Dinesh Singh, Member
1. The appellant – complainant in person was heard. The material on record was perused.
2. On 04.04.2019, after hearing arguments of the appellant – complainant in person, and after perusing the material on record, we passed the following Order:
Heard the appellant – complainant in person. Perused the material on record.
The first appeal is dismissed with stern advice of caution to the appellant – complainant through imposition of (token) cost of Rs. 500/- to be deposited in the Consumer Legal Aid Account of the State Commission within four weeks of the pronouncement of the reasoned judgment.
The reason judgement to follow.
We are giving our reasons hereinafter.
3. Briefly, the complainant, a research scholar, has alleged deficiency in service against the educational institution and the university (and the others arrayed) for not enabling him to complete his Ph.D.
4. The State Commission had heard both sides, appraised the evidence, and, vide its Order dated 11.10.2018, dismissed the complaint in limine:
12. We have gone through the material on record and heard the counsel for the complainant for the purpose of admission of complaint for hearing. We find that the grievance of the complainant pertains to two aspects, one for leaving the university by guide Dr. Anshul Verma and his joining some other institute in Mumbai. We feel that this is beyond the control of OPs. No university can compel its Professor to continue with it. The other grievance is that he was not given extension to complete the course. With exercise of lot of diligence we came across letter dated 18.11.16 copy of which is at page-43 of the bunch of complaint. The same recites that during the period of six years of his registration as Research Scholar, university did not receive a single complaint in writing or telephonically from the complaint regarding any kind of inconvenience or torturing. The Dean was approached only to seek extension beyond six years which as per the decision of the academy council could not be granted. The Vice Chancellor agreed with the said noting on the bottom of aforesaid letter. Thus we feel that complaint has been filed to pressurise the OP to grant extension against the norms, under the garb of present complaint. Copy of letter at page-45 and 46 support the decision not to grant extension beyond six years.
13. As a result of the above discussion we find that the complaint is false and frivolous. The same has been filed only to extort money. Consumer Protection Act is not meant to be tool to attempt to wrong gains or to create ‘nuisance’ value. In taking this view we are supported by recent decision of National commission in FA No. 847 / 17 titled as Dr. Uttam Kumar Samanta vs. Vodafone Assets Ltd. and others decided on 05.10.18.
14. The complaint is dismissed in limine.
(paras 12, 13 and 14 of the State Commission’s Order)
5. The instant first appeal has been filed by the complainant against the said Order dated 11.10.2018 of the State Commission.
6. We find the impugned Order of the State Commission to be well-appraised and well-reasoned. We note in particular the extracts of the State Commission’s Order, quoted, verbatim, in para 4 above. On the face of it, we find no jurisdictional error, or a legal principle ignored, or miscarriage of justice.
7. We specifically note that, one, the complainant, a research scholar, did not complete his Ph.D. within a period of six years that was the upper time – limit stipulated by the academic council, and, two, extension beyond six years was denied by the vice-chancellor in the light of the academic council’s said stipulation. The vice-chancellor but implemented a decision of the academic council, which, in the absence of the complainant establishing to the contrary, we have no reason to hypothesize was not applicable uniformly to all similarly placed research scholars. It has nowhere been shown by the complainant that he was in any manner subjectively or selectively or unfairly or wrongly discriminated against. His other contention, that his guide left the institution and joined another, is no ground for holding deficiency in service. An educational institution or university cannot compel a professor to stay put in a particular institution so that a particular research scholar is facilitated to complete his Ph.D.; and other professors would no doubt be available to act as guides.
8. We agree with the State Commission that deficiency in service on the part of the educational institution or the university (or the others arrayed) is not made out.
9. We further note that this is a case of a research scholar who could not finish his research within the upper time - limit (of six years) stipulated by the academic council, and, as borne out by the material on record, who not only made complaints with the police and sent complaints to various authorities, but also approached the consumer protection fora. Apart from alleging deficiency, where none exists, and, ex facie, asking for absurd compensation (Rs.70 lakh for “fees paid, financial losses, precious time of 6 years, damages, compensation, interest, harassment and mental agony”), an inherent objective of the complainant, to harass, as well as to pressurize, the educational institution and the university, is also quite evident. The consumer protection fora are meant for better protection of the interests of consumers, and not to create ‘nuisance value’ in educational institutions or universities or to unduly attempt special treatment apropos uniformly prescribed stipulations of the academic council or to unduly harass and pressurize an educational institution or university to anyhow enable to him to get a Ph.D. A Ph.D. has to be earned with academic effort and diligence, not through the route of (inter alia) consumer protection fora. The first appeal is patently misconceived and devoid of merit.
10. The first appeal is dismissed with stern advice of caution to the appellant – complainant through imposition of (token) cost of Rs.500/- to be deposited in the Consumer Legal Aid Account of the State Commission within four weeks of the pronouncement of this Order.
11. We make it explicit that we
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have limited ourselves to the ambit of the Act 1986. It goes without saying that the complaints made with the police and the complaints sent by the complainant to various authorities (including regulatory and disciplinary authorities) will be dealt with, on merit, as per the law, by the concerned, at their respective responsibility and accountability. Our findings, that deficiency in service is not made out, are, as already stated, within the ambit of the Act 1986 (only), and may be read (only) as such. 12. Let a copy each of this Order be sent to the State Commission and to the respondents no. 1 and 2 i.e. the educational institution and the university by the Registry within ten days of pronouncement.