15 March 2022 7:34 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended for three years the sentence imposed by the Karnataka High Court for contempt of court on Advocate R Subramanian and P Sadanand for filing multiple petitions on the same cause of action through the private company "India Awake For Transparency" against the against former Wipro Chairman Azim Premji and his associates.Advocate R Subramanian through...
The Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended for three years the sentence imposed by the Karnataka High Court for contempt of court on Advocate R Subramanian and P Sadanand for filing multiple petitions on the same cause of action through the private company "India Awake For Transparency" against the against former Wipro Chairman Azim Premji and his associates.
Advocate R Subramanian through his companies had filed more than 70 "misconceived" cases against Mr.Premji and his associates.
The bench of Justices SK Kaul and MM Sundresh although upheld the Karnataka High Court's order of conviction but suspended the sentence during which their conduct could be monitored.
The bench in its order noted R Subramanian's submission of filing an unconditional apology to Karnataka High Court in respect of the charges imposed by the High Court under Contempt of Court Act within 2 weeks.
Accordingly, the bench in its order said,
"We do not have the slightest doubt on the merits of the judgment which is correct in fact and law. However the petitioner has successfully endeavored to persuade us that he intends to follow a different path which we had observed in our order dated March 10, 2022. In terms of the said order, we had observed that we are inclined to look into the issue of sentence.
Settlement terms as proposed by the respondents in para 5 extracted in that order and suggested suspension of sentence for 3 years during which his conduct could be monitored provided he tendered an unconditional apology to Karnataka High Court in respect of the charges of the said case.
Petitioner states that he will file an unconditional apology before the High Court within 2 weeks. We thus direct as under:
We are conscious that the order of conviction has been upheld but since we have suspended sentence of good behavior, convention will not come in the way to carry out his professional practice as a lawyer in which he is engaged.
Our order will equally apply to the other contemnor and he is bound by the same terms. List in the miscellaneous week prior to winter recess in 2023. "
The bench also directed R Subarmanian to furnish to the Appellants an annual statement of his gross assets and networth on or before April 15, 2022 and similarly for 2023, 2024 and 2025.
A division bench of Justice B. Veerappa and Justice K S Hemalekha while convicting the representatives of NGO in their order had said,
"The charges leveled against accused number 2, and 3 are proved and they have committed criminal contempt under section 2 (3) of the Contempt of Courts Act. As regards the second point we hold it in negative, holding that the accused have not made out any case to drop criminal contempt proceedings and discharge them in the facts of the above case."
The High Court had sentenced the two accused under section 12 of the Act to suffer simple imprisonment of two months along with a fine of Rs 2,000 each and in default to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of one month. Further, the court had restrained the accused from initiating any legal proceedings against complainants and their group of companies, before any court, or any authority of law.
It may be noted that the Top Court on March 10, 2022 while lauding the "constructive view" taken by ex-Wipro Chairman Azim Premji in forgiving Subramanian had agreed to suspend the sentence imposed by the High Court.
"We are happy to note that Mr. Azim Hasham Premji has taken a constructive view of the matter and agreed to forgive the past conduct of Mr. Subramanian, more so, in view of the financial issues he has faced and to take also a compassionate view of the amounts due from him to the group companies of Mr. Premji," the bench had said in its order dated March 10, 2022.
Suspending the sentence, the bench had directed for listing the proceedings with regards to waiver of cost imposed by Court orders on India Awake and Wholesale Trading Services Private Limited in the last working week of December 2023.
"Final call will be taken on this matter in the last working week of December 2023 and the aspect of cost will also be dealt with in the same proceedings," bench said in its order.
Case Title: R Subramanian v. M/S Hasham Investment & Trading Company Pvt Ltd and Ors| Diary No 4286/2022 and P Sadanand v M/S Hasham Investment & Trading Company Pvt Ltd and Ors| Diary No 4289/2022
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