POONAM AWADH, who took admission at The British School, Chandigarh, to pursue her Class XI studies by paying an advance fee of Rs 50,000, had to leave the school as she was pressured by the authorities to take private tuition. Acting on this, the Consumer Forum has directed the school, at Sector 44B, to refund Rs 50,000 and fine of Rs 15,000 with 12 per cent interest from the date of deposit on December 28, 2017.
Poonam, in her complaint, had claimed that on July 8, 2014, she took admission in The British School in Class-XI (10+1), commerce for the 2014-15 session and paid Rs 50,000 in advance for the whole year. The girl then started attending classes at the school. But, after a week, the school authorities started pressuring Poonam to go to a private institute of their choice i.e. Helix Institute, Sector 34, Chandigarh, for tuition and even began to harass her whereas the complainant was not at all interested in coaching as she was only interested in self-studies.
According to the complaint, Poonam then brought the matter to the notice of her father, who took it up with the school administrator. But the school authorities did not help and never tried to resolve the issue.
Poonam told the court that due to compelling circumstances created by the school authorities, she had to pull herself out of the school on July 10, 2015, and then she requested the school authorities to refund the fee charged by it in advance for a full year, but the school did not pay any heed following which she submitted a formal complaint to the Consumer Forum.
The British School, in its reply, told the forum that the story put forth by the complainant was an afterthought and she had paid an advance fee of Rs 50,000 but not the balance of Rs 8,400 and she has also concealed the fact that the fee was non-refundable as per receipt.
The British School also mentioned that they have nothing to do with any private institute as it was well-equipped with well-trained professionals, experts, faculty and facilities to provide better education and that the allegation of the complainant was baseless and no request for refund of the money paid in relation to admission was made by the complainant or her father.
After hearing the arguments, the forum concluded that it was rather unfortunate that instead of relying upon the teaching staff of The British School itself, they indulged in such unfair means to earn and share money in connivance with private tutorials by sending pupils to them.
This unethical practice on part of the The British School cannot be allowed under the law of the land. The innocent children, who aspires for better education, cannot be left at the mercy of such unscrupulous institution(s) by permitting them to usurp tuition fees taken in advance, mentioned Consumer Forum in the order.