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
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.