The Delhi High Court sentenced a lawyer to six months imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 2000/- was imposed after he was found guilty of contempt of Court.

The Bench of Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora observed that “This Court is of the opinion that if the Respondent is not met with the consequences of the wilful default and breach on the orders and undertakings given to this Court, it will embolden him to similarly abuse the process of law in future and victimize fellow citizens on the belief that the sanctity of orders passed by the Court need not be protected and honored. This is a fit case where any leniency shown by the Court will be misunderstood as weakness.”

Advocate Rajan Tyagi appeared for the petitioners and Advocate Chandan Kumar Mandal appeared for the respondent.

In this case, the petitioners were the owners of the property which the lawyer-respondent used to occupy 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 and further delayed leaving the property till December 2021.

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 Court refused to accept the apology and said that “This Court is therefore of the opinion that the Respondent herein has not tendered an unconditional apology and infact, the apology is merely a lip-service and a stratagem to avoid the consequences of the wilful default and non-compliance committed by the Respondent.”

Further, the Court also observed that the respondent-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.

“This is substantiated by the fact that the Respondent, instituted the civil suit as a plaintiff seeking a relief of permanent injunction against the owners from interfering in his peaceful possession. The Respondent herein therefore took resort to legal process to injunct the landlord from interfering in his enjoyment of the subject property and sought to use the process to deny payment of admitted rent of Rs. 1,60,000 per month to the landlord.” said the Court.

Accordingly, the Contempt Petition was allowed, and the Court further directed that the order be sent to the Bar Council of Delhi for taking necessary action against the lawyer.

Cause Title- Parnita Kapoor & Ors. v. Arvind Malik (Neutral Citation No. 2023:DHC:1906)

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