These days, banks take bad hair-cuts, but here is one instance when a person, a model, literally took one such, with disastrous consequences to her career. She wanted compensation, but the Supreme Court had ‘law’ to consider. 

In ITC Ltd Vs Aashna Roy , the apex court, has set aside a decision passed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), which awarded a compensation of ₹ 2 crore to Ms Roy, who suffered at the hands of the snippers, not once, but twice. 

Faulty haircut

Roy visited the saloon in ITC Maurya, New Delhi, on April 4, 2018, for hair styling so that she would have a clean and groomed appearance before a job interview the following week. The hair-dresser of her choice not being available, Roy settled for the services of one Ms Christine, with whom she had had bad experience earlier, on the assurance of the manager that Christine had “improved”. 

Christine instructed Roy to keep her head bowed – she was going to give Roy the “London Haircut”. When Roy eventually lifted her head, she found to her horror that Christine had “chopped off her entire hair, leaving only four inches from the top, contrary to the instructions given by her”.  

The verdict reads: “According to the respondent (Roy), as a result of the faulty haircut, the respondent 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; she went into a state of depression.” 

Roy did complain to the General Manager, Zubin Songadwala, who, according to Roy, “instead of being courteous and apologetic, was rude and said she (Roy) was free to take any action against the saloon.” 

NCDRC awards compensation

Regardless, Roy went to the same saloon again a few months later, when again she had a terrible experience — excess ammonia was used during the treatment, which completely damaged her hair and scalp, resulting in a lot of irritation and burning in the scalp. 

She then approached the NCDRC, asking for a compensation of ₹ 3 crore. The Commission awarded her ₹ 2 crore, which ITC challenged at the Supreme Court.  

Here comes the point of law. Roy, who insisted on arguing for herself and even rejected free legal counsel offered by the Supreme Court, has been told that while she might deserve to be compensated, the amount could not be whatever she demanded. 

The bench comprising Justice B R Gavai and Justice Vikram Nath, said: “If she (Roy) has material to substantiate her claim, she may be given an opportunity to produce the same. Once deficiency in service is proved, then the respondent is entitled to be suitably compensated under different heads admissible under law. Question is on what basis and how much. Let this quantification be left to the wisdom of the NCDRC based upon the material if any that may be placed before it by the respondent.”