Friday, June 27, 2008

Educational institutions cannot hold back certificates: court

Educational institutions cannot hold back certificates: court

Mohamed Imranullah S.

Says they cannot be retained for non-remittance of fees

MADURAI: Educational institutions cannot hold back mark sheets, convocation certificates, course completion certificates or transfer certificates of students for non-payment of fees, the Madras High Court has ruled.

Disposing of a writ petition filed before the Madurai Bench, Justice K. Suguna said the academic certificates could not be termed ‘goods’ to enable the educational institutions to withhold them.

She pointed out that the Supreme Court, in R.D. Saxena vs. Balram Prasad Sharma (2000) case, had taken a view that a lien (right to possess property of another person until a debt owned by the latter is discharged) could be exercised only on marketable goods.

The Judge agreed with the arguments advanced by advocate G.R. Swaminathan that academic certificates were not saleable commodities, and hence could not be retained for non-remittance of fees. Counsel had voluntarily assisted the court though he was not representing any of the parties.

The petitioner, R. Pushpa Latha of Kanyakumari, said a private college of teacher education refused to issue academic certificates to her even after completing the Bachelor of Education course.

She alleged that the college demanded more money despite receiving the entire course fee without issuing any receipt during admission.

On the contrary, the college claimed that the petitioner had not paid the fees and owed Rs.35,000. Contesting the claim, petitioner’s counsel A. Dennison said her client would not have been permitted to appear for the examination without paying the fees.

No documents

Pointing out that there were no documents available on both sides to prove their contesting claims, Ms. Justice Suguna said: “I do not like to express any opinion with regard to the payment of fees or non-payment of fees. It is open to the institution to take appropriate steps against the petitioner, if she had not paid the fees, in the manner known to law.”

Ms. Justice Suguna also said that a writ could be issued against private institutions performing a public duty, though they do not fall under the definition of ‘State’ under Article 12 of the Constitution.

She pointed out that the proposition was laid down by a Full Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1998.

The Full Bench had said: “Powers of the High Courts (to issue writs) under Article 226 of the Constitution are wider than those of the Court of King’s Bench in England…The words “any person or authority” used in Article 226 do not mean only State or statutory authorities. These cover any person or body performing a public duty.”

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Also read the related stories

Institutions can't retain certificates for non-payment of fee

Madurai June 29:The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has ruled that educational institutions could not retain academic certificates for non-payment of fees.

Disposing of a writ petition filed before the bench, Justice K.Suguna has said that academic certificates were not "Commodities"which the educational institution could withhold.

The Petitioner R.Pushpalatha of Kanyakumari said a private college of teacher education refused to issue academic certificates to her even after completing the bachelor of education course.

During admission, the institute had received the entire course fee.Now for giving the certificates they were demanding more money, she submitted.

The college management contended that the student did not pay the full fee and she owed Rs.35000.

The student's counsel contended that the college management would not have allowed her to sit for the examination had she not paid the fee.

Pointing out that there were no documents to prove whether the candidate had paid the fee or not on both the sides, the judge said "I do not like to express any opinion with regard to the payment of fees or non-payment of fees.It is open to the institution to take appropriate stesp against the petitioner,if she had not paid the fee,in the manner known to law".

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http://www.chennaionline.com

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