Considering the settlement between parties, the Delhi High Court has ordered the release of the lawyer who was sentenced to six months of imprisonment for failing to pay rent charges amounting to Rs 32 lakhs.

“…keeping in view the settlement arrived at between the parties, we hereby, while upholding the Conviction Order/Judgment dated 16.03.2023, modify the said sentence to the extent the period already undergone by the appellant.”, the bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna held.

Advocate Sandeep Sharma appeared for the appellant whereas Advocate Desh Deepak appeared for Respondents.

In this case, the lawyer had occupied a property on rent and used it for commercial purposes by renting it out as paying guest accommodation. The lawyer was ordered to make payment of the use and occupation charges of the said property which amounted to Rs. 32 lakhs.

The lawyer gave an undertaking wherein he stated that he would pay the entire outstanding amount in three instalments within two months and would also vacate the property by May 2021. However, he failed to pay the amount.

Contempt proceedings were initiated, where the lawyer tendered an unconditional apology and asked the Court to take a lenient view regarding punishment on the ground of his young age.

The Single bench of High Court refused to accept the apology and said that the lawyer being law graduate used his knowledge of the law to abuse procedural safeguards by causing prejudice to the Petitioner in denying him the possession of the subject property as well as the use and occupation charges.

The Single Bench sentenced the lawyer to six months imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 2000 was imposed as well.

The lawyer filed a plea before the High Court stating that a settlement has been arrived at between the parties and as per the said settlement, a sum of Rs. 23,00,000 has been paid.

Thus the Court while upholding the Conviction modified the sentence to the extent the period already undergone by the lawyer.

Cause Title- Arvind Malik v. Pranita Kapoor And Ors. (Neutral Citation Number: 2023:DHC:2022-DB)

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