ITC Maurya Delhi bad haircut case: SC orders NCDRC for afresh hearing

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The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Abiruddha Bose and Vikram Nath set aside NCDRC’s (National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission) order awarding Rs. 2 Crore compensation amount to a lady for bad haircut and treatment at ITC Maurya hotel in Delhi. The top Court further illustrated that the compensation was awarded for a mental breakdown, trauma, pain, suffering, and loss of income. The bench also stated that the compensation amount is to be determined on the basis of evidence rather than on the amount claimed by the consumer.

In ITC Limited vs Aashna Roy case, an appeal was filed under Section 23 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 in context with the correctness of the order passed by NCDRC. Aashna Roy (the respondent) went to the salon at Hotel ITC Maurya Delhi before appearing for an interview for a haircut in April 2018. As her regular hairdresser was not available, another stylist was assigned for her haircut and instructed her specifically for “long flicks/layers covering her face in the front and at the back and 4-inch straight hair trimmed from the bottom.” She was wearing high-power glasses and kept her head constantly down as per the instruction of the hairdresser because of which she was not able to see the mirror clearly.

Aashana Roy was in shock as she saw that the hair stylist “chopped off her entire hair leaving only 4 inches from the top and barely touching to her shoulders”. She complained to the manager about the stylist to which the salon stated, “An offer was also made to her by the opposite parties for extension of hairs for an interview or for treatment of hairs free of costs which she agreed after a lot of persuasions.” The respondent went salon at ITC Maurya Delhi for hair treatment in May 2018 which turned out to be a fiasco for her. She suffered from a lot of irritation and burning in the scalp due to the use of an excess of Ammonia during the treatment.

Due to this, the respondent filed a complaint against them before NCDRC claiming deficiency in service of the ITC Maurya’s salon staff and asked for compensation of Rs. 3 Crore for humiliation, loss of career, loss of future prospects, harassment, and loss of income. During the investigation for the same, “Both the parties led evidence by way of affidavits. In addition, thereto some photographs, CCTV footage, and also chats on social media and other material were also filed.” NCDRC awarded a compensation of Rs. 2 crores in 2021 whereas ITC Maurya Delhi hotel moved to SC challenging the same.

The top Court while hearing the case, remit the matter to NCDRC and ordered ITC to submit Rs. 25 Lakh at the time of issuing notice. SC further stated that NCDRC may pass appropriate orders with respect to the compensation amount while deciding the case afresh