Pay fine if failed to appear in court

NEW DELHI: Seeking repeated adjournments and not appearing before the court to follow up his own complaint has landed an NRI in trouble. Irked by the conduct of a Canada-based NRI, who had filed a civil suit in the capital two years ago, a trial court has slapped a fine of Rs 1.5 lakh on him while dismissing his case for non-appearance.

“A person who has no respect for law and has abused the repeated accommodation given by this court deserves no further indulgence. The plaintiff does not appear to be taking the directions of Indian courts rather seriously and perhaps entertains an impression that come what may, he can get away, which impression requires to be dispelled,” additional district judge Kamini Lau said.

ADJ Lau asked the chief metropolitan magistrate to look into the matter for registration of a criminal case against the litigant for committing the offences of perjury, cheating and forgery.

The court’s directions came after litigant Gurbax Singh failed to appear before the court despite repeated notices. The matter had even reached the Delhi High Court, which also slapped fine on Singh but he did not pay the amount. Singh, who flew to Canada soon after filing the suit in December 2008, has sought the declaration of his legal rights over a disputed property in Greater Kailash-I and a restraint order against the persons currently in possession of it.

While the court was constantly kept informed to the compromise reached between the parties and a change of Singh’s lawyer in the course of the case, ADJ Lau had sought the litigant’s presence to clarify the situation for proper adjudication of the case.

Singh failed to fly to India even as his former counsel told the judge that the petitioner had handed over forged property documents. Countering these allegations, Singh’s newly-appointed counsel requested the court to adjourn the matter on medical grounds. The court took strong exception to the fact that Singh was evading appearance even though he had filed the suit.

“For the last more than 10 months sufficient indulgence has been given to the plaintiff… He has misused and abused the platform of this court firstly to secure favourable orders at the initial stage and later by not placing on record the original documents and evading appearance before this court due to which reasons all interim orders were revoked,” the judge said.

Stating that the conduct of Singh has been “deliberate” , the court directed the ministry of external affairs to recover the amount within 60 days. It also asked the ministry to take “coercive steps” like “confiscation of his travel documents, property in Canada or issuance of a look-out circular” through the Canadian government.

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