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Damages

Consumer Protection Act, 1986 -  Contract  - Breach of  - Damages  - Liquidated and unliquidated damages, compensatory, punitive damages and nominal damages  - The consumer of a service may also be entitled to damages for any loss suffered by the consumer, by reason of denial or deficiency in service for which the consumer has paid or agreed to pay (if the parties have agreed to deferred payment), charges and/or in other words, price for the service - In cases of breach of contract, liquidated damages may be imposed on the party in breach, if the agreement provides for liquidated damages, that is a fixed amount by way of damages - Where the parties to an agreement have not agreed to liquidated damages, the party in breach of agreement may be directed to pay unliquidated damages which are compensatory -  Such compensatory damages are not to punish the party in breach, but to compensate the party not in breach, for losses suffered as a result of the breach - Where, however, the damages caused by the breach are severe and extensive, the party in breach may be required to pay to the party not in breach, such damages as would restore the position of the party not in breach, to the position before the breach occurred - Apart from compensatory damages, an Adjudicating Authority may impose on the party in breach, punitive damages or nominal damages - Punitive damages are awarded where the party in breach of agreement has behaved in a manner, which is reprehensible and calls for punishment -  Punitive damages are not generally awarded in cases of breach of contract unless the act is so reprehensible that it calls for punishment of the party in breach, by imposition of punitive and/or exemplary damages. Compensation which is compensatory, has to be assessed taking into account relevant factors, such as the loss incurred by the claimant, though some amount of guess work and/or estimation may be permissible - Nominal damages are awarded where there is no real harm done, by reason of the breach of the contract. #2020 SCeJournal 1807 

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Held,

The proviso to Section 14(1)(d) of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 empowers the District Forum to grant punitive damages in such circumstances as it deems fit. Punitive damages are not generally awarded in cases of breach of contract unless the act is so reprehensible that it calls for punishment of the party in breach, by imposition of punitive and/or exemplary damages. Compensation which is compensatory, has to be assessed taking into account relevant factors, such as the loss incurred by the claimant, though some amount of guess work and/or estimation may be permissible. In the instant case, the District Forum did not even undertake the exercise of assessment of the loss/damages, if any, suffered by the complainant by reason of non-service of notice before taking possession of the vehicle.