Advocates not liable under Consumer Protection Act for deficiency of services: SC - Karma Global
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Advocates not liable under the Consumer Protection Act for deficiency of services: SC

India’s consulting industry, valued at around USD 150-180 billion, is a significant and growing sector with a CAGR of approximately 15-20%. This dynamic market offers a wide range of services, including IT, Regulatory, Outsourcing, Payroll, Strategy, Finance, and many more. The industry attracts significant FDI inflows and plays a crucial role in shaping India’s business landscape. As the Indian economy continues to grow, the consulting industry is well-positioned for further expansion.

KARMA GLOBAL  a leading consulting firm, with operations in U.K, the U.S. Canada, the Middle East, and South East Asia, specializes in areas like staffing, on-boarding, payroll, facility management, curbing regulatory risk, auditing, and abiding by all labor law-related compliance on PAN basis.

Supreme Court disallows deficiency of services under the Consumer Protection Act for Advocates!    

In an appeal filed against the impugned judgment passed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (‘NCDRC’), wherein the Commission held inter alia that if there was any deficiency in service rendered by the Advocates/Lawyers, a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (‘CPA, 1986) would be maintainable, however, the Division Bench of Bela Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal,  while setting aside the NCDRC judgment, has held the following:

The very purpose and object of the CP Act 1986 as re-enacted in 2019 was to provide protection to the consumers from unfair trade practices and unethical business practices, and the Legislature never intended to include either the Professions or the services rendered by the Professionals within the purview of the said Act of 1986/2019.

The Legal Profession is sui generis i.e. unique in nature and cannot be compared with any other Profession.

A service hired or availed of an Advocate is a service under “a contract of personal service,” and therefore, would fall within the exclusionary part of the definition of “Service” contained in Section 2 (42) of the CP Act 2019.

A complaint alleging “deficiency in service” against Advocates practising Legal Profession would not be maintainable under the CP Act, 2019.

Conclusion :

The Court said that there was not a whisper in the statement of objects and reasons either of the CP Act, 1986 or 2019 to include the Professions or the Services provided by the Professionals like Advocates, Doctors etc. within the purview of the Act. The Professionals could not be called Businessmen or Traders, nor Clients or Patients be called Consumers. It is also required to be borne in mind that the terms ‘business’ or ‘trade’ having a commercial aspect involved, could not be used interchangeably with the term ‘Profession’ which normally would involve some branch of learning or science.

Thus, the Court said that a considerable amount of direct control is exercised by the Client over how an Advocate renders his services during his employment. Thus, the services hired or availed of an Advocate would be that of a contract ‘of personal service’ and would therefore stand excluded from the definition of “service” contained in Section 2(42) of the CP Act, 2019. Therefore, a complaint alleging “deficiency in service” against Advocates practicing Legal Profession would not be maintainable under the CP Act, 2019.

Proprietary blog of Karma Global – collated and compiled by the internal staff of Karma Global  with the knowledge and expertise that they possess,  besides adaptation, illustration, derivation, transformation, collection and auto generation for its monthly newsletter Issue 24  of  June   2024  and in case of specific or general information or compliance updates for that matter, kindly reach out to the Marketing Team –

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