18 Sep 2023 11:00 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has sentenced a man to six months of simple imprisonment for failing to pay dues to the wife of his deceased driver and repeatedly flouting undertakings given to that effect to the court. Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav found the man guilty of committing contempt of court for wilfully disobeying his undertakings of making payment to the widow who had a minor daughter....
The Delhi High Court has sentenced a man to six months of simple imprisonment for failing to pay dues to the wife of his deceased driver and repeatedly flouting undertakings given to that effect to the court.
Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav found the man guilty of committing contempt of court for wilfully disobeying his undertakings of making payment to the widow who had a minor daughter.
The court took note of the fact that mere imposition of fine would neither serve the purpose of maintaining the court’s dignity nor it would be appropriate in the facts and circumstances of the case.
“Even in these contempt proceedings, this court had to issue NBW several times to ensure the presence of the contemnor as he was evading appearance. Therefore, this court is constrained to impose the maximum sentence as the contemnor has repeatedly breached his own undertakings,” the court said.
It added, “Considering the facts of the instant case and the rule of law laid down in the foregoing decisions, it is deemed appropriate to punish the contemnor with simple imprisonment for a term of six months, commencing from 14.09.2023. Let the contemnor be sent to the concerned prison to undergo his remaining sentence as imposed by this order.”
Justice Kaurav was hearing a suo motu contempt petition registered in terms of an order passed by a coordinate bench on December 20 last year wherein it was observed that despite having the means to pay the amount, the man was trying to deliberately mislead the court and deprive the widow of the amount for last many years.
The deceased was working as a driver of the man and was paid Rs. 15,000 per month. The widow alleged that her husband was not paid the wages from May 01, 2013.
She filed a petition in 2019 claiming implementation of an award passed by the Commissioner of Employee's Compensation, Labour Department in October 2017. Vide the said order, the contemner was directed to deposit Rs. 8,73,880 on account of compensation payable to the widow along with interest with effect from January 31, 2015, till its realization and a further penalty amount of Rs. 4,36,9410.
It was the widow’s case that the award attained finality as the same was not challenged by the contemnor who failed to pay the amount. On October 12 last year, the contemnor appeared in person and undertook that he would make the entire payment along with interest within two months. He was directed to file an affidavit to the effect of his undertaking, however, he failed to do so. Accordingly, a contempt notice was issued to him.
Justice Kaurav observed that the contemnor did not make “even a slightest of endeavour” to obey the undertaking given to the court, “brazenly violated the directions and undertakings” and did not not have any respect for court of law.
“Even at this stage, had the contemnor offered any reasonable amount to the petitioner, this court would have been inclined to defer the factum of awarding punishment. Unfortunately, the contemnor has not even made miniscule of efforts to abide by his own undertakings and pay any reasonable sum to purge the contempt. Therefore, this court is duty bound to ensure that necessary consequences follow,” the court said.
Case Title: COURT ON ITS OWN MOTION v. MR. AMAR SINGH BHALLA
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 844
Click Here To Read Order