At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE J.M. MALIK
By, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Petitioners: Sunil Goyal, Advocate. For the Respondents: ---------
1. This is a case of a student Sh. Ranjodh Singh, the Complainant. He hired the service of the OPs namely, M/s Worldwide Immigration Consultancy Services Ltd. –OP-1, M/s WWICS Ltd.-OP-2 and MKC City College Cyprus-OP-3. OP-2 got the complainant admitted in OP-3 on 05.05.2009 and at his instance the complainant deposited fee in the sum of Rs. 3350/- Euro (i.e. Rs.2,21,150/- approximately) in the account of OP-3. However, the VISA Officers of Cyprus, rejected the VISA in favour of the complainant on the following three grounds:-
'1. The complainant did not know the duration of his studies;
1. The complainant did not know what foundation year is;
2. The complainant did not acknowledge his future business orientation'.
2. The OP No. 1 asked for refund of the money by two e-mails sent through it. However, it did not invoke any response. The complainant was forced to file this complaint against the above said three OPs with the prayer that a sum of Rs.2,09,880/- be refunded with interest by the above said OPs. He further demanded Rs.50,000/- as compensation and Rs.22,000/- as litigation expenses. The District Forum allowed the complaint and directed the OPs-1 & 2 to pay a sum of Rs.2,09,880/- and pay compensation in the sum of Rs.20,000/- as the student had lost one year and litigation expenses in the sum of Rs.2,000/- to the complainant.
3. The State Commission dismissed the appeal.
4. I have heard the counsel for the complainant at the time of admission of this case. He has invited my attention towards the contract of engagement. Clause 6 of the contract runs as follows:-
i) The chances of the client of getting admission in the educational institute of his/her choice and of issuance of student visa would depend on the merit of his/her profile, credentials and thus would vary from case to case.
ii) The Company shall act only as a representative of the Client before the educational institution of the choice of the Client. Therefore, the Client acknowledges and understands that he/she would not hold the Company responsible for any misdeed/cheating or fraud committed by the educational institution with the client.
iii) The Company shall not be responsible if any educational institution fails to refund the tuition fee or any other fee charged from the client, which the client pays to the educational institution concerned. It is not the responsibility of the Company to verify or establish credibility of any educational institution. The client is expected to do the same him/herself'.
Clause 7 mentions about other Terms and Conditions. Clause 7 (c) (v) runs as follows:-
'(7)(c)(v) Appearing for an interview before the selection staff of the educational institution as well as before the processing visa officer shall be the sole responsibility of the Client. Any failure on the part of the client to appear for the interview or to satisfy the interviewer shall not make the Company liable to any consequences'.
5. Counsel for petitioners vehemently argued that under these circumstances, no deficiency on the part of the petitioners/OPs-1 & 2 cannot be attributed. He prayed that orders passed by the Fora below should be set aside.
6. The next contention raised by the counsel for the petitioners is that due to good gesture, OP-1 sent two e-mails, which have been placed on the record. The relevant portion runs as follows:-
Greetings from WWICS….!!
One of my students named Gurpreet Singh has got visa and will reach the college on given date. But my two students Kuljeet Saini and Ranjodh Singh got rejection for same. Refund letters are already sent to you. Please process their refunds as soon as possible.
And also send the details for next session'.
Reminder was also issued.
7. However, there is no proof that these letters were actually received by the OP-3. Counsel for the petitioner lastly pleaded that he has not charged any money and he should not be saddled with such a heavy amount.
8. All these arguments are bereft of merit. As a matter of fact, the contract should be read holistically and not in vacua, for the benefit of one party and to the detriment of the other party. Clause 2 of the contract is crucial and determinative of the present controversy. It runs as follows:-
'2. Duties of the Company:
In consultation with its associates at various locations the Company shall provide the following services to its clients:
a. Assess the client according to the information provided by the client in his assessment form.
b. Assist the client in preparation of his/her case for grant of admission/student visa.
c. Provide check list of documents to the client.
d. Review and identify submission of required documents and supporting evidences.
e. Submit the complete case with supporting documentation and evidence along with the submission report to the processing visa office on the receipt of all requisite documents from the client.
f. Handle all correspondence with the respective High Commission pertaining to client’s case.
g. Assist the client in keeping his/her file up to date'.
9. It is thus clear that the OPs did not discharge their duties properly. They could not assist the complainant in preparation of his case for grant of student VISA. He did not know even the basic questions. His VISA was rejected because he was not given the guidance required for the said purpose. He was not informed for how much years he has to study etc. Had he been assisted properly, he would have got the VISA. The requisite assistance was given hit or miss. The OP Nos. 1 and 2 did not make any effort to straighten out this most important fact. The evidence reveals that two out of three students could not get the VISA. The OPs are guilty of i
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naction and passivity. 10. This is also clear that the OPs-1 & 2 were having link with OP-3. They just sent e-mails and did not advise the petitioner to send a legal notice from the above said conduct and behaviour of OP-3. It is apparent that they were working in cahoots with OP-3. There is no evidence on the record that they ceased having relations with OP-3 or threatened them with legal consequences. A student pays fees to such like institutions for accomplishment of his work. The gullible village boys are led up the garden path. Such like institutions are large in promises but short in performances. Consequently, the Revision Petition is dismissed.