In ITC Limited vs Aashna Roy, the Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to set aside the compensation of Rs. 2,00,00,000/- (Rupees Two Crore Only) awarded by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) to Ms. Aashna Roy for a bad haircut and hair treatment that she underwent at ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi in the year 2018.
Ms. Aashna (Respondent), a resident of Gurgaon and a model for hair products had visited the salon of the ITC Maurya Hotel, New Delhi on 12th April 2018 for hair styling as she had to appear for an interview in the upcoming week. She had requested for Ms. Alem the hairdresser who had trimmed the Respondent’s hair on several visits. Due to her unavailability, Ms. Christine was assigned to do the hair styling of the Respondent. The Respondent was dissatisfied by the services rendered to her by Ms. Christine on previous occasions despite that the Manager of the Salon assured the Respondent that there has been a significant improvement in Ms. Christine’s performance.
The Respondent gave clear and specific instructions as to how she would want her hairstyle to be. As she was instructed to keep her head down and remove her spectacles she could not see herself in the mirror as to what Ms. Christine was doing. Since an hour had passed which caused suspicion as the hairstyle requested would not take this much amount of time the Respondent raised a question to which Ms. Christine replied that she was giving her a London Haircut.
After the task was complete the Respondent noticed that Ms. Christine had chopped off her entire hair leaving only 4 inches from the top and her hair length was barely touching her shoulders which were quite contrary to the instruction given by the Respondent. The Respondent immediately complained to the Manager Mr. Gurpreet Acharya and he did not raise a bill as compensation. However, the Respondent left the salon completely annoyed and frustrated.
As a result of the faulty haircut, the Respondent could not continue to live her normal life as she did not look pretty, she had to face humiliation and embarrassment and her modeling career had shattered. Due to all this, she went into depression and later narrated the incident to the General Manager of the Salon Mr. Zubin was rude and unapologetic towards her and told her that she is free to can take any action towards them. The respondent called upon the CEO of ITC Limited and apprised him of the entire episode. She also found out that her hair was being sold by the Salon. Later the salon offered the Respondent services for the hair extension for free. An external technical hair expert from MoeHair (an international brand) was arranged and the Respondent was advised to repeat the treatment twice or thrice.
When the respondent went again for the treatment, she was assured that the Hairdresser Mr. Vicky is well-trained but he was not. Due to the excessive usage of Ammonia during the treatment, the respondent’s hair along with her scalp got damaged. This also resulted in irritation and a burning sensation. The Respondent also stated that the hairdresser had used his nails which further resulted in more damage. Moreover, the use of the spray for temporary relief ended up making the Respondent’s hair hard and rough. When she complained about it she was threatened by the staff.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC)
The Respondent approach the Consumer Court where in the opposite party (ITC Limited) filed an affidavit and presented as evidence the CCTV footage and social media chats. The NCDRC found that the length of the Respondent’s hair was shortened contrary to her instructions and the hairstyle was faulty due to which the appearance of the respondent seemed different.
The court further observed that Ms. Aashna was a model for hair products because of her long hair. On the account of this deficiency of service by the salon she lost her expected assignments and suffered a huge lost along with shattering her dream of being a top model. She underwent mental breakdown and trauma due to this negligence. Hence a compensation of Rs. 2,00,00,000/- (Rupees Two Crore Only) was awarded to her.
The Apex Court asked the Respondent to provide with material evidence regarding her existing job, the emoluments received in the past, present or future assignments or submit the interview letter for which she had gone to salon. The Court observed that NCDRC made an error when awarding compensation without having substantiate support of evidence. Hence, the Court ordered the Appellant to deposit an amount of Rs. 25,00,000/- (Rupees Twenty-Five Lakh Only) with the Registry and place in a fixed deposit. The above amount along with the accrued interest will be transmitted to NCDRC within 2 weeks and the NCDRC when deciding the matter afresh shall make appropriate orders with respect to the said amount.
Source: Bar and Bench