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SC stays NCDRC order on Rs 2 cr compensation for ‘wrong’ haircut

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed a National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) directing at a five-star hotel in Delhi to pay a compensation of Rs 2 crore to a woman for a faulty haircut and bad hair treatment.

A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia issued notice to model Aashna Roy on an appeal filed by ITC challenging the NCDRC award.

The top court, in its order, said: “Admittedly, the respondent has received Rs 25 lakh along with interest. In such circumstances, there shall be an interim order staying the operation of the judgment impugned.”

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The bench noted that compensation quantification cannot be on mere asking, rather it has to be on material evidence. ITC had moved the apex court against the NCDRC order, which reaffirmed its September 2021 order, directing it to pay Rs 2 crore as compensation.

In April this year, the NCDRC reaffirmed its earlier order after relying on e-mails and applications of proposed modelling and acting contracts presented by Roy.

In February this year, the Supreme Court had set aside the NCDRC order awarding Rs 2 crore compensation to the woman for a bad haircut and hair treatment, saying “amount of Rs 2 crore would be extremely excessive and disproportionate”, and “quantification of compensation has to be based upon material evidence and not on the mere asking”.

Roy had visited the saloon of the Hotel ITC Maurya, New Delhi in April 2018 for hair styling so that she would have a clean and groomed appearance before the interview panel where she was to appear. She gave specific instructions to the hairdresser regarding the haircut.

Roy said as a result of the faulty haircut, she could not continue to lead her normal busy life as she no longer looked pretty; she had to face great humiliation and embarrassment; her career in the world of modelling was completely shattered and she went into a state of depression.

Later, the hotel offered her hair treatment free of cost. In May 2018, Roy went to the salon for this purpose. However, during the treatment, she claimed her hair and scalp were completely damaged with excess ammonia and consequently, there was a lot of irritation.

She filed a complaint before the NCDRC alleging deficiency in service, seeking written apology from the management as also compensation of Rs 3 crore for harassment, humiliation, mental trauma, loss of career, loss of income, and loss of future prospects.

In September 2021, the NCDRC awarded Rs 2 crore compensation to her. ITC Ltd moved the apex court challenging this order.

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