Delhi High Court sentences lawyer to jail

In a stern message to those who flout the law and disrespect court orders, the Delhi High Court has sentenced a lawyer to six months imprisonment for contempt of court. The lawyer, who was found guilty of willful default and breach of his undertakings to the Court, had failed to vacate a rented premise and pay outstanding rent amounting to โ‚น32 lakh.

Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora, who presided over the case, noted that the lawyer had abused the legal process and shown disregard for the Courtโ€™s orders. The single-judge further opined that any leniency shown by the Court would be misunderstood as weakness and could embolden the lawyer to similarly abuse the process of law in the future.

The case was brought before the Court by the owners of a property that the lawyer had been using for commercial purposes by renting it out as paying guest accommodation. Despite multiple court orders and an undertaking on his behalf, the lawyer had failed to pay the outstanding dues and vacate the property as per the agreed timelines.

In his undertaking, the lawyer had committed to paying the entire outstanding amount in three instalments within two months and vacating the property by May 2021. However, he failed to honour his commitments and delayed leaving the property till December 2021.

During the contempt proceedings, the lawyer tendered an unconditional apology and requested the Court to show leniency on the grounds of his young age. However, Justice Arora refused to accept the apology, stating that it was merely a lip-service aimed at avoiding consequences.

The Court also observed that the lawyer had used his knowledge of the law to abuse procedural safeguards and cause prejudice to the petitioner. The lawyer had sought to deny payment of the admitted rent of โ‚น1,60,000 per month to the landlord and injunct the landlord from interfering in his enjoyment of the property.

In addition to the sentence, the Court directed that the order be sent to the Bar Council of Delhi for taking necessary action against the lawyer. The Court further warned that should the lawyer commit contempt of court again, it would be considered aggravated contempt of court.

The case was represented by Advocate Rajan Tyagi for the petitioners, while the respondent appeared in person along with advocate Chandan Kumar Mandal.

The judgment serves as a reminder that the law must be respected, and court orders must be complied with. Willful default and breach of undertakings cannot be condoned, and those who flout the law must be held accountable for their actions. The judgment also highlights the importance of the judiciary in upholding the rule of law and ensuring justice is served.

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