The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has asked all technical institutions not to retain original certificates of students if they discontinue with their courses.
The council has also warned that violations of the directive could lead to punitive action, which includes suspension of approval, a fine of five times of the total fee collected and even reduction of approved intake.
The ministry of human resource development and AICTE has received a number of complaints against institutions for refusing to return the original certificates and demanding payment of fees for subsequent years even if the candidate wants to change his college, having qualified elsewhere.
The AICTE has also laid down norms for the refund of fee in case a student drops out of the programme.Around this time of the year, many first and second year students opt to change their courses or shift to colleges of their choice.
The council earlier issued a notice to all the technical institutions as well as to individual institutions against whom complaints were received of retaining original certificates of students.
Ordering strict compliance, the April 6 circular said that that it would not be permissible for institutes to retain original certificates and demand fee for the subsequent years from the students who cancel their admission at any point of time.
Professor Anil D Sahasrabudhe, chairman, AICTE, said that the norms have been clearly stated in the handbook for the approval process.
“The circular has been issued to all technical institutions under AICTE. And wherever there are complaints against individual institutions we have written to them individually. The rules have to be followed or action would be initiated,” he said.
As per AICTE rules, if a student withdraws from a course before the start, the entire fee collected from the student, after a deduction of the processing fee of not more than Rs 1,000, shall be refunded. The rules also state that in case the vacated seat is not filled, the institution should refund the security deposit and return the original documents.