TMI - Tax Management India. Com
Follow us:
      Share on facebook   Share on twitter   Share on linkedin   Share on linkedin
Article Section

Home Articles Other Topics Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN Experts This


Submit New Article

Discuss this article

May 8, 2023
All Articles by: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN       View Profile
  • Contents

It is new to hear to get compensation by a lady for wrong hair cutting which was done against her instructions to the tune of Rs.2 crores. 

In AASHNA ROY VERSUS YOGESH DEVESHWAR, ITC HOTELS LTD AND OTHERS - 2021 (9) TMI 1487 - NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION NEW DELHI, Aashna Roy, a 42 years old lady,  the complainant in this case was to appear before interview panel.  For this purpose the complainant visited the Hotel ITC Maurya, New Delhi for hairstyling to have a clear and groomed appearance before the interview panel.

She asked one Alem who used to cut her hair on various occasions to do the work.  Since Alem was not available at that time another person Christine was told to do the work by the Hotel.  The complainant asked Christine for long flicks/layers covering her face in the front and at the back and 4 inch straight hair trim from the bottom.  To the utter shock of the complainant the hairdresser, Christine chopped off her entire hair leaving only 4 inches from the top and barely touching to her shoulders for which she was not instructed by her.  The complainant approached the Manager; the Manager informed that she would not be billed for the services rendered by Christine.  The complainant, then, approached the General Manager who behaved rudely stating that she was free to take any action against the Salon.  In the meantime she came to know that her hair was sold by the Salon. 

 An offer was also made to her by the Opposite Parties for extension of hairs for interview or for treatment of hairs free of costs for which she agreed after lot of persuasion.  Opposite Parties arranged an external Technical Hair Expert from MoeHair and Complainant was advised to repeat the treatment for 23 washes.  When the Complainant went Salon for hairs treatment, she was told that in-house hairdresser Vicky would do the treatment under the supervision of Alem.   During the hairs treatment, her hairs and scalp got completely damaged with excess ammonia and there was lot of irritation in the scalp.  The Complainant 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.   When he put the cream which was laden with ammonia, her scalp got burnt.   On complaint, they put hair spray which gave her only temporary relief.  The heirs of the Complainant became hard and rough and she was not able to even run her fingers through it. Her scalp also started irritating and burning again and again.

When the complainant sought the assistance of the Hotel staff in the matter but they were abusive, rude and disrespectful. She was even threatened to face consequences on visit to ITC Maurya.  Therefore the complainant filed a complaint before National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (‘National Commission’ for short) alleging deficiency in service on the part of Opposite Parties and seeking written apology from the ITC Management as well as compensation of ₹3 crores for harassment, humiliation and mental trauma.

The opposite parties contended that-

  • The hair cut services given by them to the complainant were of high quality and these services were provided to the Complainant without consideration as a goodwill gesture inasmuch as the Complainant was the recipient of services at the Salon in the past.
  • The Complainant is not a ‘Consumer’ as defined u/s 2(1) (d) of the Act as the allegations made in the Complaint do not constitute a ‘Consumer Dispute’.
  • The Complainant has availed of service of cutting and hair treatment at the Salon free of charge and hence, she does not come within the purview of the Act.
  • The compensation of Rs.3 crores claimed by the Complainant in the Complaint, is inflated, exaggerated and without any basis.
  • No documentary evidence has been adduced by the Complainant justifying such a huge claim and as such, the Complaint deserves to be dismissed for want of pecuniary jurisdiction.
  • No harm was caused to her scalp with the excess ammonia and the hairs were cut as per request of the Complainant.
  • The Complaint has been filed by the Complainant with a mala fide intention to malign its reputation and goodwill and to extract unreasonably high and exaggerated compensation.
  • The treatment given to the Complainant was perfectly in order.
  • The Salon does not sell hairs or indulge in corrupt malpractices as alleged by the Complainant.
  • The conduct of the Complainant has caused nuisance and harassment to the management of the ITC Limited and put its esteemed reputation and goodwill at stake.

Therefore the opposite parties prayed the Commission to dismiss the complaint.

