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Forums not meant to enrich greedy consumers: Court dismisses appeal against St Stephens hospital

Forums not meant to enrich greedy consumers: Court dismisses appeal against St Stephens hospital

New Delhi: Dismissing an appeal of a complaint, against St Stephens Hospital, who had demanded a compensation of Rs 1.5 lakh citing mental torture and agony, when he was not able get a money refund of Rs 1120/- for a test that was not performed at the hospital, the Delhi State Consumer Forum categorically stated that

“Consumer Forums are not meant to enrich the greedy consumers.”

The case was filed by one complainant, who had visited with his wife at St. Stephen Hospital for consulting a Gynaecologist. It was alleged that after examination, 02 tests i.e. Foetal Echo and sugar were prescribed. For the said tests appellant/complainant had deposited Rs.1470/- with the hospital. However, only one test was conducted at the lab of the hospital and ultrasound department refused to do the other test i.e. Foetal Echo on the ground of non-availability of the facility.

Thereupon, the appellant/complainant contacted the doctor who had recommended for the said test. However, the said doctor wrote on the backside of the bill for refund of the amount of Rs.1120/-.

Appellant/complainant had alleged that despite repeated visits and legal notice dated 30.07.2016, the aforesaid amount was not refunded. Thereupon, he filed the aforesaid complaint before District Forum claiming refund of Rs.1120/- alongwith Rs.1500/- towards legal notice sent and Rs.1,50,000/- as compensation for mental torture and agony.

The hospital filed written statement and on the first date of hearing, offered a sum of Rs.2240/- i.e. double of the amount claimed by the appellant/complainant towards full and final settlement, which was not accepted by the appellant/complainant. In the reply, the hospital denied the allegations of refusal to refund the amount of Rs.1120/- as was alleged.

It is reported that the case had first gone to a district forum and After hearing the parties, the District Forum awarded a sum of Rs.2240/- to the appellant/complainant and keeping in view the background of the case noted in the impugned order that order for compensation and litigation costs is not being made as the consumer fora are not made for enrichment of consumers.

Aggrieved with the district forum order , the complainant filed an appeal with the state forum.

The Counsel for the appellant/complainant has contended that the appellant/complainant had to make several efforts to get refund of amount of Rs.1120/-, even legal notice was sent in this regard, which was not responded  by the hospital. It is contended that the officials of hospital also told him that there was no refund policy. It was contended that had the hospital any intention to refund the amount, it would have sent the same to the appellant/complainant on receipt of the legal notice sent by the appellant/complainant.

It was further added that the appellant/complainant incurred much more expenses and also spent expenses for filing the complaint as such District Forum ought to have awarded compensation and litigation costs.

After going through the submissions, the court reiterated that the hospital on its appearance before the Ld. District Forum had offered a sum of Rs.2240/- i.e. double of the amount claimed by the appellant/complainant towards full and final settlement and it was the appellant/complainant who had declined the same. The allegation of refusal of the hospital to refund the amount by the official of the hospital has not been substantiated in any manner. Even the names of the officials who have allegedly refused to refund the amount, have not been stated. It is the appellant who has continued litigation with respondent/OP Ld. District Forum has specifically given reasoning for not awarding compensation and litigation costs to the appellant/complainant, which is as under:

“The OP has on the first date of hearing offered to refund Rs.2240/-. A copy of demand draft dated 30.11.2016 for a sum of Rs.2240/- drawn in favour of the complainant has also been filed as proof of bonafide on the part of the OP. it will also be relevant to note here that the complaint was filed on 28.09.2016. In view of the above discussion and especially the fact that the OP from the very first date of appearance was willing to pay double the claimed amount but the complainant prolonged the litigation. In our view the ends of justice would be met if, we award a sum of Rs.2240/- to the complainant. We are consciously making no order as to compensation and litigation cost as the Consumer Forums are not meant to enrich the greedy consumers.”

Finding no reason to disagree with the Ld. District Forum, the court observed that there is no illegality in the impugned order, the appeal stands dismissed in limine.

Source: self
26 comment(s) on Forums not meant to enrich greedy consumers: Court dismisses appeal against St Stephens hospital

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  1. user
    Dr Paresh Pujara MS LLB February 28, 2018, 12:19 pm

    Forums is not made to enrich the griddy consumer. But it made for end justice. If forum takes this type of approach then there will be no justification for small complain. For ex. If one shop gives sugar 950gms instead of 1000gms and customer coplain to forum and if forum awords 100gms sugar then no justice. Forum should give awords for deterrent effect.

  2. It is absolutely criminal on part of hospital that I didn’t immediately refunded the amount for a test it could not do.

  3. user
    Dr. Tushar Nehete February 27, 2018, 8:03 am

    No justice at all. The complainant did not get his right and hospital did not get any punishment and hence any learning or lesson at all. It\’s not about the amount of money as compensation. It\’s about getting justice, preventing repeatation of such \’dadagiri\’ or \’loot\’ in future. It\’s not about this particular one consumer. Such orders would encourage hospitals & even establishments from other fields not to refund consumers\’ hard earned money.

  4. user
    Dr Abdul Samad Burhan February 27, 2018, 2:02 pm

    No one has a right to \’fight\’ to satisfy his or her ego, the Court has seen the litigants behavior before it and decided the case,
    The litigant seem to suffer from \’Lal batti\’ culture

  5. i think forum should have charged the complainant/appellant with 1 lakh for wasting time of people of hospital who could have served some one in that time and harassing hospital .As such things won\’t stop if wrong complaints are not punished. now a days people of India are waiting an opportunity to get money from doctors and hospitals on any chance

  6. Dr Tahera, why are you silent on the behaviour of the rogues who collected money but did not serve.
    It seems you belong to the same breed of petty thrives in (pure)white robes.
    I always pray that the almighty should arrange to let the rogues experience how they treat their patients. Believe me it\’ll be more painful for you rogues wherein inspite of your knowledge & your ill gotten wealth, you have to see your near & dear one suffering & writhing in pain and the attending doctor not being around on one pretext or the other.

  7. user
    Gopal Dass Gupta February 26, 2018, 2:19 pm

    It is good judgement. I agree with the views expressed.G.D.Gupta,Advocate.