Supreme Court of India (HT File )

Supreme Court to examine if educational institutions, varsities fall under consumer law – education

The Supreme Court agreed to examine the question of whether an educational institution or university can be sued under the consumer protection law for deficiency in services, saying there have been “divergent opinions” from the high court on the matter.

A bench of judges DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee admitted an appeal filed by Manu Solanki and other students of a medical course against Vinayaka Mission University in Salem in Tamil Nadu, alleging deficiency in services.

“Since there are divergent opinions of this Court on the matter as to whether an educational institution or University would be subject to the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act of 1986, the appeal would require admission. Admit it, ”the higher court said in its Oct. 15 order.

He asked lawyer Soumyajit, who appeared on behalf of the caveator university, to submit the response within six weeks to the appeal filed against a decision of the National Consumer Dispute Remedy Commission (NCDRC).

The university has relied on the judgments of the Maharshi Dayanand University high court and the PT Koshy cases to say that these verdicts have held that education is not a commodity and that educational institutions do not provide any kind of service.

Therefore, in terms of admission and fees, there can be no one type of service and therefore there can be no service deficiency issue that needs to be resolved in consumer forums or commissions. However, the students cited other judgments that have argued that educational institutions would fall within the scope of the 1986 Consumer Protection Act. Solanki and eight other students from the university’s medical course had requested compensation of 1 , 4 rupees. crore, each claiming deficiency in service and due to “loss of social position, academic years, career opportunities, mental and physical agony.”

They alleged that the university induced them to enter the course with a false assurance that it had all the necessary approvals from the authorities. The students were admitted to the offshore program in 2005-2006 which comprises a two-year study in Thailand and a two-and-a-half-year study at university here, according to the statement. The students were assured that they would obtain their final MBBS degree conferred by the university and recognized by the Government and Medical Council of India.

However, after two years of study in Thailand, the students were informed that they were to continue their course in Thailand and that they would be awarded a foreign medical degree and subsequently presented for screening in India, according to the statement. . The students said they suffered loss of career opportunities as the National Examination Board said their qualification “was not a primary medical qualification as the title is not recognized by the Medical Council of India or the Council of Thailand.”

The NCDRC, in its ruling of January 20, had said: “We consider that institutions that provide education, including professional courses and activities that take place during the pre-admission and post-admission process and also provide field trips, picnics, Extracurricular activities, swimming, sports, etc., except for Training Institutions, will therefore not be covered by the provisions of the 1986 Consumer Protection Act ”. Aggrieved by this, the students filed an appeal in the superior court.


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