In a move that will bring relief to thousands of students and parents, a city consumer court ruled that educational institutes fall under the purview of the Consumer Protection Act and grievances regarding poor services can be treated as consumer complaints.
Acting on a complaint, the Mumbai Suburban Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum on Friday ordered the prestigious Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) to refund the fees of a student who withdrew his admission.
In March 2006, Mahavir Chopda got admission in the Vile Parle-based institute for the Master in Business Administration course, but quit in August 2006.
Chopda had paid Rs 1,36,650 as annual fees and asked NMIMS to deduct proportionate fees till August. The deemed university said he was not entitled to a full refund and refunded only Rs 1,000, after which Chopda approached the forum.
NMIMS said imparting education did not create a buyer-seller relationship and the complaint did not hold in a consumer court. It based its argument on a Supreme Court ruling, which observed that imparting education can't be equated with trade.
The Forum held that a complainant was a "consumer" and the institute a "service provider" as defined in the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.