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Old June 22nd, 2011, 11:00 PM
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Exclamation HC: How can Shah Rukh Khan promote IIPM as a product?

HC: How can Shah Rukh Khan promote IIPM as a product?
TNN | Jun 22, 2011, 09.54pm IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka high court has issued notice to Bangalore University and the Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum, with regards to a petition filed by a batch of students from Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM). The students were seeking refund of fees paid by them for pursuing an MBA course at the institute.

The petitioners have also sought a direction to the authorities to take appropriate steps to close or derecognize IIPM and prosecute them under relevant provisions of law.

Interestingly, Justice S Abdul Nazir, while hearing the petition, verified the institute's prospectus and asked the counsel what connection Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan has with the institute as photos of him were found in the prospectus.

"What has Shah Rukh Khan got to do with your institution? Does he have any contract as your brand ambassador? Or he is an old student? What is the connection? Can celebrities like him promote an educational institution as they promote a product?" the judge asked the counsel representing IIPM.

The judge also indicated that in case there is no satisfactory response from IIPM with regard to the queries posed by the court, notice may be ordered to SRK requiring him to appear and reply. At this stage the counsel for IIPM asked the court in a lighter vein to pass such an order so that they can also have a glimpse of the famed Bollywood star. The court has posted the matter to July 4 on the petition filed by Praveen V Mesta and others. The court was informed by the counsel representing Arindam Choudhary, founder-director of IIPM, that all the documents including marks cards submitted by the petitioner students at the time of joining the institute had been returned. Only the transfer certificate of Shreyas R is yet to be returned, the counsel said.

The petitioners who were admitted for a two-year full-time MBA degree in planning and entrepreneurship in 2010-11 have complained that inspite of their repeated enquiries, neither the IIPM had not disclosed any information pertaining to its registration, recognition, affiliation nor any provision of law under which the institute has been established or functioning. They also claimed that the MS University, Tamil Nadu which had certified IIPM as an approved onsite academic partner is a private University and cannot operate outside Tamil Nadu and doesn't possess approval for conducting distance education courses.

"When the classes commenced in a godown in electronics city, the devastated students questioned the staff about the genuineness of the course. To this the staff members revealed that IIPM was neither registered nor affiliated by any statutory authorities as required under law," the court was told.

"As per the prospectus, the IIPM is offering three categories of courses depending upon fee structure, highest being Rs 11 lakh and the minimum being Rs 4.7 lakh. Except one, the other four petitioners have paid two instalments amounting to Rs 2.5 lakhs," the court was further informed.

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