Mumbai : The National Consumer Forum has ruled that a company, which runs business to gain benefit, is not a consumer and it cannot seek compensation under the Consumer Protection Act in case of unfair trade practice and other irregularities.
M/s Indraprastha Medical Corporation Ltd, the complainant is engaged in the business of running world class hospitals with medical facilities of the highest standards.
It had filed the complaint under Section 21 (1) (i) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, seeking compensation of Rs 2,33,60,349 with 18% interest alleging deficiency in service in respect of the contract of redesigning, addition, alteration and renovation of the atrium of the Apollo Hospital, New Delhi.
It was alleged that M/s Alpine International and other three companies have supplied the defective goods for relaying of the floor of the atrium.
The respondents have filed a written statement denying the allegations on merits. They also contended that the complaint is liable to be dismissed for the reason that complainant is not a consumer within the meaning of Section 2 (1) (D) of the Act.
The forum pointed out that cause of action of filing of the complaint is alleged to be defect in the quality of the technistone supplied by the opposite parties and the deficiency in service in respect of renovating/laying of technistone in the atrium of the hospital run by the complainant company.
“The crucial question for deciding the issue of maintainability is whether the renovation /laying of floor of the atrium of the hospital has any connection whatsoever with the business of the complainant?” the forum pointed out.
Refusing to treat the complainant as a ‘consumer’, the national forum noted, “It is well known that charges of commercially run hospitals are in direct proportion to the facilities provided, including the ambience of the building. Therefore, in our considered opinion, the atrium of the hospital has a direct correlation with running of the business. Thus, the complainant in our view is not covered under the definition of ‘consumer’. As such, he cannot maintain the instant consumer complaint.