The Delhi High Court Tuesday set aside the order of a single judge holding the CEO of Industrial Finance Corporation of India Ltd (IFCI) guilty of contempt of court and slapping a Rs.3.5 lakh fine on him.
Holding that no contempt of court is made out against IFCI CEO-cum-MD Atul Kumar Rai, a division bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Rajiv Shakdher also set aside the order of awarding a month imprisonment to him and two other officials.
A bench of Justice P.K. Bhasin Judge March 19 had held the IFCI officials guilty of contempt of court for defiance and misusing the judicial system, and imposed fine and sentenced Rai, Assistant General Manager (Law) Shalini Soni and Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) recovery officer R.K. Bansal to a month of simple imprisonment each.
The bench had slapped fine of Rs. 5 lakh on the IFCI and directed it to deduct a sum of Rs3.5 lakh from the salary of Rai and Rs 1.5 lakh from that of Soni, so that it would not have to bear the brunt of the fine, but after it has paid the same.
Holding the officials guilty of contempt of court the court had made it clear the path of pardon for the contemnor, which the court has been adopting, would not be followed anymore.
“The litigants have started gathering the impression that the moment an apology is tendered, even while maintaining that no contempt was committed, the court would melt down and pardon them,” Justice Bhasin said.
The court had stressed that no leniency would be shown for contempt, and said the impression that one could get away easily even after not complying with the orders of the court needed to be “washed away” from the public mind.
Justice Bhasin had passed the order after it came to his knowledge that IFCI and its two senior officials had violated the court’s directions to remit the sale proceeds of Koshika Telecom Ltd to the telecom firm’s official liquidator.