The Apex Court have observed that provision of hostel facilities to nurses so as to facilitate better medical care is a positive duty enjoined upon the hospitals. The Court also laid down some broad principles for determining whether an activity is for commercial purpose for the purpose of Section 2(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The Bench comprising of Justices Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Ajay Rastogi in the case of Lilavati Kirtilal Mehta V. M/S Unique Shanti Developers, while considering an appeal against National Consumer Commission in which the issue arose was whether the purchase of flats for the purpose of providing accommodation to nurses employed by the trust’s hospital qualifies as a ‘purchase of services for a commercial purpose or not’?
The impugned judgment by NCDRC had held that since providing hostel facility to the nurses is directly connected to the commercial purpose for running the hospital, and is consideration for the work done by them in the hospital, the appellant would not be a consumer under the 1986 Act.
The Bench while referring to various earlier judgment made following principles as guidelines:
Therefor on applying these principles the Bench observed that there is no connection between the purchase of flats by the trust and its profit generating activities. Also, by applying the prominent dominant purpose test, the bench disagreed with the contention that the provision of such hostel facilities is integral to the trust’s commercial activities.
Therefore, in the present matter the Supreme Court concluded that the provision of hostel facilities to nurses so as to facilitate better medical care is a positive duty enjoined upon the hospital so that they can maintain the beneficial effects of the curative efforts undertaken by them.