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During covid19 most of the classes are basically shifted to online mode and all the awarded marks are just awarded based on googling skills as colleges have no infrastructure to conduct the courses online. Some of us, including me, requested the colleges reduce the course fees but they don't want to do it. Not only that the colleges are suppressing the papers e.g. admission documents, registration certificates, etc. so in that sense the colleges are running the business by just putting the "covid19" on the board without sharing any infrastructure e. g. the library facility and lab.

Can I raise my voice through the consumer court for this? if yes, how do I do it? What is the documentation and methods we must follow? Where should we post this if there is any jurisdiction-based website that exists?

Can we win this as the colleges are most likely going to defend it with a covid19 related act or the Disaster Act?

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  • What jurisdiction was this in? what did the agreement between student and college provide? Jul 29 at 1:31
  • jurisdiction West Bengal, Kolkata, India. no agreement. they are providing at all. even more than that they don't mention educational ses or any indirect tax
    – CADENTIC
    Jul 29 at 1:34
  • 1
    To be somewhat pedantic, anyone can start a lawsuit anywhere. Whether you can successfully finish it and obtain relief, which is what you mean to ask, is another thing.
    – ohwilleke
    Jul 30 at 1:29
  • can I put up this complain in pmopg.gov.in and public grievance under covid19?
    – CADENTIC
    Jul 30 at 17:29
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Given your reference to "consumer court", I assume this is in India, so you are also concerned with the Consumer Protection Act. Under the act, your complain would have to be about one of a number of things, including most likely

(iii) the services hired or availed of or agreed to be hired or availed of by him suffer from deficiency in any respect;

where furthermore

"deficiency" means any fault, imperfection, shortcoming or inade­quacy in the quality, nature and manner of performance which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or has been undertaken to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any service;

and

"service" means service of any description which is made avail­able to potential users and includes, but not limited to, the provision of facilities in connection with banking, financing insurance, transport, processing, supply of electrical or other energy, board or lodging or both, housing construction, entertainment, amusement or the purveying of news or other information, but does not include the rendering of any service free of charge or under a contract of personal service;

There have been conflicting reports as to whether education is a "service", but the recent ruling (2 Feb 2021) by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in the case Rajendra Kumar Gupta vs Dr. Virendra Swarup Public School states its position:

It is settled law, as stated in the aforementioned precedents set by the Hon'ble Supreme Court as well as this Commission, that Educational Institutions do not fall within the ambit of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and education which includes co-curricular activities such as swimming, is not a "service" within the meaning of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986

The Supreme Court of India in Maharshi Dayanand University v. Surjeet Kaur rejected an interpretation by NCDRC which concluded that education is a service, instead saying

The respondent as a student is neither a consumer nor is the appellant rendering any service...The case decided by this Court in Bihar School Examination Board (supra) clearly lays down the law in this regard with which we find ourselves in full agreement with

In the Bihar decision, (1) the defendant was the examination board and (2) the Board is a statutory creation. Para. 11

The object of the Act is to cover in its net, services offered or rendered for a consideration. Any service rendered for a consideration is presumed to be a commercial activity in its broadest sense (including professional activity or quasi-commercial activity). But the Act does not intended to cover discharge of a statutory function of examining whether a candidate is fit to be declared as having successfully completed a course by passing the examination. The fact that in the course of conduct of the examination, or evaluation of answer-scripts, or furnishing of mark-sheets or certificates, there may be some negligence, omission or deficiency, does not convert the Board into a service-provider for a consideration, nor convert the examinee into a consumer who can make a complaint under the Act. We are clearly of the view that the Board is not a service provider' and a student who takes an examination is not a consumer' and consequently, complaint under the Act will not be maintainable against the Board.

The Maharshi case likewise involved a legislatively-created educational institution.

In Anupama College Of Engineering vs Gulshan Kumar, the Supreme Court cited an order from P.T. Koshy & Anr. v. Ellen Charitable Trust & Ors (which appears to be unpublished) that

In view of the judgment of this Court in Maharshi Dayanand University v. Surjeet Kaur [(2010) 11 SCC 159] wherein this Court placing reliance on all earlier judgments has categorically held that education is not a Signature Not Verified 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.

Given the definite policy of the NCDRC, you cannot file a complain in consumer court. Theoretically, you could appeal up to the Indian Supreme Court, if you can distinguish your case from the Maharshi U case. Two issues raised in that case and the Bihar case that is foundational for the later case are whether the institute is a statutory institution or a private business, and whether you are a paying customer (paying tuition, not just fees). Even the most recent NCDRC ruling leaves open a distinguishing factor, that the putative deficiency relates not to education, but to an extracurricular activity made available by the institution. I conclude that the Supreme Court of India has not made a broad ruling that "education is not a service", it has ruled more narrowly that in certain cases, a specific education-related entity is not providing a "service"

If you sue, it will be dismissed, and you will have to appeal to the highest court. You'll need to hire a good attorney to figure out if there is any realistic hope of getting further clarification.

2
  • can you please share any link if I can start online and during the hearing process I can hire a lawyer?
    – CADENTIC
    Jul 29 at 21:18
  • then why education is listed in-service class for the intellectual property if it is not a service? so in any circumstances, any teacher can teach anything and we need to suffer that lession.
    – CADENTIC
    Jul 30 at 3:12

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