The complainant filed rejoinder to this.  She produced the medical treatment certificate issued to her by Dr. Ranjit Kumar Das, MBBS. In his certificate, in which he has stated that Aashna Roy has been suffering harsh chemical treatment on her hair-greying hair, scalp infection, dryness and itching as well as hair loss and she is advised to renew medication.  She further stated that in Whatsapp Chat the Opposite Parties have admitted fault on their part and tried to cover it by offering free hair treatment.  She is a Consumer and availed of service of the Opposite Party since 2004.  She has also attached her photographs showing full length of the hairs.  She is a communication professional and required to involve in meeting and interactive sessions.  She lost her self-confidence due to little hairs.  She submitted that due to her long well cared hair she modeled for prestigious brands like VLCC and Pantene for hair products and she was also planning to pursue modeling as her side career. She was also offered a movie as her hairs complemented her presentable demeanor.

The National Commission analyzed the facts of the entire case and also the submissions made by the parties to the complaint.  The National Commissioner observed that the word ‘Compensation’ is of a very wide connotation. It may constitute actual loss or expected loss and may extend to compensation of physical, mental or even emotional sufferings, insult or injury or loss.  The National Commission observed that the Complainant was a model for hair products because of her long hair. She has done modeling for VLCC and Pantene. But due to hair cutting against her instructions, by the Opposite Party No.2 she lost her expected assignments and suffered a huge loss which completely changed her lifestyle and shattered her dream to be a top model.  She underwent severe mental breakdown and trauma due to negligence of the Opposite Party No.2 in cutting her hair and could not concrete her job and finally she lost her job.  Her scalp was burnt and still there is allergy and itching due to fault of the staff of Opposite Party.  The National Commission was of the considered view that it would meet the end of justice in case the Complainant is granted compensation of Rs.2 crores.  The National Commission directed the opposite party to pay the compensation within 8 weeks from the date of receipt of order.

The said Order was challenged by the Opposite Party before the Supreme Court by filing the Civil Appeal No. 6391 of 2021 ITC LIMITED VERSUS AASHNA ROY - 2023 (5) TMI 178 - SUPREME COURT. The Supreme Court, by its Order dated 07.02.2023 while affirming the finding of this Commission regarding deficiency in service on the part of the Opposite Party, had remanded the matter to reconsider the quantum of compensation and granted liberty to the Complainant to file the material to substantiate her claim.

The National Commission, on remand, reconsidered the complaint.  The National Commission observed that it cannot be believed that the Opposite Party No.2 which is established for profit motive, would provide free services with huge infrastructure, trained staff and management.  The Complainant has made the payment of Rs. 1,770/- from the Card issued by the Master Card, however, the said payment was declined.  But still, the Opposite Party No. 2 chose to provide her hair cutting service since the Complainant used to come to the Salon since 2004 and the payment might have been paid by her later on.  From the WhatsApp chat dated 15.04.18, it can be seen that Ms. Christine was suspended for three days. There is no doubt that realizing the mistake done by its staff, the Opposite Party No. 2 offered the free hair treatment to the Complainant and Complainant was not attended to for a gesture. Hence, the National Commission was of the considered view that the Complainant is a Consumer.

The National Commission also observed that WhatsApp Chat adduced by the Complainant would reveal that the Opposite Party had admitted the fault on their part and by offering the free hair treatment tried to cover it. There was also negligence on the part of the Opposite Party No.2 in giving hair treatment to the Complainant. The Certificate issued by Dr. Ranjit Kumar Dass, MBBS also substantiated the above.  The Complainant was in the modeling career and for every assignment for promotion of any hair care brand, she was being paid a higher remuneration or fee. After losing her hair, she was under distress and trauma as she was expecting destroy of her modeling career. She was also under treatment for her hair extension which also did not help her lot.

The National Commission held that having carefully considered all the submissions of the Complainant and evidence led by her, in our view, no case has been made out by her for enhancement of the claim.  The National Commission awarded Rs.2 crores as compensation.   However, since, a long time has passed from the date of passing of our earlier order dated 21.09.2021, in our view, the Complainant is entitled to be compensation by way of interest @ 9%.


By: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN - May 8, 2023



Discuss this article