New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected advocate R K Anand`s plea to quash his conviction on contempt of court charges for influencing a witness in the 1999 BMW hit-and-run case but accepted his unconditional apology and offer to provide free legal aid to the poor.
Anand`s unconditional apology and his offer to provide free legal aid to the poor for a year and to donate Rs 21 lakh for improving the legal education infrastructure was accepted by a three-judge bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi.
The court earlier had asked Anand, a Rajya Sabha member, to either provide free legal aid to poor litigants or face punishment, which can be up to six months of jail term.
"No purpose will be served by sending him to jail," the bench said in its judgement.
The apex court`s verdict came on Anand`s plea challenging a Delhi High Court order holding him guilty of committing contempt of court by trying to influence a witness in the 1999 hit-and-run case.
The apex court had earlier stripped him of the senior advocate designation for committing the contempt of court by attempting to influence the course of justice as a defence counsel in the hit-and-run case.
The hit-and-run case involved late Navy chief S M Nanda`s grand-son Sanjeev Nanda, who had mowed down six persons under the wheels of his rashly-driven BMW on January 10, 1999.
The Delhi High Court had held Anand, also a former Rajya Sabha member, guilty along with another senior advocate I U Khan for obstructing the course of administration of justice and, as a punishment, had debarred them from appearing in courts for four months.
The apex court, however, had set aside Khan`s conviction on the contempt of court charges.
In an affidavit filed recently, Anand had pleaded that the apex court accept his unconditional apology and discharge him of the contempt charges and the punishment awarded to him be remitted.