Unless the service is provided for free or is covered by a contract of personal service, medical services would fall under the purview of Section 2(42) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is upheld by the Kerala High Court in the case of Dr Vijil v. Ambujakshi T.P through Justice N. Nagaresh.
FACTS OF THE CASE
The current petition was brought by doctors in Kannur who practise modern medicine in an effort to overturn the district and state consumer dispute resolution commissions’ rulings as being without authority and hence unconstitutional.
They sought a declaration that the Consumer Protection Act of 2019’s Consumer Fora lacks the authority to hear complaints about medical malpractice and inadequate medical care because these issues are the domain of the medical profession and practise, which are not covered by the definition of “service” in Section 2(42) of the Consumer Protection Act of 2019.
The High Court said that Section 2(42) of the Act would demonstrate that the Parliament intended to specifically highlight the fact that certain services, such as banking, financing, insurance, transportation, etc., which are in the nature of public utility services, would fall under the purview of services.
The definition provided is broad and not all-inclusive. All services that are made available to potential customers would therefore be covered by Section 2(42), with the exception of those that are provided for free or under a contract for personal service. The phrase “but not limited to” in Section 2(42) makes the Parliament’s meaning clear.
Therefore, unless the service is provided for free or is covered by a contract of personal service, medical services would in fact fall under the purview of Section 2(42).
Thus, the Kerala High Court made the decision about whether medical services would be covered by Section 2(42) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 unless they are provided without charge or are covered by a personal service contract.
In light of the aforementioned, the High Court denied the petition.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NISHTHA GARHWAL