Flashback 2014: When consumer fora stood strong to guard citizens' rights

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New Delhi, Dec 29: Services sector in 2014 continued to be under the watchful eyes of various consumer fora which stood by the motto "consumer is the king" and dealt firmly with both government and private entities to protect citizens from unfair trade practices.

2014: When consumer remained the 'king'
Benefit of several campaigns like "Jago Grahak Jago" seems to be catching up with the consumers who during the year dared to drag health care giants, banking and insurance major, airlines, Railways, telecom heavy weights and top realtors to various consumer courts for redressal of their grievances.

Leading the way, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), the apex consumer body, in August dealt sternly with pharmaceutical giant Novartis India Ltd for over charging and making exorbitant profit on sale of its non-cancerous drug.

Holding that the company was indulging in principles which were against ethics and morality, it said the MRP fixed by Ministry of Health or Ministry of Commence was on a higher side and directed the Centre to take steps to re-fix the MRP of the drug so that the consumers should not suffer.

Lal Path Labs, which has a major chain of diagnostic centres, also had to cough up Rs four lakh as damages for wrongly diagnosing a doctor as HIV positive. The lab conducted a DNA test instead of one for HIV virus.

A forum noted that there were rise in number of complaints against the lab and said facts reveal a "shocking state of affairs" as it was "fleecing consumers by false advertisements and using inefficient medical personnel and staff".

Several doctors of private and government hospitals including Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, GTB Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre were heavily fined for negligence in treatment.

In one such case, a nursing home and its two doctors were asked to pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation to a woman for leaving a piece of sponge in her abdomen during an operation in 2012 resulting in formation of 1.5 litre pus in her body.

Real-estate firms were rapped by consumer fora which in several cases held that these firms were taking money on false temptation and misrepresentation and also failing to provide property and making profits at the expense of others.

PTI 

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