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NCPCR chief accuses Byju’s of threatening children, parents

Byju Raveendran, CEO BYJU's

The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has claimed that the edtech company Byju’s is allegedly purchasing the phone numbers of kids and their parents and threatening them that their future will be ruined if they do not buy courses from it.

“We came to know how Byju’s buying phone numbers of children and their parents, rigorously following them and threatening them that their future will be ruined. They’re targeting first-generation learners. We’ll initiate action and if need be will make report and write to government,” NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo told ANI on Tuesday. Last week on Friday, the commission issued a summons to Byju’s CEO Byju Raveendran asking him to appear in person on December 23 over alleged malpractice of hard selling and mis-selling of its courses for students.

The Commission took action based on a news report that the sales team of BYJU’S was indulging in malpractices to lure parents to buy their courses for their children.

“As the Commission has come across a news article wherein it has been pointed out that the sales team of BYJU’S is indulging in malpractices to lure parents to buy their courses for their children. lt has also been mentioned in the news report that some customers have also claimed that they were exploited and deceived, and had put their savings and futures in jeopardy,” the NCPCR said in a statement.

The Commission further said that the news report further alleged that BYJU’S has been actively tricking customers to enter into loan-based agreements for courses which may not be refunded if customers wished to do so, the statement said.

The article further claims that the ed-tech platform has been receiving many complaints from the parents but had not been doing anything about it, the child rights panel said.

“Under Section 14 of CPCR Act,2005, the Commission has all the powers of a Civil Court trying a suit under the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 and particular, in respect of the following matters- (a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath; (b) discovery and production of any document; (c) receiving evidence on affidavits; (d) requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office; and (e) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents,” it said.

It said that if Raveendran fails to comply with the order without a lawful excuse, he “will be subjected to the consequences of the non-attendance as provided in Rule 10 and Rule l2 of Order XVI of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908”.