Doctor Fails AIIMS Entrance, Sues Coaching Institute And Wins The Case!

Maharashtra State Commission has ruled that a student is a consumer, and he/she can file a case against the college or University.

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Student protests in India (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Student protests in India (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Dr. R Sankara Rao, a young doctor hit the headlines for quite an intriguing news. In an interesting (rather aggravating) turn of events, this young man approached the Consumer Forum and sued his coaching classes, blaming them for his failure at the AIIMS entrance exam.

Is a student a consumer? Can a student sue his/her educational institution?

Coaching Institute Sued By Student

R Sankara Rao sued the Bhatia Medical Institute in Hyderabad, the reason being the classes did not provide sufficient coaching as promised.

He alleged that the coaching classes had assured him that he would be assigned to renowned pathologist Dr. Devesh Mishra, but in reality, not even a single class was taught by Dr. Mishra. He also accused that the institute did not cover all the topics mentioned in the syllabus given to Rao at the beginning of the year.

On the other hand, the coaching institute disputed all the claims by Rao. They clarified that no promises of Dr. Devesh Mishra being a faculty member were made to Rao and that there was no fault in their coaching methods. They also went on to say that after covering the main topics, additional topics were taught in the institute.

Student Wins The Case

However, the Hyderabad  Consumer Forum 3 found the institute at fault as it failed to deliver on the promises made to the complainant and keeping him ‘disgruntled and dissatisfied’. The judgment was ruled out on the basis of the many requests made by Rao via emails written to the institute which were paid no heed to.

The order of the court: ‘The opposite parties are only coaching institutes and when they promise a certain standard, it should be observed carefully. That the complainant should obtain a seat in AIIMS is certainly not their responsibility but the path towards the flat goal should not be hindered by not delivering.’

The end result: Rao was refunded his fees of Rs. 45000 (after deduction) and Rs. 32000 as compensation.

Student Is A Consumer, Can Sue Educational Institution

Educational institutes and coaching classes are now looked at as a means of business. At every nook and corner, there is either a college that claims to possess the best of facilities and infrastructure or a coaching class that will create academic toppers out of each student. Big on assurances, it is almost always that they fail to deliver on their promises. But it is the students, who spend their valuable time, money and energy who suffer in this pandemonium.

Here are some things that you should know in case you feel extorted by your educational institute:

  • As per a case filed in 2018, a student can approach the Consumer Forum against educational institutes that make bogus claims of affiliation, commit a breach of University Grants Commission guidelines, spread false information about an available infrastructure that can be accountable as a deficiency in service or unfair or restrictive trade practices.
  • Another case in Gujarat he relationship of the school and a person cannot be termed as a service provider and consumer, hence, the educational institute cannot be sued in case the student fails in an exam.
  • Sources state, ‘A student cannot claim to be a consumer and say he should be admitted into the university to pursue a particular degree in a particular subject – it is only for the university to decide. Apart from the admission criteria, other aspects like the course duration, the fee structure and the availability of seats are to be decided by the university and its autonomy in this regard may not be challenged in the consumer forum.’
  • A petition can be filed in the consumer forum against educational institutes for various such reasons: withholding scheduled exams delayed declarations of results and discriminating in the issuance of roll numbers being a few.
  • Refunds are legal! If you decide to shift to another college after taking admission in another, the college is liable to refund your full fee with costs.
  • Consumer Forums preside over petitions filed against educational institutes such as offering unapproved programmes and deficiency in service.

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