Court directs compensation to couple defrauded by medical centre, doctors who pretended to “cure” HIV


Dharampal Singh & Chandro Devi vs Ayuna Herbal Healthcare & Ors Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-X, Case no 612/2009 Order dated May 9, 2018 The complainants, a married couple, got tested by the respondents for HIV, for which the respondents allegedly provided false results declaring them as HIV+. Based on these reports, one of the respondents asked the couple to buy drugs which were unnecessary and incapable of curing the HIV, which this respondent had led the couple to believe they had. The respondent after several months to treatment then proceeded to claim that the couple had been “cured” – or become HIV negative – as a result of the drugs he had prescribed, when in fact they were HIV negative all along. The respondents also did not provide proper receipts for the tests and the drugs they prescribed. The petition also noted that the respondents had advertised their treatment to “cure HIV” in newspapers and their websites – which was false advertising and was contrary to the provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectional Advertisements) Rules 1955. The complainant submitted that it is medically impossible that in December 2007, they were HIV positive but became HIV negative by June 2008. Information from the National AIDS Control Organisation and the World Health Organisation also confirms that there is no cure for HIV. Thus, the complainants prayed that Rs 47,000 – the amount they paid to the respondents – be refunded to them apart from Rs 4,53,000 for the mental injuries and emotional distress suffered by them. The court observed that since “the complainants have never suffered or were infected by HIV virus, the Ops have misled them by promising a cure which has not been tested and endorsed by the scientific community. Ops have further indulged in deliberate deception by first showing results as positive and after prescribing medicine showing results as negative… Hence we find Ops guilty of misleading advertisement and indulging in deceptive trade practices and unfair trade practices and direct OP 1 to OP 4 each to pay Rs 25,000 to the complainants with interest @9% from the date of filing of complaint.”