Barely 10 per cent of India's 90 million university-age citizens go to college. Many, squeezed out by the public education
system, end up us grist for private degree mills. Several are duped by fly-by-night operators. There is help now.
The Supreme Court has ruled that students are consumers and educational institutes service providers and "making bogus claims amounts to deficiency of service and entitles students to compensation under the Consumer Protection Act". The ruling came in a case where students were cheated when a dental college falsely claimed in an advertisement that it was affiliated to the Magadh University and the Dental Council of India.
The court directed the bogus Buddhist Mission Dental College in Bihar to pay Rs 22 lakh as combined compensation to 11 students who lost two academic years by joining the institute and paying a hefty capitation fee.
Judges Dalveer Bhandari and H S Bedi ruled, "We are of the opinion that the appellant institute by giving totally misleading and false advertisement clearly misled the respondents (students)". The bench upheld the Consumer Grievance Redressal Commission order against the college. Dismissing the college's appeal, the judges said the compensation of Rs 2 lakh would be in addition to the Rs 30,000 penalty imposed by the consumer panel.
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