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Principal faces fee stick

Ranchi, Sept. 30: Jharkhand High Court has ordered Ranchi University to act against a former principal of the Graduate School College for Women, Jamshedpur, for not refunding money to underprivileged students who had wrongly been charged higher fees.

The court was reacting to a report submitted by an university inquiry committee and responding to a public interest litigation filed by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.

Manju Sinha, former principal of the Jamshedpur college, is now principal at the Ranchi Women’s College.

A division bench of Chief Justice P.K.I. Balasubramanyan and Justice R.K. Merathia also directed the state government to ensure that students belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes are paid stipends so that they do not suffer financially.

The case arose in 2001 when full fees were collected from students at the Jamshedpur college when they should have been charged reduced fees under the government’s welfare scheme. When Sinha was alerted to this, she allegedly took no action.

The then principal only assured students they would be reimbursed the difference in fees after the college received funds from Ranchi University and their caste and income certificates had been scrutinised.

Funds were released after the university was informed of the matter. Despite this, the difference in fees was not returned to the students. The People’s Union for Civil Liberties was informed and on studying the matter, agreed that the students’ allegations against Sinha and the college were correct. The Union asked the university vice-chancellor to take action against the principal, but it did not do so.

When pressure was stepped up, the university set up an inquiry panel which said the allegations were correct. Despite this, no action was action, prompting the Union to move the high court.

The case came up today before the division bench, which has directed the vice-chancellor to take action.

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