Holding a Cuffe Parade college guilty of deficiency in service, a consumer forum has ended a Masters in Pharmacy student's three-year battle to get Rs 96,000 in scholarship money. The college was ordered to release the amount with a compensation of Rs 1.4 lakh as she had to keep travelling for the case from her home in Madhya Pradesh.

Using information received through Right to Information queries, Ankit Jain proved that despite receiving the scholarship amount on her behalf from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), K M Kundnani College of Pharmacy did not disburse it to her on the grounds that she had failed in her first year. She established that she had passed the exam. She had initially failed a test, but cleared it later to keep a clean slate.

The South Mumbai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum said there was no evidence to show the college had returned the scholarship amount to the AICTE. “On the contrary, it has filed documents that the scholarship amount was invested for other administrative work, including salary of the employees," the forum said.

Refuting the defense argument that the complaint was not maintainable as Jain was not a consumer, the forum said: “The complainant took admission by paying tuition fees of Rs 75,000 to the college. She has hired the services of the college by paying the amount, so she comes within the definition of consumer. "

Jain filed a complaint before the forum on March 16, 2015. After completing her bachelors in pharmacy in 2011, she took admission for her two-year masters with the college. She was sanctioned Rs 1.92 lakh as scholarship, which worked out to Rs 8,000 per month.

She got the amount in the first year, but the college refused it in the second year. Jain said she had got an ATKT (allowed to keep term) in the first semester, but she cleared it in November 2012. She also passed the second semester in May 2012. Her research was published in the international journal, Pharmaceutical Science Review and Research, and she had bagged an A grade in the second year, she added.