The State Commission, Delhi, held that services rendered by a Lawyer would not come within the ambit of s. 2(1)(o) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, as the client executes the power of attorney authorizing the Counsel to do certain acts on his behalf and there is no term of contract as to the liability of the lawyer in case he fails to do any such act. The State Commission held that it is a unilateral contract executed by the client giving authority to the lawyer to appear and represent the matter on his behalf without any specific assurance or undertaking.

This verdict was reversed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on the ground that lawyers are rendering a service. They are charging fees. It is not a contract of personal service and that there was no reason to hold that they are not covered by the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. It was held that though a Lawyer may not be responsible for the favourable outcome of a case as the result/out come does not depend upon only on lawyers’ work, but, if there was deficiency in rendering services promised, for which consideration in the form of fee is received by him, then the lawyers can be proceeded against under the Consumer Protection Act.

The said judgement of the NCDRC has now been stayed by the Supreme Court.

Bar of Indian Lawyers vs. D. K. Gandhi (Supreme Court)

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