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NCDRC Awards 2 Crore Compensation To Model For Mental Trauma And Job Loss Due To Bad Haircut, Hair Treatment

Aaratrika Bhaumik
24 Sep 2021 2:51 AM GMT
NCDRC Awards 2 Crore Compensation To Model For Mental Trauma And Job Loss Due To Bad Haircut, Hair Treatment
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In a significant judgment, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal (NCDRC) has recently awarded Rs 2 crore compensation to a woman who had suffered mental trauma and whose career prospects had been adversely affected due to a bad haircut and hair treatment owing to the negligence of a salon at a 5 star hotel in 2018. The Bench took into consideration that the complainant Aashna Roy was a...

In a significant judgment, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal (NCDRC) has recently awarded Rs 2 crore compensation to a woman who had suffered mental trauma and whose career prospects had been adversely affected due to a bad haircut and hair treatment owing to the negligence of a salon at a 5 star hotel in 2018.

The Bench took into consideration that the complainant Aashna Roy was a model for hair products and had done modelling assignments for VLCC and Pantene.

A Bench comprising NCDRC president Justice RK Agrawal and member Dr SM Kanitkar observed,

"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 was also working as Senior Management Professional and earning a decent income. 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. This apart, the Opposite Party No.2 is also guilty of medical negligence in hair treatment. Her scalp was burnt and still there is allergy and itching due to fault of the staff of Opposite Party No.2."

The Bench further noted that there was 'no doubt' that women were 'very cautious and careful' with regards to their hair.

"They spend a handsome amount on keeping the hair in good condition. They are also emotionally attached with their hair," it added.

Background

On April 12, 2018 the complainant had gone to a salon at Hotel ITC Maurya, New Delhi for a haircut as she was set to appear before an interview panel. Since her regular hairdresser was unavailable, she had been assigned another stylist.

On the assurance of the salon's manager, Roy went ahead with the haircut and specifically had specifically instructed the hairdresser for 'long flicks/layers covering her face in the front and at the back and 4-inch straight hair trimmed from the bottom'.

It came on record that Roy was wearing high-power glasses and was requested by the hairdresser to keep her head constantly down, as a result, she alleged of not being able to see herself clearly in the mirror.

It is alleged in the complaint that as the complainant was wearing high powered spectacles and was requested by the hairdresser to keep her head constantly down because of which she was unable to see herself clearly in the mirror.

When the hairdresser started taking more than an hour to do the hairstyling, she enquired from the hairdresser the reason behind the delay. In response, she was assured that she was being given a 'London Haircut'.

However, to the 'utter shock and surprise of the complainant', the hairdresser, Christine had chopped off her entire hair leaving only 4 inches from the top and barely touching to her shoulders contrary to her instructions.

Consequently, Roy complained about the hairdresser to the Manager of the Salon, Gurpreet Acharya after which she had not been billed for hairstyling for which she was earlier being charged heavily. The complainant further alleged that because of the hair cut, she was 'not looking pretty and had stopped to lead her normal busy life.'

Much to her surprise, Roy further learnt that her hair had been sold off 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," the Bench further noted.

Furthermore, on May 3, 2018, when Roy is stated to have gone to the salon for the hair treatment, she was informed that the in-house hairdresser Vicky would do the treatment under the supervision of Alem who were very good at their work. However, during the hair treatment, her hair and scalp had 'got completely damaged with excess ammonia and there was lot of irritation in the scalp', it was contended.

It was also asserted that the complainant had scratched and cut her entire scalp with his nails on the pretext that he was doing this exercise to open the hair cuticles. Further, when cream laden with ammonia was put on her scalp, her scalp had got burnt further. As a result of which, a hair spray was her only temporary relief.

When she tried to seek the assistance of the hotel staff in the matter, she alleged that they were "abusive, rude and disrespectful' and also threatened her. She even tried approaching the management of ITC Group and Hotels but it did not yield any result.

Thus, the complainant filed the instant plea alleging negligence and deficiency in service and sought a written apology from the ITC Management besides ₹3 crore in compensation due to the harassment and mental trauma undergone.

The counsels for the complainant submitted that hair was extremely essential for a human being as it shaped a person's looks.

"Especially for woman, hair forms the looks either in their daily lives or on their wedding day. Many of the ladies feel pride on their crowning glory and work hard to ensure that their hairs are in good condition. If some (sic) mishappening takes placed with the hairs, it can effect the mental state of the ladies and it can last for an entire life time," it was contended.

On the other hand, the opposite parties contended that Roy did not fall within the definition of a 'consumer' under Section 2 (1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act since no consideration had been paid by her as the payment made by her vide a Master Card for Rs₹1,770 had been declined.

"The compensation claimed by the complainant is ex-facie exaggerated and without any basis. No basis whatsoever has been set out in the Complaint on which the claim for compensation has been quantified at ₹3 crore," it was submitted.

Compensation granted 

Taking a note of the rival submissions, the Bench observed that it would 'meet the ends of justice' if the complainant was granted compensation to the tune of Rs 2 crore. Accordingly, it was ruled,

"We are of the considered view that it would meet the end of justice in case the Complainant is granted compensation of ₹2,00,00,000/- (Rupees Two Crore). Hence, we direct the Opposite Party No.2 to pay a compensation of ₹2,00,00,000/- (Rupees Two Crore) to the Complainant within a period of eight weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of the order."

The complainant appeared in person whereas Senior Advocate Parag P Tripathi along with Advocates L K Bhushan, Aditi Awasthy and Srinivasan Ramaswamy represented the opposite parties.

Case Title: Aashna Roy v. ITC Hotels

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