The Bombay High Court has imposed a cost of Rs 5 lakh on a restaurant owner for filing the “most unfortunate, misconceived and mala fide application” against his lawyers, in a dispute with his siblings over the hotel’s ownership.
A bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor noted that Jabir Gulam Rassol Sheru’s conduct had “been to subvert and pollute the course of justice”.
The dispute was over the ownership of Radio Restaurant near Musafirkhana in South Mumbai. Three siblings who are partners of the restaurant had a tiff and allegedly threw out Sheru. A suit was filed and the same was referred to an arbitrator. Sheru, however, lost the arbitration proceedings and hence he approached the high court against the order.
Sheru was represented by advocate Subhash Jha before the HC. The court ruled against Sheru and directed him to hand over the restaurant to the other partners. His appeal before the Supreme Court too was rejected.
He then approached the HC seeking extension of time for handing over the restaurant’s possession. His advocate Hare Krishna Mishra, Jha’s junior advocate, sought time saying there was a marriage in the family. The HC granted 20 days to him for the same.
However, just before the extended time was over, Sheru approached the court through another lawyer, RK Sharma, and submitted that it was him who was his lawyer and not Mishra.
Sheru claimed that the assurance of handing over of property and extra time sought, was not on his instructions and thus the order should be recalled.
Jha and Mishra appeared before the court and submitted that they had sought time and filed an affidavit saying the same, on Sheru’s instructions. They also said that there was CCTV footage of their office where Sheru had come to give them instructions.
The bench then reprimanded Sheru and imposed Rs5 lakh fine, which is to be paid to the PM Cares fund within eight weeks.