Thursday, April 22, 2021
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FORE in legal trouble over admission rules

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A management institute is at least expected to manage its admission process well. But it seems FORE School of Management—best known as FORE and located in the tony Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi—can’t even do that. After over-admitting 51 students for its two-year programs—Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) and International Business (PGDM-IB), the institute, on July 14, asked them to withdraw their names, well two weeks after the session had started.

The approved strength for PDGM is 180, but FORE admitted 25 extra students. For the IB program with a sanctioned strength of 60, it went overboard and admitted 26 extra students. Why did it admit these extra 51 students?

The institute had applied to All India Council for Technical Education for the approval of extra seats but it has not come so far. Still, FORE went ahead presuming that the approval will come at some date.

Another possible reason is that in the last academic session there were about 50 less students because of last-minute withdrawals (these happens in every B-school). So, in anticipation that a lot of students might withdraw in the end, the authorities perhaps thought that the institute should not lose out.

At the time of admission, no hint was given to these aggrieved 51 students that their admission as subject to AICTE’s approval of extra seats. The offer letter, to which India Legal has access, does not state it. Rather, it states: “We would like to congratulate you for your selection for admission to the program.” Other details of fee submission follow.

On July 14, these 51 students were given three options:

  1. They withdraw their name from the institute, and if AICTE increases the seat limit, they will be re-admitted
  2. They attend classes but will get their degree at the end of third year, not two years.
  3. They shift to FORE’s part-time program, in which case again they will get their degree after three years (“part-time” doesn’t carry the same importance when it comes to placements, these students say).

The institute now says that these 51 candidates were picked out because they were lowest in the merit list. But an aggrieved student told India Legal that when they demanded the merit list from authorities, they refused to furnish it. The most that they granted was an assurance letter that the admission granted to these students stands. The caveat was that unless AICTE approves the increased strength, this assurance letter has no meaning. The only way out for the institute is to grant the degree at the end of three years. 

The students are left in a quandary. Some of these students left their seat at another B-school to opt for FORE, some gave up their job to join the management program. One student said she does not have the stamina left to go through the rigour of CAT next year.

Despite repeated attempts by India Legal to get in touch with FORE’s director Dr JK Das, he did not respond or reply to email queries sent to him.

 The matter had gone to the Supreme Court with FORE seeking the court’s intervention to direct AICTE to grant approval for the extra seats. Parents of 22 affected students had also filed a petition against FORE in the court. The apex court had issued notice to AICTE and asked it to appear on July 25.

According to India Legal sources, the apex court today reprimanded FORE for admitting extra students without AICTE’s approval. It asked FORE to pay Rs 2 crore as fine and ordered that affected students would continue to attend classes till August 9 when the court will take up the matter again.

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