National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): Expressing that “Women are emotionally attached to their hair” Justice R.K. Agarwal (President) and S.M. Kantikar (Member) granted Rs 2 crores compensation to the women who received haircut not as per her instructions and also was subjected to medical negligence due to hair treatment given by Salon at ITC Maurya.
Read the below facts to know this very interesting decision by NCDRC.
Instant complaint was filed under Section 12 read with Section 21 of the Consumer Protection Act alleging deficiency in service on the part of OPs i.e. Chairman ITC Company Ltd. and ITC Ltd. in cutting and treatment of her hair at the Salon of hotel ITC Maurya and medical negligence in hair treatment.
Complainant, a week before her interview visited the salon of Hotel ITC Maurya for hairstyling to have a clean and groomed appearance before the interview panel.
According to the complainant, she had specifically instructed the hairdresser for long flicks/layers covering her face in the front and at back and 4-inch straight hair trim from the bottom.
Further, it was submitted that complainant was wearing high powered spectacles and was requested by the hairdresser to keep her head constantly down, she was not able to see herself clearly in the mirror. She further averred that it was a simple haircut but when the hairdresser took more than an hour to do the hairstyling, she questioned about more time and replied by the hairdresser that she was giving her a “London Haircut”. However, to the utter shock and surprise of the Complainant, the hairdresser, Christine chopped of her entire hair leaving only 4 inches from the top and barely touching her shoulders for which she was not instructed by her. She complained about hairdresser to the Manager of the Salon, and she was not given any bill for hairstyling though generally she was earlier being charged heavily. It is stated that because of the hair cutting the Complainant was not looking pretty and she stopped leading her normal busy life.
As no action was taken against the hairdresser, complainant called the General Manager, who misbehaved with her and stated that she was free to take any action against the salon.
Later complainant got to know that her hair were sold by the Salon. She was persuaded by the Salon to get extensions free of cost to which she agreed and later she was also given some hair treatment due to which her scalp got completely damaged, and she faced irritation in the scalp.
Complainant also asserted that the hairdresser scratched and cut her entire scalp with his nails on the pretext that he was doing this exercise to open the hair cuticles. But, when he put the ream which was laden with ammonia, complainant’s scalp got burnt.
On seeking assistance from the hotel staff, complainant stated that they were abusive, rude and disrespectful.
In view of the above background, complainant sought an apology from ITC Management as well as compensation of Rs 3 crores for harassment, humiliation and mental trauma.
Analysis, Law and Decision
Commission noted that OP 2 had admitted the fault on their part by offering the free hair treatment.
Certificate issued by Dr Ranjit Kumar Dass, MBBS to whom the complainant visited for treatment for her scalp, stated that,
“ This is to certify that Ms. Aashna Roy aged 42 years has been suffered from scalp disorder due to chemical treatment done by the Head of Hair Treatment.”
Another question was – What compensation the complainant was entitled to?
Coram referred to the Supreme Court decision in Charan Singh v. Healing Touch Hospital, (2000) 7 SCC 668, wherein it was observed that,
“ While quantifying damages, Consumer Forums are required to make an attempt to serve the ends of justice so that compensation is awarded, in an established case, which not only serves the purpose of recompensing the individual, but which also at the same time, aims to bring about a qualitative change in the attitude of the service provider. Indeed, calculation of damages depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. No hard and fast rule can be laid down for universal application. While awarding compensation, a Consumer Forum has to take into account all relevant factors and assess compensation on the basis of accepted legal principles, on moderation. It is for the Consumer Forum to grant compensation to the extent it finds it reasonable, fair and proper in the facts and circumstances of a given case according to the established judicial standards where the claimant is able to establish his charge.”
Keeping in consideration the Supreme Court decision with respect to awarding compensation, Commission opined that the reasonable and just compensation was to be awarded to the complainant.
There is no doubt that the women are very cautious and careful with regard to their hair. They spend a handsome amount on keeping the hair in good condition. They are also emotionally attached to their hair.
Commission added to its analysis that, complainant was a model for hair products because of her long hair and was done modelling for VLCC and Pantene.
Due to haircutting against her instructions, she lost her expected assignments and suffered a huge loss which completely changed her lifestyle and shattered her dream to be a top model.
Complainant also underwent severe mental breakdown and trauma due to the negligence of the OP 2 in cutting her hair and could not concretise her job and finally lost the same.
Hence, in Commission’s opinion, OP 2 was guilty of medical negligence in hair treatment, as complainant’s scalp was burnt and still there is allergy and itching due to the fault of staff of OP 2.
While concluding the matter, Commission allowed the complainant partly and granted compensation of Rs 2,00,00,000 within a period of 8 weeks. [Aashna Roy v. Yogesh Deveshwar, Consumer Case No. 1619 of 2018, decided on 21-09-2021]
Advocates before the Commission:
For the Complainant: In-person
For the Opposite Parties: Mr. Parag P. Tripathi, Sr. Advocate and Mr. L.K. Bhushan, Ms. Aditi Awasthy and Mr. Srinivasan Ramaswamy, Advocates with him.