Forum holds him guilty of failing to implement its order in a case filed in 2005

The Dakshina Kannada District Consumer Disputers Redressal Forum has sentenced the proprietor of a finance firm to undergo imprisonment for two years and ordered him to pay a fine of Rs.10,000.

The forum held Arun Kumar, proprietor of Diar Finance, Flower Market Road, guilty of failing to implement its order in a case filed by Mary Roache of Katipalla in 2005. The forum had asked him to pay Rs.1.5 lakh with interest at the rate of 22 per cent per annum from November 4, 1996, along with a compensation of Rs.5,500.

The order delivered by forum member Lavanya M. Rai said that Section 27(1) of the Consumer Protection Act stated that “Where a trader fails or omits to comply with any order made by the district forum, the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, such trader or person shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one month, but which may extend to three years, or with a fine which shall not be less than Rs.2,000 but may extend to Rs.10,000, or with both.”

The accused stated that he closed his firm 10 years ago and that he had no means of income. But he admitted that he was residing in Kodical in his own house on 11cents of land. The plinth of the house was 2,000 sq. ft. and the value of his property was Rs. 40 lakh.

Further, the accused also admitted that he was now working as a commission agent and earning a monthly income of Rs.6,000 and his wife was also earning a monthly income of Rs. 4,000.

“In spite of having sufficient means, the accused has not complied with the order for the past 10 years and has not made a part payment also,” the order said.

“It is pertinent to note that even during the pendency of the complaint, the accused has not bothered or attempted to comply with the order,” it said. "It is proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused has intentionally not complied with the order.” It had imposed a fine so as to meet the ends of justice in a better way.

“Sometimes the situation becomes such that no purpose will be served by keeping a person in jail instead of directing the accused to pay the compensation,” the order said.

It said on recovery, the entire fine amount of Rs.10,000 should be paid as compensation to the complainant. Failing which, the accused had to undergo simple imprisonment for one month. Both sentences shall run consecutively, the forum said.