ONGC chief appears before Madras High Court in contempt case

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Chennai, Jan 27 (PTI) ONGC Chairman and ManagingDirector R S Sharma today appeared before the Madras HighCourt in a contempt case.

The High Court had taken a strong view over his nonappearance on January 21 and had directed Sharma to appearbefore it today. The Court passed the order as Sharma did notheed its earlier directive to appear before it on a matterrelating to regularising 51 contract labours.

The petitioners had sought a direction to ONGC toregularise them and be appointed as marine assistant radiooperators with effect from August 2, 2006.

Following the application, the Court ordered ONGC toregularise them and provide all monetary and other benefits.

As ONGC did not comply with the order, the petitionersmoved a contempt petition.

On January 7, Justice Elipe Dharma Rao had initiatedcontempt proceedings against Sharma, with a directive to himto appear in court on January 21.

However, counsel for Sharma filed a counter affidavitand an application on last Friday, seeking to dispense withhis personal appearance.

In his counter, Sharma said he had to complete urgentwork as he was retiring on Jan 31 this year and was ready toappear on any other date.

Taking strong view on his non-appearance and thecontents in the affidavit, the judge had ordered that Sharmamust appear in person today.

When the matter came up, Sharma appeared and hissenior counsel G Masilamani pointed out that he had tenderedunconditional apology in his earlier affidavit.

After hearing both sides, the judge ordered todispense with his personal appearance and posted the matterfor further hearing on Monday.

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