Educational institutes are service providers and not statutary bodies


After the pronouncement of landmark judgement by the apex court in the matter of Bihar Examination Board  V  Suresh Prasad Sinha in the year 2009 holding  that the examination boards and Universities being statutory bodies falls outside the purview of the Consumer Protection Act, all educational institutes  are trying to take the plea that consumer protection act does not have the jurisdiction to deal with the matters pertaining to education, A bench comprising Justice R V Raveendran and Justice Markandey Katju had  said in their judgement-

   “We are clearly of the view that the Board (examination board) is not a ‘service provider’ and a student who takes an examination is not a ‘consumer’ and consequently, complaint under the Act (Consumer Protection Act) will not be maintainable against the board,”

Not only that,some private educational institutes have started naming their institutes as University .Looking into this fact, UGC has issued notification to this effect and warned such institutes prohibiting them the use of word   university with the   name of their institute.

Yet there are cases coming up  before the consumer forums and consumer commissions wherein it is being pleaded that they are not covered under the consumer protection act in view of the judgement in the matter of Bihar Examination Board  V  Suresh Prasad Sinha in   2009. Recently National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has once again made the issue very clear in its order dt.12.10.2012 in the case of Krishna institute of education&technology &others V/S Ravneet kour and others  1v (2012)CPJ 623(NC)

The issue in the present case is of irregular admission in B.ED course to the complainant Ravneet kour in the original case before the consumer forum in violation of condition that no counseling for admission shall be done after 30.9.2007.Despite this restriction,the OP admitted the complainantin November 2007 to the course by receiving Rs 1.7 lacs between 15.11.2007 and 26.11.2007.  Kurukshetra university directed all the colleges to cancel the irregular admissions and inform the controller of examination board.Complainant filed the complaint before the forum after this order to all the colleges. Receipt of this payment could be established before the consumer court and it directed to refund Rs 1.7 lacs

Institute filed appeal before the state commission,it dismissed the appeal on the ground of limitation as well on merits .The matter had now come before the National commission  with one more ground of jurisdiction of the  consumer commission taking reference of Bihar Examination Board  V  Suresh Prasad Sinha case .National commission has held now in this case that the facts of the case are totally different It is not the case of the petitioner that it is a statutary body/board of examination,it is a private educational institute providing services to the students,hence referred case  not applicable to the present case. 

                The order by the Honourable Supreme court in Bihar Examination Board case does not change the law already laid down in respect of educational institutes or against statutary bodies like University etc.for their statutary functions .The need is to carefully examine the fact of the case and draw a demarcation line between the administrative functions by the institute and  the statutary functions by the university

Let us re-look on the latest decided case by the Hon’ble Supreme cpourt and appreciate the spirit of the order. It is much more important to know and note that educational institutions are very much covered under the provisions of consumer protection act for the purpose of their services rendered for consideration There is an Apex court order  dt 13th Feb 2009 by the two judges bench comprising justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Harjeet Singh Bedi  confirming the order by the National commission in appeal no 1135 of 2001 in the matter of Budhist Mission Dental College and Hospital that imparting education by an educational institute falls within the ambit of service as defined in the consumer protection act.

The above order draws a demarcation line between the services provided by the institute by charging fee/money as consideration for rendering services where as University is a statutary body not rendering services while performing much more serious and statutary function in the noble field of an education and not doing any trade  business or profession.

Statutary functions :                                                               

Conducting examination ,fixing the dates for examination,changing the date sheet,appointing invisilators and paying them for the same ,allotment of roll number,checking the answer sheets and giving numbers  ,declaring the result ,setting criteria for giving admission to a particular course and giving admission or rejecting application etc

Administrative services;

For conducting the examination,if there is any deviation by the institute in the procedure set by the university without information ,that particular institute can be questioned when it had charged fee for coaching and other related matters If the rule is for the student to reach the examination center at 9.OO a.m,it is the discretion of the University to relax it for the reason given or not but not a right of the student.

Students cannot say any thing as to why such dates are fixed for the exams,or why this particular number is allotted or why results are not declared within expected period or why one is not given admission in particular stream when he /she did well in the interview.

But if any institute affiliated or recognized  with the university gives certain services other than the functions of the university by charging fee ,it is liable for deficiency in services for the same before the consumer forums

If student has a grievance in getting low marks ,can get the calculation of the marks re-checked but cannot claim for re-valuation                                                                  


 Dr Prem lata









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