March 2, 2024

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Deficiency in Service under the Consumer Protection Act

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Introduction: Deficiency in Service

The Consumer Protection Act, of 1986 seeks to provide for better protection of the interests of consumers and for the purpose, to make provision for the establishment of Consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumer disputes and for the matter connected therewith. The Consumer Protection Bill, of 1986 was passed by both Houses of Parliament. It received the assent of the honorable President on 24th December, 1986. It came on the Statutes Book as THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 1986 (68 of 1986). A case was filed before the district forum through three advocates against BSNL. All three complaints were dismissed by the district forum on merits. Consequently, the complainant (Nandalal Lohariya) filed a complaint against those three advocates stating deficiency in services on their part. This report briefly discusses the deficiency of service under Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

This legal report delivers an outline and highlights of the case “Nandalal Lohariya vs Jagdish Chand Purohit”.


Section 2(1)(g) in the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (g) “deficiency” means any fault, imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature and manner of performance which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or has been undertaken to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any service.

Deficiency of service can be witnessed in any service sector where there is buyer-seller relationship, such as, railways, banks, legal aid, electricity, construction, education, transportation, aviation, hospitality, restaurants, entertainment etc. Deficiency of service can have minor to grave consequences, ranging from inconvenience or harassment to mental or physical injury to death, thereby leading to legal consequences. Burden of proof is on the side of the complainant.


The complainant filed a complaint against BSNL under the consumer protection act, 1986 with three advocates in the district forum but the case has been dismissed on the merits. The complaint filed a complaint against those three advocates alleging deficiency in service under 2(1)(g) of consumer protection act, 1986 to get a compensation of 15 lakhs but the complaint has been dismissed on district forum the case has been taken to National consumer redressal commission  while considering the special leave petition filed against the NCDRC order the court reiterated that the complaint against BSNL was dismissed only on the merits there is no negligence on the part of the advocates hence the complaint was dismissed  by the court.


The Supreme Court observed that an advocate losing a case cannot be said to be deficiency in service on his/her part.

“In every litigation, either of the party is bound to lose and in such a situation either of the party who will lose in the litigation may approach the consumer fora for compensation alleging deficiency in service, which is not permissible at all”, the bench comprising Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarath observed while dismissing a Special Leave Petition filed against the order passed by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. once it is found and held that there was no deficiency in service on the part of the advocates, the complaint filed by the petitioner – complainant against the three advocates was liable to be dismissed and is rightly dismissed by the District Forum and the same has been rightly confirmed by the State Commission and thereafter by the National Commission.


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