There has been lot of ambiguity regarding the consumer complaint related to educational institution under the consumer protection, 1986, In the recent development Hon’ble Supreme Court in “Maharshi Dayanand University v. Surjeet Kaur”, 2010(2) CPC 696 S.C., relying upon all earlier judgments held that education is not a commodity. Educational institutions are not providing any kind of service, therefore, in matter of admission, fees etc., there cannot be a question of deficiency of service. Such matters cannot be entertained by the Consumer Forum under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Further Hon’ble Supreme Court in “Bihar School Examination Board versus Suresh Prasad Sinha”, 2010 (1) CLT 255 (SC) observed that “the Education Boards & Universities are not ‘Service Provider’ and the complaints against them are not maintainable. The Hon’ble Apex Court in its latest judgment “P.T. Koshy & Anr. v. Ellen Charitable Trust & Ors.”, 2012(3) C.P.C. 615 (S.C.) has followed the above views.
Under the guise of these judgments the Hon’ble District forums and State commissions started dismissing matters pertaining to educational institutions.
The purpose of consumer protection is to provide cost effective remedies to consumer, making educational institution out of consumer would mean excluding students who need the most protection under the law out of the law, which means private educational institutions who charge hefty fees and afford biggest lawyers can easily win legal battles in civil courts, while the needy students burdened with hefty fees.
But for the students there is still ray of hope in the consumer forums in this recent judgementSri Sukhmani Institute Of … vs Sh. Rishabh Garg on 30 April, 2014 the Hon’ble State commission in which the above mentioned judgments and its application are mentioned, there are educational institutions who do unfair trade practices and are actually fake, these institutions cannot be taken under the definition of educational institutions. Under such circumstances consumer forum do entertain consumer complaints under the CP act 1986. Also the law is still not clear related to unaffiliated institutions. Hope someday The Hon’ble SC would interpret educational institutions and protect innocent students.