The Madras Flying Club has been pulled up by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chengalpattu, for not refunding the full fees collected from an aspirant for a private pilot’s licence after he was declared medically unfit for the course.

S.Shankar Sundaram approached the Forum saying he had applied to the Club for a private pilot’s license, and was issued a letter by Capt. Shankar V Mudaliar, Flight Instructor (in-charge) of the Club, asking him to join a ‘Ground Class’ for training to obtain the licence. Sundaram said he paid the Rs. 2.86,500 requested by the Club as fees for the course.

Subsequently, he underwent a physical fitness examination, and his application was thereafter rejected on the grounds that he was diabetic (Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) on Injectable Medication).

When he asked for a refund of the fee he had paid, Sundaram said the club issued him a cheque for Rs. 30,000, and told him that the balance would be paid shortly thereafter. However, it failed to return the remaining Rs. 2.56 lakh.

The complainant submitted that collecting the payment for training before the medical examination contravened the rules of natural justice. He wanted the money refunded with 24 per cent interest per annum, as well as Rs. 1 lakh as compensation for the mental agony he had been made to suffer, and Rs. 10,000 as case costs.

Neither the Club nor Capt. Shankar were represented at the hearing, despite notices being sent to them, and the matter was proceeded with ex parte. Earlier, the Club had sent a letter saying it was facing problems with the Airports Authority of India, and that the issue was pending in Court. It said that the fees would be refunded to Sundaram as soon as the problem was resolved.

The Forum has directed the club and Captain Shankar jointly and severally to refund Rs 2,56,500 with interest of 12 per cent from April 22,2013, till realization, pay Sundaram a compensation of Rs 25,000 for mental agony and Rs 5,000 as case costs.


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