An aspiring law student, Vishal Gaonkar, who paid Rs. 46,800 as fees to an institute for a degree in law, only to find that no study material or support was provided, and no exams were conducted, has found relief via the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, North Goa.

Gaonkar submitted that he had approached the Engineers Learning Institute, which had offered the law degree course, several times after paying the full fees demanded, and waiting in vain for study material and other support. But each time the institute adopted delaying tactics and gave him false assurances.

Gaonkar said after losing all hope, he sent the Institute a legal notice, upon which he was informed that the institute merely functioned as an information centre for Apex Learning Technology Ltd., affiliated to CMJ University, Meghalaya. The Institute also told Gaonkar that it was only authorized to collect fees from prospective students and deposit the money in an account held by Apex Learning Technology Ltd.

Meanwhile, Gaonkar was told, the CMJ University was asked to stop functioning by the Meghalaya Government after some irregularities were brought to its notice. Therefore, examinations scheduled by bodies affiliated to it could not be conducted. The Institute also assured Gaonkar that it was in constant touch with Apex Learning Technology to get the issue resolved.

In his complaint to the Consumer Forum, Gaonkar said all the above information had not been divulged to him till the legal notice was sent, and as such, the Engineers Learning Institutue was guilty of deficiency in service. He submitted to the forum that he had undergone mental agony, been put to considerable inconvenience and had notched up substantial losses due to having incurred travel and other expenses.

The Forum noted that the opposite parties had not attended the hearing to contest Gaonkar’s claim, and, holding that deficiency of service on the part of Engineers Learning Institute had been proved, awarded Gaonkar, refund of the fees, compensation and costs.


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