The Appellants as complainants filed a complaint before the District Forum against the opposite parties praying for the direction to the opposite parties to pay Rs.14,893/- towards the interest amount alongwith future interest at 24% on Rs.67700/-, alongwith compensation of Rs.1 lakh and cost. The District Forum dismissed the complaint. Against the said order, this appeal is preferred praying to set aside the order of the District Forum dt.14.7.2008 in CC.No.144/2004.
This petition coming before us for hearing finally on 6.7.2011. Upon hearing the arguments of the counsel on both sides, perusing the documents, lower court records, and the order passed by the District Forum, this commission made the following order:
JUSTICE M. THANIKACHALAM, PRESIDENT
1. The complainants are the appellants.
2. The 2nd complainant is the husband of the 1st complainant, who is working as a teacher at Hindu Cornation School, Maduranthagam, a Government aided school. The husband was suffering from kidney ailment, for which she approached the opposite parties, who informed and intimated that for the treatment taken in their hospital, a Government servant is entitled to reimbursement. Thus believing the words of the opposite party, as if the opposite party hospital is recognized/accredited hospital, the 2nd complainant was admitted, kidney transplantation was performed on 26.8.2002, for which the complainants incurred an expense of Rs.1,41,515/-.
3. The 1st complainant applied for reimbursement of the medical expenses, to the authorities concerned, which was rejected since the hospital was not recognized/accredited hospital, as per G.O. No.400 dt.29.8.2000. The opposite parties adopting unfair trade practice, canvassed and convinced the 2nd complainant, to admit him in their hospital for treatment, thereby they caused monetary loss, and mental agony, since reimbursement was not granted by the Government. Therefore, the complainants are entitled to a sum of Rs.67,700/-, being the medical expenses bill amount, paid by the 2nd complainant, in addition to a sum of Rs.1 lakh, as compensation alongwith interest and cost.
4. The opposite parties, admitting that the 2nd complainant had taken treatment in their hospital, resisted the case, contending that they have not committed any deficiency or negligence or unfair trade practice, and infact it is the duty of the 1st complainant to verify, whether the hospital is recognized and accredited for claiming reimbursement, which she failed, and the complainants never informed about their status, and this being the position, for not reimbursing the medical expenses by the authorities concerned, they cannot be held responsible, praying for the dismissal of the complaint.
5. The District Forum, by its order dt.14.7.2008 dismissed the complaint, concluding that there was no unfair trade practice, or deficiency in service, which is sought to be nullified by the complainants, preferring this appeal before this commission.
6. The complainant/appellants are wife and husband. The 1st complainant being a teacher, working in a Government aided school, entitled to the reimbursement of medical expenses, for her family members, probably including the husband. On that basis, since the 2nd complainant was suffering from kidney failure, they have approached the 2nd opposite party hospital, where kidney transplantation was performed on 26.8.2002, for which they were charged to the extent of Rs.1,41,515/-. Out of this amount, the complainants are entitled to reimbursement, in the ordinary course, as per the bill for Rs.67,700/-. When the said amount was claimed on the basis of G.O.No.400 dt.29.8.2000, the same was negatived or rejected, by the authorities concerned, as seen from Ex.A5, on 10.1.2003. Thereafter, the complainants issuing notice, branding that the opposite parties have committed unfair trade practice, as if transplanted kidney, claiming that they are recognized hospital by the Government, have filed this consumer complaint, for the amount rejected by the Government, which was successfully/ correctly opposed.
7. The 1st opposite party is a recognized hospital, for kidney transplantation, is an admitted fact, and the same is also proved by Ex.B1. The 2nd complainant, having suffered kidney problem, approached the 1st opposite party, and they have successfully transplanted kidney, in which process or treatment, no negligent act or deficiency is alleged by the complainants. Therefore, the complainants are not entitled to accuse the opposite parties, as if they have committed medical negligence, or deficiency in service, and that is why they have also not alleged so.
8. On the other hand it is the specific case of the complainant, that the opposite parties have committed unfair trade practice, i.e., they declared themselves, as if they are recognized, accredited hospital, for taking treatment by the Government Servant, which would be reimbursed as per Government Order. Though it is so pleaded, as rightly recorded by the District Forum, practically there is nil evidence, that the opposite parties have canvassed so, or only on the representation made by the opposite parties, the complainants have taken treatment. As rightly, repeatedly said by the opposite parties, in the written version, it is for the 1st complainant to verify, before admitting her husband in the hospital, for kidney transplantation, whether the treatment taken in this hospital would be reimbursed, in the sense, whether this hospital is a listed hospital, for reimbursement, also as per the Government Order. The 1st opposite party, being a teacher, if she had committed any mistake in not verifying, she cannot accuse the opposite party, as if they have committed unfair trade practice. As said above, admittedly this hospital is recognized for kidney transplantation, and therefore in performing the surgery, no fault can be affixed. This hospital is a recognized hospital for reimbursement, under the Employees Health Fund Scheme for Ophthalmology, as seen from the G.O. dt.20.10.1995. But it is not so recognized for kidney transplantation treatment/ reimbursement, though it is recognized hospital for transplantation under Human Organ Transplantation Act 1994. So, if the complainants, having realized, that there may be better treatment, had approached the opposite party, and had successful treatment, for the denial of reimbursement by the authorities concerned, correctly also, they cannot fault the hospital, and claim the amount paid, which is unknown to law.
9. As rightly submitted by the learned counsel for the opposite party, the case itself may not come under the Consumer Protection Act. For the kidney transplantation performed, the opposite parties collected the necessary fees, having rendered proper service, or in other words, the complainants have hired or availed the service of the opposite parties, for consideration, and the consideration was paid. The service so availed, as available under the Consumer Protection Act, is not at all faulted, because of the fact, as said above, it is not the case of the complainants that the 2nd complainant was not treated properly, or there was any medical negligence or deficiency in service. Therefore, as far as availing of service, giving treatment, there is nothing wrong, which alone we are concerned under the Consumer Protection Act. A hospital, having recognized for kidney transplantation, cannot be faulted, for performing that kind of surgery, which they did to the 2nd complainant. Even assuming that they have informed that they will do the surgery perfectly, that will not amount to unfair trade practice, and there is no material in any form to imagine, that the opposite parties had a
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ssured reimbursement, which they cannot do also, because the reimbursement is to be made by the higher authorities or the department, where the 1st complainant was working. This being the position, the opposite parties themselves had no authority, to say that the reimbursement would be available, then certainly they would not have given assurance, that too, when their hospital is not in the recognized list of reimbursing hospital, as per the Government order, though for transplantation it is recognized. The District Forum considering all these facts, as well as realizing there is no element of deficiency in service, rightly dismissed the case, which finding we are constrained to endorse, dismissing the appeal. 10. In the result, the appeal is dismissed, with cost of Rs.2000/- confirming the order of the District Forum in O.P.No.144/2004 dt.14.7.2009.