Health services covered by consumer protection law: SC

The Supreme Court said on Friday that doctors and healthcare services were not excluded from the scope of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 and called the PIL relating to it a reasoned PIL.

A bench of Judges DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli upheld the verdict of the Bombay High Court that doctors and health service providers are covered by the Consumer Protection Act.

Appearing for the Petitioner, an NGO Medicos Legal Action Group, Lead Advocate Siddharth Luthra said that in the 1986 legislation there was no mention of healthcare in the definition of services and although there is a proposal to include it in the new law, it was actually not included.

The bench said the law speaks of services of any description and added that the definition of service is broad enough and that if Parliament had wanted to exclude it, it would have expressly said so.

Judge Chandracud said: In fact, your client committed a personal objective. Some cases of consumer negligence against the doctor and they prompted him to file a PIL. It is a motivated PIL.

The bench added that the reason health care was removed was because the definition of services itself is broad enough and the minister’s speech in the House cannot narrow what is expressly stated in the law.

Judge Chandrachud referred to a recent verdict rendered by him and said that the case of telecommunications services was similar which was not the case in the 1986 legislation, but the court said that this implied that ‘he was covered by the services of any description.

The bench said: The minister’s speech to which you refer is very reserved. We will uphold the High Court judgment and you will pay the fine within four weeks.

The Bombay High Court verdict last year, while rejecting the PIL, said there was not much difference between the definition of services under the 1986 and 2019 legislations, as the health services were not expressly mentioned in the 1986 law either.

The High Court had imposed a cost of Rs 50 thousand on the NGO.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear reader,

Business Standard has always endeavored to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that matter to you and that have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your constant encouragement and feedback on how to improve our offering has only strengthened our resolve and commitment to these ideals. Even in these challenging times stemming from Covid-19, we remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative opinions and incisive commentary on relevant topical issues.
However, we have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more so that we can continue to bring you more great content. Our subscription model has received an encouraging response from many of you who have subscribed to our online content. More subscriptions to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of bringing you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practice the journalism we are committed to.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

digital editor