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 The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has said the nationalized banks disbursing educational loans for students cannot take into consideration the fee charged by colleges for providing laptops to their students, as the laptops were not a luxury gadget, but a necessity for the students in the present era.

Delivering the judgment on the petition filed by A Mahendran of Virudhunagar, last evening, Mr Justice P Jyothimani directed the Indian Overseas Bank to advance educational loan of Rs two lakh to the Dalit student, whose father was a daily wage labourer.

According to the petitioner, he had joined the MBA course at a private college in Coimbatore in August 2009 and he had to pay Rs 1.63 lakh in the first year of the course and Rs 1.33 lakh in the second year.

The amount, included tuition and hostel fees and Rs 30,000 towards a laptop. He applied for an education loan in IOB at Narikkudi in Tiruchuzhi taluk of Virudhunagar District on October 28, 2009, but so far no steps were taken to disburse the loan by the bank and sought a direction from the court to sanction the entire amount of Rs 2.9 lakh.

The bank in its counter claimed that it could sanction only Rs 1,40,990 for the two years course, on the basis of the recommendations made by a committee constituted by the State government for fixing fees to be charged by private colleges for self financing professional courses.

It said the committee headed by former High Court judge N V Balasubramanian had said the colleges could charge a maximum of Rs 47,655 for the first year MBA course and Rs 45,325 for the second year and further to this Rs 24,000 per annum was fixed as hostel fees.

The committee also recommended that a reasonable amount could be charged for books, laboratory and examination fees. Justice Jyothimani, after going through the recommendations made by the committee said in the present case, the bank could not restrict its liability only to tuition and hostel fees. It should also consider the amount towards book, examination and laboratory fees.
He directed the IOB to sanction a loan of Rs two lakh to the petitioner within two weeks and to consider the amount charged by the college for providing a laptop as fee charged for books.

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