Consumer: Delays in getting marksheet leads to compensation

In an order than held that an educational institution, if it provides education or holds examinations, provides a service that is covered under the Consumer Protection Act, the Lucknow Consumer Redressal Forum awarded a sum of Rs. 20 lakhs to a student whose examination results were not provided to him for a long period, and hence compensation was awarded to the sum of this amount of ruining his career, and for litigation costs. This was a complicated where a court case was needed to get the result finally declared, after which the student went to consumer court for getting compensation for time lost and damage to his career. The consumer forum also over-ruled the position of the educational bodies that the consumer court did not hold jurisdiction over them:

LUCKNOW: The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Lucknow, has awarded a compensation of Rs 20 lakh to a student who waited for five and half years to obtain his marksheet for a back-paper examination which he undertook in 1999. The commission also held that an educational institution, while imparting education/or holding examination, does render a service as defined in the Consumer Protection Act. It was after repeated requests and written representations could not evoke action on the part of the opposite parties that he filed a writ petition in the high court.

The high court issued an order on May 24, 2004, directing the opposite parties to declare the result of the complainant. But, the order was taken lightly by the opposite parties and complainant, therefore, filed a contempt petition. However, the same was dismissed by the court because in the meantime the complainant’s back-paper result was declared (on April 11, 2004). The complainant then approached the commission. The commission, however, observed that inordinate delay in declaring the result has not only completely blocked but ruined the career of the complainant. It ruled that the case is of deficiency in service and rejected the contention of the opposite parties that the complainant is neither a consumer nor they (opposite parties) are rendering to him any service.

For many years now, there are many sections of society who claim to be serving interests of society, and not provide a consumer service. Medical services are one of them, and so are educational institutions, who take on the mantle of providing a higher service of education. However, in their conduct, they are nowhere near being of high morality, with their behavior being commercial. In such cases, it is eminently justifiable to hold them up for not acting in the interests of the student.

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