OBSERVING THAT no person is permitted to undermine the law, the Bombay High Court has sentenced two men to civil prison for three months while holding them in contempt of court.
The contempt petition was filed by Sri Sai Krishna Constructions, engaged in civil contracts, against Glove Infracom, involved in infrastructure and civil contracts, and its partners, seeking to hold them in contempt for breach of a HC order. The court on Tuesday sentenced A A Ahmed and Ashok Bhatt, both partners in Glove Infracom.
The petition, filed through IC Legal firm, pertained to disputes on an agreement between Sri Sai Krishna and Glove Infracom over the contract for six-laning of the Chordaha to Gorhar section of National Highway 2 in Jharkhand.
Sri Sai Krishna had paid Rs 75 lakh as deposit and a bank guarantee of Rs 7.99 crore to Glove Infracom in connection to the contract. On December 6, 2018, the HC had passed an order directing that Glove Infracom will not invoke the bank guarantee without 15-days notice and directed it to deposit the Rs 75 lakh in a separate no lien account.
Glove Infracom allegedly breached the order by invoking the bank guarantee on on January 30 and April 30. Following this, Sri Sai Krishna filed a contempt petition.
In his order on Tuesday, Justice G S Kulkarni wrote: “Respondent nos. 2 (Ahmed) and 3 (Bhatt)/contemnors are held guilty for having willfully breached mandate of the orders dated 6th December, 2018 and 14th March, 2019 passed by this Court and are accordingly sentenced to be detained in Civil prison for a period of three months from today. The respondent nos. 2 and 3 are accordingly directed to be forthwith taken into custody.”
“It was clear from the various orders, which were passed from time to time that not only the approach of the contemnors towards the orders of the court was extremely casual but in fact, they were attempting to mislead this court and abuse the process of law,” the order added.
During the hearing, advocate Ankit Lohia, appearing for the petitioner, pointed out that Glove Infracom had breached the court order by invoking the bank guarantee twice, it had also not deposited Rs 75 lakh in a no-lien account as directed by the court.
In an affidavit filed earlier this month, Ahmed had told the court that he had deposited Rs 75 lakh in a fixed deposit and wanted to transfer the amount in no lien account but the bank had refused to do so. The court, however, had described it as a “false statement”.