District Consumer Court in Delhi recently directed leading IIT/JEE entrance coaching institute, FITJEE to refund the fees paid by a student who chose to discontinue attending classes.
After paying his fee Rs 87,000, the student had attended only about 17 days of classes and found the coaching unsatisfactory, moving further he chose to withdraw his admission from the institute FITJEE. He asked FITJEE to refund his remaining fee, after deducting the proportionate amount payable for the classes already attended.
The student, through his father, was constrained to approach the consumer court when FITJEE did not respond to the repeated requests for the fee refund.
A Bench of President RS Bagri and Members Naina Bakshi and Kiran Kaushal passed the order after finding, inter alia, that the absence of an exit clause in FITJEE’s enrolment form rendered it unconscionable, as it was one-sided.
“On perusal of the agreement it is observed that no exit clause has been provided in the agreement in case the student finds the service of the OP [FITJEE] unsatisfactory and wishes to withdraw from the institute. Therefore absence of exit clause makes the agreement unconscionable as it is one sided.
Similar views are taken in Brilliant Tutorials V/s Rahul Das, Appeal No.509/2006, decided on 09.01.17 wherein the view of State Commission was that ‘any such term of contract between the parties which allows the provider of service to forfeit the amount of service which he has not provided is against the public policy and good conscious, unjust and unconscionable as the provider of service has the right to charge consideration only if it provides the services.’”
Therefore, FITJEE was directed to pay Rs 50, 000 as refund to the student and furthermore, an additional amount of Rs 10, 000 for the mental agony suffered by the student in all these process.