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HC dismisses Chandigarh eye institute’s plea against consumer panel order

Was directed in February to pay the complainant Rs 1 lakh for unfair trade practices.
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON SEP 27, 2020 01:51 AM IST

The Punjab and Haryana high court has dismissed a plea by Grewal Eye Institute, Sector 9, against a February order of the Chandigarh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

Upholding an order of the district consumer forum, the commission had directed the institute to pay Rs 1 lakh to a Chandigarh resident.

The institute had filed a plea in March arguing that it can entertain petitions in certain categories of cases against consumer panel orders.

However, the bench of justice HS Madaan observed that the institute, itself having approached the commission, cannot now say that it lacked jurisdiction. It added that the institute, under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, can approach the national commission.

The complainant, Shabnam Khunger, a Chandigarh resident, had approached the consumer forum, stating that she had visited the Sector-9 institute for an eye check-up in October 2017 and was advised a cataract surgery. She was informed about two kinds of surgeries –Phaco or Robolazr – worth Rs 1.49 lakh.

For this, she contacted her insurance firm for cashless treatment, but was allowed treatment worth only Rs 48,000 and her claim of Rs 1 lakh was rejected. This prompted her to approach the consumer forum.

The insurance firm was of the view that there was no need for a robotic surgery. Hence, the remaining amount was repudiated. The institute had argued that it was the patient who opted for it.

The forum had then ordered that the insurance firm was liable to pay the entire amount, and penalised the eye institute for “unfair trade practices” by directing it to pay the complainant Rs 1 lakh.

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