‘Can’t be allowed to trounce law’s majesty’: Delhi HC hands man 6-month jail term for contempt of court
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has sentenced a man to six months simple imprisonment for contempt of court after he repeatedly failed to pay dues to the widow of his deceased driver and violated undertakings given to the court.
Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav found the man guilty of willfully disobeying his undertakings to make payments to the widow and for evading court appearances.
The court stated that imposing a fine would not be sufficient in this case, and it opted for a six-month jail sentence.
“This court is of the opinion that one cannot be allowed to trounce the majesty of law and pollute the streams of justice by brazenly engaging in contumacious conduct with an aim of hoodwinking the judicial system. The edifice of a vibrant constitutional democracy rests on the pillars of rule of law, which needs to be preserved with full vigour to maintain the sanctity of judicial proceedings,” the court said.
The case arose from a complaint by the woman, whose husband worked as a driver for the man and was not paid wages from May 2013.
An award was issued by the Commissioner of Employee’s Compensation in 2017, directing the man to pay compensation and interest, but he failed to comply. After giving an undertaking to the court to make the payment within two months, the man still did not pay, leading to the contempt proceedings.
“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 noted that the man made no effort to obey the undertakings and did not show respect for the court of law. Consequently, it imposed the maximum sentence of six months of simple imprisonment.
“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,” it said.