`Consumer fora can`t direct award of certificates`
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Last Updated: Tuesday, July 20, 2010, 21:02
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has held that the consumer fora cannot direct a statutory examination board to award certificates to students as it is beyond the purview of the Consumer Protection Act.

"The respondent as a student is neither a consumer nor is the appellant rendering any service. The claim of the respondent to award B.Ed. degree was almost in the nature of a relief praying for a direction to the appellant to act contrary to its own rules.

"The National Commission, in our opinion, with the utmost respect to the reasoning given therein, did not take into consideration the aforesaid aspect of the matter and, thus, arrived at a wrong conclusion," the apex court said in a judgement.

A Bench of Justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar gave the judgement while upholding the appeal filed by Maharishi Dayanand University challenging a direction to award B.Ed degree to a girl student Surjeet Kaur.

The university had refused to grant certificate to the girl student for her B.Ed course on the ground that she had concealed the fact of simaltaneously pursuing her M.A in Political Science in Government College, Gurgaon.

However, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) directed the University to award her the degree, following which the varsity approached the apex court.

Citing its earlier judgement in the Bihar School Examination Board case, the apex court said the Consumer Protection Act does not intend 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.

Moreover, in the present case, the apex court said the student was pursuing the two courses simaltaneously though the rules clearly prohibited this.

The bench said the Commission had come to an erroneous conclusion that the student was "tortured" by the varsity by denying her the certificate.

"We wish to make it clear that the National Commission felt that the respondent had been "harassed" and has also gone to the extent of using the word "torture" against an officer of the appellant.

"The appellant is an autonomous body and the decision of the appellant and the statutory provisions have to be implemented through its officers. This also includes the implementation of all such measures which have a statutory backing and if they are implemented honestly through a correct interpretation, the same, in our opinion, cannot extend to the degree of torture or harassment," the apex court said while upholding the varsity's plea.


First Published: Tuesday, July 20, 2010, 21:02

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