The Supreme Court stated that an advocate's failure to win a case cannot be considered a shortcoming in service.
"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 Nagarathna observed while dismissing a Special Leave Petition filed against the order passed by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.”
The court stated that such complaints may be made only if the court determines that the advocate's service was deficient.
In this matter, Nandlal Lohariya filed a complaint against BSNL with the District Forum through his three lawyers. The District Forum dismissed all three objections based on merit. After the charges were dismissed, Lohariya filed a suit against these three lawyers, alleging deficiency in service in arguing his issues before the District Forum and seeking Rs.15 lakhs in damages. The District Forum dismissed the case, and the State and National Consumer Redress Commissions eventually supported the decision.
The court stated in its decision on the special leave petition filed against the NCDRC judgement that the charges against BSNL were dismissed on the merits and that there was no negligence on the part of the attorneys.
As a result, the court stated that the attorneys who attended on behalf of the complaint and lost on merit could not be regarded to have provided poor service.
According to the bench:
"4.1 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. Only in a case where it is found that there was any deficiency in service by the advocate, there may be some case. In each and every case where a litigant has lost on merits and there is no negligence on the part of the advocate/s, it cannot be said that there was any deficiency in service by the advocate/s. If the submission advanced on behalf of the petitioner is accepted, in that case, in each and every case where a litigant has lost on merits and his case is dismissed, he will approach the consumer fora and pray for compensation alleging deficiency in service. Losing the case on merits after the advocate argued the matter cannot be said to be a deficiency in service on the part of the advocate. 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."