SC awards builder 7 days’ jail and fine for contempt of court

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By Fiona Mehta

 

In the matter of Urban Infrastructure Real Estate Fund v. Dharmesh S. Jain and another, the Supreme Court sentenced Respondent 1- real estate developer Dharmesh Jain to 7 days imprisonment at civil prison in Byculla on May 14, 2022 under the Contempt of Courts Act with a fine of Rs. 5 lakh to be deposed before the Bombay High Court in 2 weeks.

Vide detailed judgment and order dated March 10, 2022 passed in the aforesaid Contempt Petition, this Court held that Dharmesh Jain, for the contempt of this Court for wilful disobedience of the order dated October 28, 2021 passed by this Court in Miscellaneous Application No. 1668 of 2021 in Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 14724/2021, as also, for wilful disobedience of the order passed by the High Court dated 08.08.2019 in Notice of Motion No. 960 of 2019 in Commercial Arbitration Petition No. 55 of 2019.

Two months prior, the SC had found him guilty of wilful disobedience of his October 2021 ruling as well as an August 8, 2021 Bombay High Court order. Following an arbitral award of Rs. 78 crore against him and Nirmal Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd, of which he is a director, in a commercial dispute with Urban Infrastructure Real Estate Fund over a share purchase agreement, the HC ordered him to deposit a certain amount.

The HC stated that they provided the respondents/contemnors with sufficient opportunities to either comply with the orders of this Court and the High Court, for which wilful disobedience has been established and they are liable to be punished suitably under the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act, or to settle the dispute amicably with the petitioner herein, but neither the respondents/contemnors have complied with the orders passed by this Court and the High Court.

However, so as to give one last opportunity to the contemnor to purge the contempt and comply with the orders passed by the Bombay High Court as well as this Court, it is observed that the aforesaid sentence shall be kept in abeyance for a period of two weeks from today, failing which, the aforesaid sentence shall take effect and on non-compliance, the respondent No.1 herein – Dharmesh Jain will then surrender before the concerned Court/Authority to undergo the sentence imposed by this Court.

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