The apex consumer commission has held a university in Bihar guilty of making an applicant suffer by “unauthorisedly” initiating an MBA course and then cancelling it.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), however, reduced the amount of Rs 4.5 lakh awarded to the man as compensation for loss of career opportunity by a district forum to Rs 25,000, saying “it was a correspondence course, and therefore, loss of employment is not expected.”
“The compensation of Rs 4 lakh awarded by district forum is quite excessive and the forum has not given any reasoning to allow this compensation…
“It was a correspondence course and therefore, loss of employment is not expected. There are no averments that the complainant was employed somewhere and left the job for pursuing his MBA through distance education,” the NCDRC bench of presiding member Rekha Gupta and member Prem Narain said.
It further said, “However, it is also true that the complainant had suffered due to unauthorised advertisement by the respondents and later on the cancellation of the said course. In the circumstances, we are of the view that a compensation of Rs 25,000 would be reasonable and sufficient.”
The NCDRC’s order came on an appeal by Ajay Kumar who had applied for Master of Business Administration in 1998 through distant learning at L N Mithila University in Darbhanga but two years later found out that the university had cancelled the course.
A district forum had allowed his complaint and granted him monetary relief of Rs 4 lakh towards loss of career opportunity and Rs 50,000 for mental harassment.
This order was set aside by the state commission which had found the university innocent considering that it had to withdraw the course as it did not get permission from the state government.
Kumar had then moved the NCDRC which partly allowed his plea and said, “First of all, it seems that the course was cancelled due to the fact that state government did not give the permission to start this course. It simply means that the course was unauthorisedly initiated and advertised by the opposite party (university).”
“This was only administrative decision of the university to start this course for the purpose best known to them for which no rules were followed. Thus, the complainant/petitioner would be considered ‘consumer’ within the meaning of Consumer Protection Act, 1986,” it said.
During the proceedings, the university had denied the allegations and said the man never deposited the original receipt and hence the fee could not be refunded.
( Source – PTI )