India Awake for Transparency, the foundation represented by the duo, was fined Rs 10 lakh by another bench of HC over the same issue earlier.

Azim Premji speaking at WEFFile image/ IMAGE SOURCE: WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM VIA FLICKR
news Law Sunday, January 16, 2022 - 13:13

The Karnataka High Court has convicted two representatives of Chennai-based entity India Awake for Transparency for contempt of court for filing frivolous cases against Wipro Group of companies founder and chairman Azim Premji between April 2016 and December 2020. The two people, identified as R Subramanian, who also appeared as an advocate in person, and P Sadanand, were convicted for contempt of court, punishable under the provisions of Section 12(1) of the Contempt of Courts Act. 

The HC sentenced them to undergo simple imprisonment for two months with a fine of Rs 2,000 each, failing which they would have to undergo simple imprisonment for a further period of one month. The two convicts have also been restrained from initiating any legal proceedings against the complainants and their group of companies before any court, tribunal, authority or forum by the High Court order passed by a bench of Justices B Veerappa and KS Hemaleka. 

Earlier, in February 2021, another bench of the Karnataka High Court had punished India Awake for Transparency with a fine of Rs 10 lakh for filing multiple frivolous complaints against Azim Premji and other Wipro senior management officials. 

The order on January 14, 2022 asked the Registrar (Judicial) to prepare a warrant of commitment and detention in respect of the two advocates as contemplated under Rule 16(1) of the High Court of Karnataka (Contempt of Court Proceedings) Rules, 1981 and take further action against the Accused Nos. 2 and 3 to undergo punishment imposed. 

The conviction came after the two people reportedly did not drop the proceedings.  The HC order said, “You, in spite of dismissal of all writ petitions on the same cause of action and despite of warning and prohibition by the orders of the court, filed several cases and continued the proceedings and your conduct is nothing but a daring ride on the court and you have made a mockery of the judicial process by filing one or the other frivolous legal proceedings, not only affecting the interest of public at large, but also interfering with the administration of justice by misusing the forum of various courts, wasting judicial time and abusing the process of law.”

 Further the order noted that in all these cases, R Subramanian appeared as an advocate and India Awake for Transparency was nothing but a  shell company. “All these indisputable facts on record make it abundantly clear that accused No.2-R.Subramanian is the Alter Ego of 'India Awake for Transparency', that 'India Awake for Transparency' is only a corporate facade used by accused No.2 and that all the legal proceedings filed in the name of 'India Awake for Transparency' are at his behest and instance and are financed and controlled by him, as he is the 'directing mind' of 'India Awake for Transparency’ (sic),” the HC order noted.

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