Jai Kumar Mittal v. Brilliant Tutorials

(2005) 4 CPJ 156 (NC)

Introduction

 Basic overview of the case

 The present case was filed in 1994 and was finally decided in 2005.

The complainant Jai Kumar Mittal was enrolled for the course of ‘postal support coaching’ for the civil services examination 1994 at Brilliant Tutorials. He was charged a fee of Rs 4,800 for the Preliminary and Main Examinations of the year 1994.

The complaint was filed against Brilliant Tutorials on the grounds that the material provided by the Institute for IAS preparations, was not up-to-date, particularly the amendments in Law were not incorporated into the material; there were mistakes in the study material.

He also alleged that the Brilliant Tutorials had claimed in their prospectus that they would provide notes with authentic data and that they also upgraded the study material every year.

The complainant sought a refund of the amount of Rs 4,800 paid as fees, in addition to a compensation of Rs 30 lakh for loss of his chances of becoming a civil servant.

 Acts applied

CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 1986

 Bench

HONBLE MR. JUSTICE M.B. SHAH, PRESIDENT   MRS. RAJYALAKSHMI RAO, MEMBER.

Issues

  • if there are mistakes or errors in such study material, whether the opposite party would be liable under the Consumer Protection Act?
  • whether it would be unfair trade practice under Section 2(r) of the Consumer Protection Act, as alleged by the complainant?

Judgement

The honourable court observed that the Complainant had hired services of the Respondent for consideration of Rs.4800/-. If there is deficiency in service by the Respondent, then he shall be liable to be proceeded under the Consumer Protection Act.

Also, under Section 2(r) of the Consumer Protection Act, unfair trade practice includes, false representation that services are of a particular standard, quality or grade.

Thus, the Respondent is undoubtedly liable for proceedings under COPRA. Moreover, there was deficiency in service by the Respondent in supply of study material, but some of the errors were noted by the Complainant himself. So, it would be difficult to hold that it had adversely affected the Complainant in succeeding the Civil Services Examination. we are of the opinion that the claim made by the Complainant is exaggerated.

Considering the dispute involved and deficiency in service, we direct the Opposite Party to pay to the Complainant Rs.25,000/- towards compensation, to refund the amount of Rs.4,800/- paid to the Opposite Party by way of fees, and also pay Rs.5,000/- towards costs. The Original Petition is disposed of accordingly.

Case Commentary

 What is your interpretation of the case?

If the coaching class made such a definite promise and failed to keep it up, then it constitutes an unfair trade practice and you can certainly file a complaint before the consumer court constituted under the Consumer Protection Act, seeking refund of the amount paid for coaching and also compensation and costs. However, you will have to prove that such a promise was made. You can also point out the deficiencies in the material to show that the service provider was also guilty of providing substandard or deficient service.

Also, false or misleading advertisement is very common these days and if one’s right is exploited because of such advertisement s/he must raise an issue, it will not only be in interest of himself but also for general public whom may fall prey to such advertisements.

Conclusion

Brilliant Tutorials, claimed in their prospectus and their advertisements that the information contained in the study material were “doublechecked for authenticity and precision”, and that students need not take any recourse whatsoever to any other reading material, to prepare for the exams. Furthermore, Brilliant Tutorials had falsely claimed to have updated and revised their study materials on a yearly basis despite their modules being out of date. Holding Brilliant to have rendered deficient service, the NCDRC held that the supply of defective study materials by an institute can sustain a valid claim against it for deficiency of service. It was held after 10 years of proceedings that the supply of defective study materials by an institute can sustain a valid claim against it for deficiency of service.

Reference

Indiankanoon.org. 2020. Jai Kumar Mittal, Mr. Atul Shukla, … Vs Brilliant Tutorials, Mr. A.N. … On 2 September, 2005. [online] Available at: <https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1614230/> [Accessed 8 August 2020].