High Court fines pan masala firm for contempt
Taking umbrage over an advertisement in a national daily, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday imposed Rs one lakh as fine on DS Group, a leading pan masala and tobacco product manufacturing company, for issuing it. The advertisement read: "a legal head required for a company, Profile required: Must be LLB, LLM or a retired judge with contacts in judiciary" and was published on an English language national daily in September 2007.
Appearing on behalf of the company, the counsel tendered an apology in the court over the allegedly contemptuous advertisement following a complaint by the petitioner, Sunita Tiwari. The court accepted the apology; however, it directed DS Group to pay the amount in four weeks.
A bench comprising Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Manmohan said the money would go to Bachpan Bachao Andolan, an NGO working for child labourers, as desired by the petitioner.
The advertisement had been noticed by her and she found it contemptuous, malicious and misleading against the judiciary. The advertisement had also been displayed on a leading portal offering various jobs. Tiwari also has pointed out that the attitude and conduct of the respondents (company, websites, newspaper) gave an impression that they were confident and believed that having contacts in the judiciary would fetch them favourable orders or relief. "The respondent did not care to be careful and cautious in placing such scandalous material on the web," she said.