Court refuses to suspend tax official’s 15-day jail term

New Delhi, Jan 10: The Delhi High Court Friday refused to suspend the 15-day jail term awarded to a senior Indian Revenue Services (IRS) officer for making “lewd” and “scurrilous” statements against female colleagues despite previous warnings from the court.

A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Vibhu Bakhru said IRS officer S.K. Srivastava has shown no remorse or regret with respect to his “contumacious conduct”.

The court in its order said: “We have no doubt that there is no remorse or regret on the part of appellant with respect to his contumacious conduct. The apology tendered by the appellant before the single judge is neither sincere nor an act of penitence or regret and above all not bonafide.”

“In view of the foregoing, we concur with the decision of the single judge and find no reason to interfere with the same. Accordingly, the present appeal is dismisses as devoid of any merit,” the bench said.

A single judge had held Srivastava guilty of contempt and was awarded a 15-day civil jail term, besides a fine of Rs.2,000, on the plea of two women IT officials, who have not been named and referred to as Ms X and Y, that despite judicial orders, he was using derogatory statements against them in his official and other communications.

Srivastava had moved the division bench with his appeal against the single judge order and had offered himself for the medical examination to prove his innocence.

Justice Bakhru, writing the judgement for the bench, said: “We are of the view that this controversy need not detain us any further. The question about the medical fitness of the appellant had arisen on account of the submissions made by the counsel for the appellant, apparently to suggest that the appellant could not be held responsible for his conduct.”

“Since now it is asserted that the appellant is not suffering from any mental disorder, we have heard the present matter and are proceeding on the basis that the appellant is fully responsible for his actions,” the bench added.

“There can be no two opinions that the conduct of the appellant substantially interfered with cause of justice. In our view, the single judge was correct in imposing punishment for the contumacious conduct of the appellant,” the order further added.

The court held the IRS officer guilty of wilfully and consciously violating the orders of the court given on March 1 and Sep 29, 2011, as also the order dated July 31, 2012 in favour of the women IT officers.

Srivastava was awarded 15 days of civil imprisonment by the single judge bench which held him guilty of contempt of court for abusing two women colleagues despite the court’s warning.

IANS