Compensation for bad haircut: NCDRC maintains its earlier award of ₹2 crore against ITC despite Supreme Court direction to reconsider
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) recently confirmed its earlier award of ₹2 crores as compensation to an aspiring model for a bad haircut she suffered at the ITC Maurya hotel.
NCDRC New Delhi president Justice RK Agarwal and member Dr SM Kantikar passed the order after the case was remanded to it by the Supreme Court in February for reconsideration of the compensation amount which it had earlier awarded.
The NCDRC relied on emails and applications of proposed modelling and acting contracts presented by the petitioner to reaffirm the earlier amount it had awarded.
"The Complainant has sufficiently substantiated her claim for compensation by leading the cogent evidence. However ... no case has been made out by her for enhancement of the claim. Taking into consideration the various materials/documents filed by the Complainant, we are of the considered opinion that the interest of justice will be met if the Complainant is awarded ₹2,00,00,000/- (Rupees Two Crore) as compensation," the order stated.
Since the first order granting the award was passed in September 2021, the respondent ITC Hotels was directed to pay the amount with 9 per cent interest from that date.
The incident in question took place in 2018.
The petitioner, Aashna Roy, was slated to appear for an interview, before which she went to the salon at the ITC Maurya hotel in New Delhi on April 12 for a haircut. She asked for her regular hairdresser but since she was not available, another stylist was assigned.
What according to her was a simple haircut, took over an hour, and Roy was in “utter shock” when she saw that the stylist had “chopped off her entire hair leaving only 4 inches from the top and barely touching to her shoulders”, which was against her instructions.
Subsequently, she was offered hair treatment free of cost by the hotel, to which she is said to have agreed after a lot of persuasion.
However, post treatment, she alleged her hair turned “hard and rough” in addition to an itchy and burnt scalp. She later tried to seek the assistance of the hotel staff in the matter but alleged that they were “abusive, rude and disrespectful” and she was threatened.
Roy stated that she even approached the management of ITC Group and Hotels in vain. She, therefore, filed the plea alleging deficiency in service on the part of opposite parties and sought written apology from the ITC Management besides ₹3 crore in compensation alleging harassment, humiliation and mental trauma.
The NCDRC initially awarded her ₹2 crores, holding that owing to the haircut against Roy’s instructions, by the hotel’s salon, she lost her prospective assignments and “suffered a huge loss” that completely changed her lifestyle and “shattered her dream to be a top model”.
ITC Hotels were also held guilty of medical negligence in hair treatment.
The hotel then moved the top court challenging the same.
The Supreme Court in February this year set aside the compensation amount and remitted the matter for fresh determination of the amount.
The top court had made it clear that the same has to be based on evidence and not based solely on the claim raised by the consumer.
In its latest order, the NCDRC at the outset stated that the finding of deficiency in service by the hotel has been affirmed by the top court, and hence attained finality.
It considered application forms for a ₹1 crore hair modelling assignment, and emails by corporates and VLCC for lucrative advertisement and other campaigns into account.
The petitioner appeared in-person.
Senior Advocate Debal Kumar Banerji with advocates LK Bhushan and Raashi Beri appeared for the respondents.