Atul Dua: Sole-proprietor of Seth Dua AssociatesAtul Dua: Sole-proprietor of Seth Dua Associates

Erstwhile Seth Dua & Associates (SDA) co-founding partner Atul Dua, is in court for the release of the firm’s lawyers’ salaries, after the successors of the late co-founder of the firm, Sunil Seth, entered into a dispute with him over withdrawals from the firm’s bank account.

After the 5 February 2017 demise of Seth, the SDA partnership stood dissolved and SDA was to be recognised as the sole proprietorship of Dua, while the firm’s bank account was to be settled in accordance with this dissolution, according to the high court order.

However, until the final settlement an arrangement to let the firm operate as a going concern was to be made, but according to Dua’s high court petition, the legal representatives of Seth’s family interrupted the firm’s operations by not giving their consent to withdraw sums from the firm’s bank account to meet day-to-day running expenses, such as salaries.

Dua approached the Delhi high court which, on 31 March, ordered that Rs 1.2 core should be transferred from the firm’s current bank account to new fixed deposits created in two branches of the Standard Chartered Bank (SCB). The court also ordered that out of these deposits, the firm’s salary dues would be cleared.

The firm’s salary dues for February and March were Rs 75.55 lakh per each month, according to the high court order. The firm has four offices and 40 lawyers.

The court also appointed senior advocate Dipankar Gupta to mediate between Dua and Seth’s descendants so that they could resolve their disputes by the next hearing, which was fixed for 15 April.

It is understood that the mediation between the parties is nearing completion.

Dua declined to comment at the time of going to press.

He was a friend of Seth for 47 out of the 53 years of his life, and had started up SDA with him 19 years ago.

Delhi HC order in Seth Dua case (PDF)