Colleges and Universities covered under Consumer Protection Law. As education falls in the ambit of service of Consumer protection Act as such colleges and Universities fall under the Consumer Protection law
While expanding the scope of Consumer Law, National Commission opened new doors in “Bhupesh Khurana and others Vishwa Budha Parishad and others” that imparting education falls within the ambit of service as defined under CPA as per the report on consumerprotection.in. It was held that fees are paid for services to be rendered by way of imparting education by educational institutions
Any student becomes a consumer when he attends an educational institution & hires the services of that institution upon payment of fees for attending classes and writing examinations. He becomes a consumer when that fee is accepted from him reports CCC
An educational Institution can also be held liable under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Holding of exams, declarations of results are all services under the Act & can be looked into by the consumer courts. Consumer courts have also held that it is not within their jurisdiction to look into whether particular rules in an institutions prospectus are illegal or not.
This is a great move in the direction of Consumer Protection as many Five stars schools & colleges are mushrooming day by day. These claim of false affiliation with well known Universities in India as well as abroad and charge huge sums in the name of fees and other charges, which is unaffordable for the common man. Many of these institutions appoint unqualified staff and faculty to teach a particular stream and sometimes even such aculty is not available. Examinations are not held in time or results are not declared for months or even years, or certificates are not issued to them. Most of such Colleges & Schools are being run by fly- by-night operators with only commercial motives. In the last decade imparting education has become just another business rather than service to the society. To be cheated and lose hard earned money is one thing but more important fact is that the future of many students is at stake.
In many such cases, which have come before the National Commission, the apex consumer court has clearly held that providing education is a service and has compensated the aggrieved consumer.
In a number of cases the non supply of Roll Number, unexplained delay in deciding the application for admission, misrepresentation in advertisement and prospectus about the recognition of the college, non refund of the initial payment as college fee etc. have been held as deficiency in service
As per the recent citations quoted by legal point, Universities are covered under the Consumer Protection Act.
As per the Judgement – “Ram Kumar Aswani v. M/s A.K. Structural Foam Ltd. 1993 CPC 383” – A student applying for revaluation of his result comes under the definition of a “Consumer”
In another case , Registrar H.P university v Suresh Kumar 2007(2) CPC, the Complainant could not get admission in M.A. class due to mistake of University which wrongly declared him unsuccessful- University directed to pay compensation of Rs. 50,000 with costs to the complainant
Also in the case of Guru Nanak Dev University v. jagjit Singh 2005(1) CPC 490 Pb. , After accepting admission fee from complainant GNDU Amritsar revoked admission due to not having necessary qualification – University directed to refund fee with interest.
Also in one of the cases , Classes were not started after the university received fee for less number of students (as it was not viable to run the course). The University waas directed to refund the amount with cost- (Director, Mahatma Gandhi University v. Gopalkumar. 1999(1) CPC 292).
Also in the past, Consumer courts have held that misleading advertisements by educational institutions can amount to an unfair trade practice and have even directed the institutions to stop such ads in the future. Where the student could not get his roll number for which he had applied to sit for his exams & as a result of this, he lost a year of his studies, the consumer courts have held that it amounted to a deficiency of service.