Chennai court sentences actor Jayaprada to six months in jail over failure to pay ESI dues

Chennai court sentences actor Jayaprada to six months in jail over failure to pay ESI dues

A Chennai court has sentenced actor and former Member of Parliament (MP) Jayaprada to six-months simple imprisonment for failing to comply with the statutory mandate to pay contributions due to the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) with respect to employees working in a cinema theatre owned by her.

The order was passed by a Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Chennai which took cognisance of a complaint by the ESIC.

As per the ESIC, while the management of the now defunct cinema theatre owned by Jayaprada had been deducting ESI amount dues from the workers’ dues, it had not been paying the money to the state insurance corporation.

Jayaprada and her brothers Ramkumar and Raj Babu were partners of Jayaprada Cinema, which went defunct around 10 years ago.

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Under Section 40 of the ESI Act, the principal employer is required to pay towards the employer’s share of contribution, and the employees’ share of contribution. The principal employer is entitled to recover from the employees, their share of contribution from their wages.

The Court rejected their plea for leniency saying that the Employees State Insurance Act is “a piece of social welfare legislation” enacted primarily for the benefit of employees.

Thus, any breach of its provisions was a ” deplorable offence,” and a “socio-economic offence,” and the offender needed to be punished.

“The nature of crime is socio – economic offence. Therefore, the offence committed is heinous and deplorable. I would, therefore, uphold and maintain conviction of the Accused under Section 85 (1) (b) of Employees State Insurance Act. Hence, the Pleas of Accused are dismissed. In view of the aforesaid discussion and on balancing aggravating and mitigating circumstances, in my opinion, the present case does not fall under the category of to show leniency case i.e. there is no alternative but to impose sentence. It is a fit case, where the Accused should be directed to suffer sentence Since the gravity of offence is serious, no leniency could be considered,” the Metropolitan Magistrate C Sundarapandian said.

The Court also directed Jayaprada and her two brothers to pay a fine of rs. 5,000 each.

Source: barandbench

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