At, Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission New Delhi
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE A.P. CHOWDHRI
By, PRESIDENT; THE HONOURABLE MS. JUSTICE S. BRAR MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE DESH BANDHU
For the Appellants: A.K. Verma, Abhijat, P.K. Aggarwal, K.D. Sharma, M.R. Gupta & N.K. Gupta, Advocates. For the Respondents: R. Patnaik, Advocate.
A.P. Chowdhry, President:
1. This order is being passed in the above mentioned seven cases as common questions arise for consideration.
2. The State Commission passed orders for the recovery of specified amounts against the respondents. No appeal having been filed, the said order became final. The amounts having not been paid, the complainants moved applications u/Section 27 of the C.P. Act. In matters at S1. Nos. 1,2,4,5,6 & 7 the parties came to terms. Under the settlement, the amount to be paid was settled. The payment was to be made by monthly instalments. In pursuance of the settlement various amounts were paid from time to time where after default was committed by the respondents. The applicants urge that the respondents have failed to pay the entire amount in terms of the order of the State Commission/settlement arrived at with the applicants and, therefore, the respondents be convicted and awarded suitable punishment in terms of Section 27. Mr. R. Patnaik, learned Counsel for the respondents, states that by order dated 8.2.95 their Lordships of the Supreme Court inter alia passed the following order in DDA v. Skipper Construction & Anr. IA Nos. 3 and 14 of 1994 in SLP (Civil) No. 21000 of 1993 and suo-motu Contempt Petition No. 256 of 1994.
'All the properties and the Bank accounts standing in the names of the contemners and the Directors of M/s. Skipper Construction Co. (Pvt.) Ltd. and their wives, sons and unmarried daughters will stand attached.'
3. Mr. Patnaik submitted that in fact Tejwant Singh and his wife, Smt. Surinder Kaur, are the Managing Director and Director respectively not only of Skipper Construction but also of Skipper Builders (P) Ltd. and Anand Construction which are respondents in the above named applications. Their Bank accounts having been attached, they are unable to make the payments. To the question as to where from payments of sizeable amounts had been made in pursuance of settlements arrived at with different applicants, Mr. Patnaik submitted that it was through private borrowings that the aforesaid payments had been made and now that source had also dried up. He further submitted that a prayer had been made before the Supreme Court to modify the aforesaid order to enable the respondents to make balance payment in terms of the settlement. Arguments, had been heard by their Lordships of the Supreme Court and the order had been reserved and order was likely to be announced before closing of the Supreme Court for summer vacations. He, therefore, prayed that order of the Supreme Court may be awaited to enable the respondents to make balance payments in terms of the settlement. This prayer has been vehemently opposed by the applicants. The grounds of opposition are :
(i) That the order of the Supreme Court referred to by Mr. Patnaik is dated 8.2.95. The settlements were arrived at much later in or about June 1995. Payment of substantial amounts had been made from time to time, thereafter, in most of the cases;
(ii) Whereas the order of the Supreme Court was passed in case against Skipper Construction the respondents in the present applications are other companies and in terms the order does not apply to the assets of those other companies;
(iii) In a bunch of other matters in which the question was of proceedings by the District Forum u/Section 27 for recovering the amount on the basis of orders issued by it from time to time, the National Commission, by its order dated 2.2.96 in Revision Petition No. 1016 of 1995 had observed that the District Forum was free to take further appropriate action u/Section 27 un-influenced by the proceedings including undertaking etc. given in the course of the revision before the National Commission;
(iv) That the Supreme Court itself had not, by an interim order, stayed further punitive action against the respondents in the aforesaid miscellaneous application in which order had been reserved.
4. After careful consideration we, are of the view that no case has been made out for continuing the stay. The various orders which are being enforced have acquired finality. The Supreme Court passed the attachment order as far back as 8th Feb., 1995 and admittedly the respondents entered into settlement with various applicants to make the payment by agreed instalments quite sometime after the order of the Supreme Court. It is safe to presume that the respondents must be possessed of resources to fulfil the undertaking on the basis of which the various settlements were reached. This inference is fortified by the fact that substantial amounts have been paid in most of the cases in accordance with the compromise. We may further point out that the National Commission, after hearing the parties, vacated the stay order on 2.2.96 in Revision Petition No. 1016/95 and observed that the District Forum would proceed further with the proceedings pending u/Section 27 before it unhampered by the interim order granted apparently on the basis of some undertaking given before the National Commission in the course of the revision petition. Before the Supreme Court either no prayer for an ad-interim stay of proceedings u/Section 27 was made or if the same was made, it was not agreed to by the Apex Court. It is not disputed that their Lordships of the Supreme Court did not grant any interim stay of the proceedings u/Section 27 pending either before the District Forum or before th
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is Commission. 5. For these reasons we find no case for the grant of any stay. We direct Mr. Tejwant Singh to appear in person and show cause why he should not be punished u/Section 27 for non-compliance of the various orders passed by the State Commission. If he fails to appear on 3rd June, 1996, the date next fixed in the proceedings u/ Section 27 pending before this Commission, it will be presumed that he has nothing further to say in the matter and the Commission would proceed further in accordance with law. A copy of this order be communicated to the parties. Ordered accordingly.