The Supreme Court has decided to consider whether education is eligible as a service under the Consumer Protection Act.
The Supreme Court has agreed to examine whether education is a service under the Consumer Protection Act. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and VV Nagarathana noted that similar legal issues were pending in another case and tagged the matter with it.
“In view of the pending Civil Appeal No. 3504 of 2020 (Manu Solanki and others v. Binayak Mission University), whether education is a service under the Consumer Protection Act is pending before this Court. Leave granted. Said in the October order.
The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by a Lucknow resident challenging an order of the National Consumer Dispute Resolution Commission which said that educational institutions do not fall under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and education which includes co-curricular activities like swimming. Not a “service” within the meaning of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
In this case, the man’s son was studying in a school which offered various ‘summer camp’ activities including swimming in 2007 and invited students to participate with Rs.1000. At 9.30am on May 28, 2007, she received an emergency phone call from the school asking her to come immediately as her son was ill. Upon arrival at the school, the man was informed that his son had been taken to hospital after drowning in the school’s swimming pool. She then rushed to the hospital where she learned that her son had been found dead.
She then filed a consumer complaint with the state commission alleging negligence and lack of service on the part of the school and demanding Rs 20 lakh as compensation for her son’s death and Rs 2 lakh for mental anguish. 55,000 for the cost of the case.
The state commission dismissed the allegation that the complainant was not a customer. This order was challenged in the NCDRC. The NCDRC stated that education, which includes co-curricular activities such as swimming, is not a “service” within the meaning of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. It agrees with the State Commission’s view that the complainant is not a consumer and the complaint is not. It is not maintainable under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.