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Unless service is free of charge or under contract of personal service, Medical Services’ fall within ambit of Consumer Protection Act, 2019: Kerala High Court

The High Court of Kerala, through learned judge, Justice M. Nagaresh in the case Dr Vijil v. Ambujakshi T.P (WP(C) NO. 970 OF 2022) held that  unless service is free of charge or under contract of personal service, Medical Services’ fall within ambit of Consumer Protection Act, 2019. 

BRIEF FACTS OF THE CASE: The petitioners, Doctors practising at Modern Medicine in Kannur, filed the writ petition seeking to quash orders of the District and State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions, as sans jurisdiction and  illegal. The petitioners also prayed to declare that the Consumer Fora under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 do not have jurisdiction to take cognizance of complaints in respect of medical negligence and deficiency in medical service, as medical profession and practice does not come within the purview of the term ‘service’ defined under Section 2(42) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

ORDER: The court relied on the decision of the apex court in Indian Medical Association v. V.P. Shantha and others [(1995) 6 SCC 651] that held that the medical practice/profession would also come within the purview of the definition of the term ‘service’ under Section 2(1)(o) of the Act, 1986. The court upheld the notion of the State Commission and held that since no conscious change in the definition of “service” was made in the new Act, the contention of the petitioners that Health Sector has been deliberately excluded by the Parliament while enacting the new law, cannot be accepted. The petition was accordingly dismissed. 

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY – AMRUTHA K

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