MANGALORE: St Aloysius College in the city has been pulled up by Dakshina Kannada District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum for misleading students by offering unapproved Post-Graduate course in media studies in the years 2008 and 2009. The forum directed the college to repay double the fee to four students who filed a complaint.
The autonomous college had started the Master of Communication and Media Studies (MCMS) course in 2008 without the approval of Mangalore University. Later, the course was approved by the university in 2010. Following this, the university considered MCMS course conducted by the college in 2008 and 2009 as unapproved. Students Reena S, Sandhya C D’Souza (2008 batch), Harsha Raj Gatty and Wilma Lydia Serrao (2009 batch) approached the forum when they were denied MCMS degree as assured in the prospectus.
The forum directed the college to return Rs 1.60 lakh each to Reena and Sandhya (their course fee was Rs 80,000) and to reimburse Rs 2.28 lakh each to students Harsha and Wilma (their course fee was Rs 1.14 lakh).
The college has been asked to pay Rs 2,000 each to the complainants as litigation expense. The forum directed the college to pay interest at the rate of 12% per annum if the compensation is not paid within 30 days and to pay additional compensation of Rs 2 lakh each if it fails to award MCMS degree in the convocation to be held in April-May, 2013.
Forum president Asha Shetty noted that just because St Aloysius Institution became autonomous from the academic year 2007-2008, it cannot act according to its whims and fancies.
“St Aloysius Institution cannot be allowed to take advantage of its own wrong by playing with the careers of young students, the same is the grossest kind of deficiency in service and unfair trade practice. The complainants (students) suffered immensely in terms of money, time and career and demanding adequate compensation by the complainants is justifiable,” the forum observed.
College principal Fr Swebert D’Silva said: “We feel that the order of the consumer forum has not taken into consideration the privileges of an autonomous college which are bestowed on them by the UGC to start a new course. The order does not appreciate the distinction between an affiliated college and an autonomous college. We strongly feel that the order is based on hypothetical assumptions and therefore the college has decided to appeal against the order in the higher forums.”