.
However, when the institute did not approve her request
Reshmi demanded her fee back, but to no avail. She then moved
the district consumer forum, which dismissed her compliant.
The state consumer forum, however, on her appeal, asked
IIHM to refund the entire fee with a compensation of Rs 1,000.
The IIHM, in its appeal before the NCDRC, contended that
the advertisement was not for inviting admission applications
but was merely aimed at providing general information with
regard to the status of the institute.
The NCDRC, however, rejected this contention, saying, "If
the intention was not to invite students for admission, there
was no need for the institute to have indicated the procedure
(for admission). Further, the institute itself had accepted
the fee and admitted the student mid-way."