Indore (Madhya Pradesh): The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has issued an order against a staffer of ed-tech firm Byju's and film superstar Shah Rukh Khan for alleged "fraudulent behaviour" and "unfair trade practice" on the complaint of a woman who enrolled for coaching to become an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer.
In its order passed on Wednesday, the commission said Rs 1.08 lakh in fees deposited by complainant Priyanka Dixit at the time of admission in 2021 must be returned along with 12 per cent annual interest, while Rs 5,000 must be given to her as litigation cost and Rs 50,000 as compensation for financial and mental agony.
The commission said the local manager of Byju's and actor Khan must pay the amount "jointly or severally" to Dixit. The term 'jointly and severally' refers to a partnership in which each party involved is equally liable with respect to a liability.
"Since the respondents (Byju's manager and actor Shah Rukh Khan) remained absent even after notices were served in the case and no reply was submitted on their behalf, unilateral action was taken against them," the commission said in the order.
"The woman complainant was encouraged to take admission in Byju's coaching (course) by placing false and misleading online advertisements on behalf of the opposition parties. No coaching facility was provided after receiving the fee and despite the assurance of refund of the amount, the fee was not refunded, which in itself is fraudulent behaviour and shows unfair trade practice," the commission's order said.
Dixit had named Shah Rukh Khan as one of the respondents after claiming she had enrolled for the firm's coaching course in order to prepare for the Union Public Service Commission's civic exams after being influenced by its advertisement issued on January 13, 2021.
In her complaint, Dixit alleged the firm had assured her of coaching by good teachers and that her classes would start from January 14, 2021, which did not happen.
She said in her complaint that she had asked the firm to refund her fees and cancel her admission on January 27, 2021.
Despite repeated requests, the firm did not refund her fees, Dixit's complaint alleged.
As per provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, a person can file a complaint against a company for errors in services as well as against those advertising it, Dixit's lawyer Suresh Kanga said.
"We filed a complaint against Byju's and Khan under these provisions as Khan featured in the advertisement of the company, which prompted my client to take admission in the said coaching course," Kanga said. (PTI)
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