RTI Judgement Series: Helpless AICTE cannot take action against syndicates of dental, medical and engineering colleges
Moneylife Digital Team 16 May 2013

COMEDK, the front of dental, medical and engineering colleges in Karnataka, refused to refund deposits taken from students. AICTE said it cannot take action against the front and was seeking legal opinion, which it was asked to share with the applicant. This is the 93rd in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application

The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing an appeal, directed the Public Information Officer (PIO) of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to share copy of legal advice it sought regarding refund of fees paid by students to a front formed by dental, medical and engineering colleges in Karnataka.

While giving this judgement on 16 February 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “By AICTE's rules the fees of students should be refunded if the seat is allotted to another student. However, the front COMEDK refuses to refund the fees. Feigning ignorance, the AICTE was still seeking legal advice in the matter since the past eight months.”
Ghaziabad resident Aneesh Bansal, on 31 March 2008, sought information pertaining to refund of fees from the PIO of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Bansal in an RTI application requested refund of fees deposited at the time of counselling to COMEDK for BE (engineering) at MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology at Bangalore with a letter ref no F No1-101/ DGP/ AICTE, dated 19 November 2007.

In his repeated complaints, dated 15 December 2007, 16 January 2008 and 17 February 2008, Bansal had asked documents regarding the refund of his fees at the concerned college. “I regret to say that I have not received the above mentioned fees till this date and also there is no response to my repeated correspondent,” he stated.

Bansal also asked for certified copies of all the actions taken by the AICTE, as per the rule for his complaint.

The PIO stated that he had provided the information sought by Bansal. He also attached a copy of the answers received on the subject.

Not satisfied with the PIO's reply, Bansal filed his first appeal. In his order the First Appellate Authority (FAA) said, “It is noted that the regional office, AICTE, Bangalore forwarded a letter from MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore dated 24 December 2007 to AICTE, New Delhi, which had given the correct picture of the case. The letter was addressed to Dr Rakesh Kumar, director for public grievances at AICTE, New Delhi with a copy to Aneesh Bansal. Copies of the letters of MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore are sent to you for further necessary action at your level. There is no further information available on this issue at Regional Office, AICTE, Bangalore in this regard.”

Bansal then approached the CIC with his second appeal.

During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that Bansal had paid Rs50,000 to an agency called COMEDK, which is a consortium of various dental, medical and engineering colleges in Karnataka. “The engineering colleges are affiliated to AICTE, and appear to have formed an ingenious method of flouting the rules and regulations of the affiliating body the AICTE,” he observed.

The Commission said, whereas by AICTE’s rules the fees of students should be refunded if the seat (which they refuse after payment of fees) is allotted to another student, the front COMEDK refuses to refund the fees. It said, “AICTE feigns that they are helpless and the respondent states he is still obtaining a legal advice on the matter since over eight months now. The appellant is being told that the information on refund of his fees cannot be provided since the front COMEDK is beyond the pale of all regulation.”

While allowing the appeal, Mr Gandhi, then directed the PIO of AICTE to send a copy of legal advice obtained to the appellant. AICTE should also ensure that its writ runs in colleges which it gives affiliation, the CIC said in its order.


Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2008/00284/1678
Appeal No. CIC/ SG/A/2008/00284

Appellant      :  Aneesh Bansal, Ghaziabad - 201002

Respondent:   Nirendra Dev,
                             Dy. Director & PIO,
                             All India Council for Technical Education,
                            7th Floor, Chandra Lok Bhavan, Janpath,
                            New Delhi 110001.

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