Chandigarh consumer forum directs British School to refund fee, pay compensation | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Chandigarh consumer forum directs British School to refund fee, pay compensation

Forum tells it to refund fee of student, who was ‘pressurised’ to attend private coaching.

punjab Updated: Jan 06, 2018 13:46 IST
HT Correspondent
The forum also pulled up the school for allegedly forcing the student to join coaching classes.
The forum also pulled up the school for allegedly forcing the student to join coaching classes.(HT File/Representative image )

The Chandigarh District Consumer Disputes Redress Forum in a hard-hitting order directed British School, Sector 44, to refund Rs 50,000 fee and pay Rs 15,000 compensation to a Mohali girl.

The forum also pulled up the school for allegedly forcing the student to join coaching classes.

Even last year, the Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CCPCR) had issued a show-cause notice to the school for offering dummy admissions in Classes 11 and 12.

Reacting to the order, school principal Mona Sethi told HT that she will look into the matter once the school reopens on Monday. 

Dummy admissions involve students enrolling to Classes 11 and 12 in a board-affiliated school, but spending their time preparing for competitive entrance exams to engineering and medical colleges instead of attending classes. The schools help them out by taking care of the 75% compulsory school attendance and practical exams in lieu of the fee and other monetary gains.

While the CBSE recently downgraded another private school for the same offence, British School’s provisional affiliation was extended, subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions.

‘Mental harassment’

In the present case, complainant Poonam Awadh stated that she took admission to Class 9 in the school for the 2014-15 session and paid Rs 50,000 advance fee for the whole year.

She alleged a week after she started attending classes, the school started pressurising her to take coaching at a private institute of their choice, even as she was interested in self study. Her father reportedly took up the matter with the school administrator, but to no avail. Finally, due to “mental harassment”, Poonam pulled herself out of the school on July 10, 2015, but the school refused to refund the fee.

In their written reply, the school authorities stated that Poonam paid an advance fee of Rs 50,000 but did not pay the balance of Rs 8,400. They said the fee was non-refundable, as mentioned on the receipt. The school also denied the allegation that it had forced the student to attend any private classes, while adding that a number of calls were made to the complainant to attend the classes but she didn’t turn up.

‘Unfair means’

However, after hearing both sides, the forum stated that it was unfortunate that instead of relying upon its own teaching staff, the school indulged in unfair means to earn and share money in connivance with private coaching institutes.

The forum noted that the school took advance fee for the entire year, without providing any professional service to the complainant and claimed the amount was non-refundable. “This unethical practice on the part of the school cannot be permissible under the law of the land,” it said.

The school has been told to refund Rs 50,000 along with 12% annual interest from July 8, 2014, and pay Rs 10,000 as compensation and Rs 5,000 as litigation cost to the complainant.

Reacting to the order, school principal Mona Sethi told HT that she will look into the matter once the school reopens on Monday.