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Upasana Mukherjee, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 07, 2012
Terming it as “coercion”, the National Consumer Court has ordered a Chennai-based school to refund a “so-called donation” to a man who was forced to shell out Rs. 25,000 to secure his daughter’s admission in Lower Kindergarten (LKG) in 2001.

Such a donation cannot be a precondition to admission, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) held.

A bench of Anupam Dasgupta and Suresh Chandra ordered CSI Ewart Matriculation Higher Secondary School to refund the donation together with interest at nine per cent per annum. It also directed the school to pay Rs. 5,000 towards the cost of litigation to the parents.

The school had asked the complainant, K Rajendran, to pay Rs. 25,000 as donation for the New Auditorium Project before he could deposit the admission fees.

“A plain reading of the slip (issued by the school), which was produced by the complainant before the District Forum, clearly shows that the so-called donation of Rs. 25,000 for the New Auditorium Project was a pre-condition for acceptance of the tuition fees in view of the condition,” the NCDRC said, reversing the concurrent findings of the district and state consumer courts.

Allowing Rajendran’s appeal against the state consumer court’s order, the NCDRC said: “In any case, the element of coercion in collecting the ‘donation’ for the New Auditorium Project of the School is writ large on this document (slip).”