The petitioner / complainant took admission in BPP Course of the respondent Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in the year 2013. He appeared in the examination on 31.12.2013 but his result was declared on 21.7.2015. According to him, normally the results are declared in June and December but in his case it was delayed by more than one year. Alleging deficiency on the part of the IGNOU in rendering services to him, he approached the concerned District Forum by way of a consumer complaint.
2. The complaint was resisted by the respondents, who inter-alia stated in their reply that though, OSS was cleared by the complainant securing 21 out of 50%. He could not clear PCO, he having got only 14 out of 50 marks. He again appeared in PCO in December, 2013 and passed, securing 19 out of 50 marks. His result was updated on the website on 22.2.2014. It was also stated in their reply that for OSS 101, the assessment was submitted by the complainant on 03.4.2013 and result was updated in June, 2013. He did not submit assessment for PCO-1 prior to 23.7.2014 when he submitted one assessment which was sent for evaluation on 24.7.2014 and the result was updated in July, 2015. Thus, the grievance of the complainant is with respect to delay in declaration of the result of his test. Holding an examination and declaring its result is a core activity forming part of rendering education.
3. The District Forum having allowed the consumer complaint and having awarded compensation to the complainant, the respondents approached the concerned State Commission by way of an appeal. Relying upon the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Bihar School Examination Board Vs. Suresh Prasad Sinha (2009) 8 SCC 483 and P.T. Koshy & Anr. Vs. Ellen Charitable Trust & Ors., SLP No.22532 of 2012 decided on 09.8.2012, the State Commission allowed the appeal and consequently dismissed the consumer complaint. Being aggrieved the petitioner is before this Commission by way of this revision petition.
4. The grievance of the complainant is with respect to delay in declaration of the result of his examinations. In Bihar School Examination (supra), the grievance of the complainant was that one Rajesh Kumar, son of the complainant was allotted the same roll number, which had been allotted to another student. The Centre Superintendent therefore added ‘A’ against his roll number and communicated the same to the Board. His result having not been published and he having to reappear in the Board Examination in the following year, he approached the concerned District Forum by way of a consumer complaint. The District Forum having allowed the complaint, the Board preferred an appeal before the concerned State Commission. The said appeal having been dismissed, the Board approached this Commission. That challenge also having failed, the Board approached the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Setting aside the order passed by the Consumer Fora, the Hon’ble Supreme Court inter-alia held as under:
“11. The Board is a statutory authority established under the Bihar School Examination Board Act, 1952. The function of the Board is to conduct school examinations. This statutory function involves holding periodical examinations, evaluating the answer scripts, declaring results and issuing certificates. The process of holding examinations, evaluating answer scripts, declaring results and issuing certificates are different stages of a single stator non-commercial function. It is not possible to divide this function as partly statutory and partly administrative.
12. When the Examination Board conducts an examination in discharge of its statutory function, it does not offer its “services” to any candidate. Nor does a student who participates in the examination conducted by the Board, hire or avail of any service from the Board for a consideration. On the other hand, a candidate who participates in the examination conducted by the Board, is a person who has undergone a course of study and who requests the Board to test him as to whether he has imbibed sufficient knowledge to be fit to be declared as having successfully completed the said course of education; and if so, determine his position or rank or competence vis--vis other examinees. The process is not, therefore, availment of a service by a student, but participation in a general examination conducted by the Board to ascertain whether he is eligible and fit to be considered as having successfully completed the secondary education course. The examination fee paid by the student is not the consideration or availment of any service, but the charge paid for the privilege of participation in the examination.
13. The object of the Act is to cover in its net, services offered or rendered for a consideration. Any service rendered for a consideration is presumed to be a commercial activity in its broadest sense (including professional activity or quasi-commercial activity). But the 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. The fact that in the course of conduct of the examination, or evaluation of answer scripts, or furnishing of mark sheets or certificates, there may be some negligence, omission or deficiency, does not convert the Board into a service provider for a consideration, nor convert the examinee into a consumer who can make a complaint under the Act. We are clearly of the view that the Board is not a “service provider” and a student who takes an examination is not a “consumer” and consequently, complaint under the Act will not be maintainable against the Board.
24. For the reasons mentioned above, we are of the view that the Bihar School examination Board is not rendering any “service” as defined under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The appeal, is, therefore, allowed. The impugned orders of the Consumer Fora are set aside. No costs.”
5. In Maharshi Dayanand University Vs. Surjeet Kaur (2010) 11 SCC 159, the complainant was aggrieved on account of the appellant university having refused to confirm B-Ed., Degree on her. Alleging deficiency in the services on the part of the University, she approached the concerned District Forum by way of a consumer complaint. The complaint having been allowed, the appellant University approached the concerned State Commission by way of an appeal. The State Commission allowed the appeal and dismissed the consumer complaint. The complainant then approached this Commission, which allowed the complaint and directed the University to issue B.Ed. Degree. Setting aside the order passed by this Commission, the Hon’ble Supreme Court inter-alia held as under:
“20. The third and the most important issue that deserves to be answered is the competence of the District Forum and the hierarchy of the tribunals constituted under the 1986 Act to entertain such
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a complaint.” 22. ….. The respondent as a student is neither a consumer nor is the appellant rendering any service.” 23. The case decided by this Court in Bihar School Examination Board clearly lays down the law in this regard with which we find ourselves in full agreement with. Accordingly, the entire exercise of entertaining the complaint by the District Forum and the award of relief which has been approved by the National Commission do not conform to law and we, therefore, set aside the same.” 6. For the reasons stated hereinabove, the order passed by the State Commission does not call for any interference by this Commission in exercise of its revisional jurisdiction. The revision petition is hereby dismissed, with no order as to costs.