THE UNIVERSITY of Mumbai has asked a suburban law college to return the excess fee collected from students a year after two former students appealed to the university on the matter. According to Nimesh Savla and Saurabh Mhashelkar, two former students of the college in Goregaon, the college was flouting university norms by charging fees that was more than double the fee prescribed by the university. The two had approached the student grievance redressal cell of the university for justice last year.
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After conducting an enquiry into the matter, the university has ruled in favour of the students and asked the college to return the excess amount to students within 15 days of receipt of the order.
“The university prescribes an annual fee slab of Rs10,000 to Rs13,000 for the three-year and five-year LLB courses. However, the college was charging us Rs 36,000,” said Savla.
Savla added the college had no authority to hike fee as only the Vice-Chancellor was entitled to make changes to the fee structure.
While the college had claimed that it had increased the fee by 8 to 10 per cent as it was not able to manage expenses with the fee stipulated by the university in 2001, the grievance cell quashed the college’s appeal. The students had also claimed that while the fee was high, the facilities provided by the college was not at par.
“When we joined in 2011, the prospectus read that the fees was around Rs12,000. However, when we joined, in the subsequent years the fees was raised to around Rs36,000,” said Savla, a former five-year law student. He said that following the rise in fee, several students left college midway through the course. “Around five students from our batch left the course because they could not afford the fees,” said Savla. The college has a total of 428 law students.
Mashelkar said that initially the students were unaware of the rules. “When our friends left the course, we wondered how the university could grant a college permission to double its fee. Only later did we find that the rules were different,” said Mashelkar, adding they approached the High Court and the ministry.
“While we got positive responses from the court and the ministry, the university would not cooperate. This order is the first time that the university has recognised our plight,” said Mashelkar.
The order by the grievance cell also stated that the facilities provided to the students were not as per the norms set by the university. “A decision on the same will be taken by the Board of College and University Development,” it read.