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Posted at: Sep 10, 2015, 2:07 AM; last updated: Sep 10, 2015, 1:44 AM (IST)

British Council’s plea dismissed with costs of Rs 25,000

Had moved commission against forum’s order directing it to pay Rs 50,000 compensation

Aneesha Sareen

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9

Finding no merit in the appeal filed by the British Council against the order of the consumer forum directing it to pay Rs 50,000 compensation, the UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has dismissed the appeal of the council with costs of Rs 25,000.

On June 15 this year, the UT consumer forum had ordered the British Council, Chandigarh, and the British Council Division, British High Commission, New Delhi, to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation to a Chandigarh resident after finding the council guilty of providing deficient services. The British Council in Chandigarh filed an appeal against the order, which was dismissed.

A Sector 15 resident, Sharon, had approached the forum claiming that the council had put her career at risk by not sending her IELTS scores to foreign universities on time.

The forum had stated that the delay in sending the scores despite charging money for the courier services amounted to deficient services. “Due to non-action on the part of the appellants, a young student has been dragged to this court again to contest this litigation. There is nothing on record to prove that marks/scores obtained by the respondent in the examination were sent to foreign universities well in time. In the grounds of the appeal, it is stated that the scores were sent to various institutions, but when these were sent has not been specifically stated. The forum has rightly come to the conclusion that after receiving fee for the examination, not sending scores obtained by the respondent in time to the educational institutions amounts to deficiency in providing service,” said the commission, presided over by Justice Jasbir Singh (retd) and members Dev Raj and Padma Pandey.

It was stated in the appeal filed by the British Council that it, being a division of the British High Commission in India, enjoyed the status of a diplomatic mission and, as such, it could not be subjected to the jurisdiction of the forum.

The commission stated that the plea taken was palpably wrong. “No such document has been brought on record to show that the appellants are a division of the British High Commission so that  it can claim diplomatic immunity. At the time of arguments, it was very fairly admitted that the appellant was a registered charitable trust. Registration was got done as per law prevalent in this country. In view of the above, the plea taken is rejected,” said the commission.

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