Giving a bad hair day to a model has led to possibly the world’s costliest haircut for the salon operator who was directed pay Rs 2 crore as damages by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).
A Division Bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Vikram Nath quashed and set-aside the order passed by NCDRC and while remanding the matter to the NCDRC, the court observed that the determination should be based on evidence and not based solely on the claim of the consumer.
The model Aashna Roy, the respondent visited the Salon of Hotel ITC Maurya on April 12, 2018 where she instructed the hairdresser for long flicks/layers covering her face in the front and at the back and 4-inch straight hair trim from the bottom. After an hour, when questioned, the hairdresser said she was giving her “the London Haircut”. The haircare model complained to the top management of the hotel which offered “extension of hair for interview or
treatment of hairs free of cost! On May 3, 2018, the model returned to the salon for the same. “However, during treatment, her hair and scalp got completely damaged with excess ammonia and there was lot of irritation in the scalp. Complainant asserted that the hairdresser scratched and cut her entire scalp with his nails on the pretext that he was doing this exercise to open the hair cuticles. But, when he put the cream which was laden with ammonia, her scalp got burnt.
Left with no other choice, she moved the NCDRC on the ground of deficiency in service against the Salon and sought a written apology from ITC Management along with a compensation of Rs. 3 crores for alleged harassment, humiliation, and mental trauma.
The NCDRC awarded her ₹2 crores in September, 2021 holding that owing to the haircut against Roy’s instructions, she lost her prospective assignments and suffered a huge loss that completely changed her lifestyle and “shattered her dream to be a top model”.
Before the supreme court, the question that was raised on account of such deficiency in service, what would be an adequate compensation. Therefore, the respondent was posed with a series of questions about her modeling assignments and her then job before she visited the salon in 2018.
The Bench observed “In the absence of any material with regard to her existing job, the emoluments received by her, any past, present or future assignments in modeling which the respondent was likely to get or even the interview letter for which the respondent alleges she had gone to the saloon to make herself presentable, it would be difficult to quantify or assess the compensation under these heads. What could be quantified was compensation under the head of pain, suffering and trauma. However, amount of Rs. 2 Crores would be extremely excessive and disproportionate.” The bench directed that the NCDRC should decide the compensation amount after allowing Roy to lead evidence.
Case: ITC Limited vs Aashna Roy