Petition filed by students of medical varsity in Salem, alleging deficiency in service
The Supreme Court will examine whether an educational institution should be subject to the provisions of the Consumer Protection Law for deficiency in services.
The apex court issued a notice after an appeal was filed against a judgment of the National Consumer Redressal Commission.
The bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee, while admitting the appeal, noted that the Supreme Court has divergent views on the issue.
The petition was filed by Manu Solanki and other students of a medical course against Vinayaka Mission University in Salem, Tamil Nadu, alleging deficiency in services offered by the university.
“Since there are divergent views of this Court bearing on the subject as to whether an educational institution or university would be subject to the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 1986, the appeal would require admission,” the Supreme Court said in its order of October 15.
The court asked the lawyer appearing on behalf of the university to file a response within six weeks.
The university had earlier cited the apex court’s judgments in the Maharshi Dayanand University and in the PT Koshy cases that education is not a commodity and educational institutions are not providing any kind of service.
The students have, however, cited other judgments where it has been observed that educational institutions would come within the purview of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, and that education is a service.
Owing to the “loss of social standing, academic years, career opportunities, mental and physical agony”, the main petitioner, Solanki, and eight other students of the medical course of the university had sought a compensation of Rs 1.4 crore each for deficiency in service. They alleged the university had induced them to take admission to the course on a false assurance that it had all the requisite approvals from the authorities.
The students said they suffered loss of career opportunities as the National Board of Examination said their qualification was “not a primary medical qualification since the degree is not recognised by the Medical Council of India or the Council of Thailand”.
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