By Dr Nizar Kochery/Doha
Question: I have a case against me in the civil court and there is a witness. The said witness can turn the decision but the witness is seriously ill and in hospital. Is there a mechanism in the law to examine the witness in the hospital?
Answer: According to Article 282 of the Civil and Commercial Procedure law, hearing of witnesses shall take place before the court in the presence of the litigants. If the witness has an excuse which prevents him from appearing and the court accepts this excuse, the court may travel to where he is to hear his evidence. However, if the court is constituted of more than one judge, it may depute one of its judges for this purpose. The litigants shall be invited to be present when this testimony is given. The court Registry shall make a minute of this testimony which shall be signed by the judge and the Registry.
Company refusing to pay gratuity
Q: I am working here for 13 years now. My sponsor told that the company is closing as it is making a loss. When I asked for my gratuity, the management responded saying that the gratuity is given only in big or government companies, not in small companies. In such a situation, do I have the right to claim my gratuity? If so, how can I get it if the sponsor refuses to pay? Kindly advise.
A: End-of-service benefit is a lump sum amount that an employer is lawfully required to pay an employee upon the termination of employment, subject to the employee satisfying certain conditions on minimum service and reasons of termination. According to Article 54 of the Labour Law No 14 of 2004, the employer shall pay gratuity to those employees with one or more years of continuous service and unless otherwise a higher rate is agreed between the employer and employee, gratuity shall be calculated at three weeks’ basic salary per year of service. The end-of-service benefit shall be calculated based on the basic wage on the date of entitlement.
Prior to effectiveness of the prevailing Law No 14 of 2004, gratuity was not available for expatriate employees unless otherwise agreed. Those who were in service prior to 2005 have the right for gratuity as per the agreement between the employer and employee and will be entitled for gratuity calculated as per the slab provided under Articles 24 & 25 of Law No 3 of 1962.
If the employer disputes on the claim, the employee can approach the Labour Department. The power of the Labour Department is conciliatory and on non-agreement of the parties, the department will refer the matter to court. Then, the employee has to file a case before the appropriate civil court.
Termination of contract
Q: The main contractor has terminated our contract without any valid reason and has mobilised its own employees for the continuation of work. We have not agreed for such a replacement and we have incurred loss due to this. Please explain what is the legal validity of the same? Is it legally possible to do this? Who has to bear the loss arising out of this? Please advise.
A: The employer has the right of termination at will but compensation is payable to the contractor. Article 707 of the Civil Code provides for an employer’s entitlement to terminate a contract for convenience at any time, provided that the terminating party compensates the counterparty for expenses, works performed and loss of profit assessed on the basis that the contract was performed to completion.
An act punishable
Q: If a person prevents a public officer from exercising his duty, what will be the effect of such an act? As per Qatar law, is there a provision regarding this?
A: As per Article 168 of the Penal Law, any person who uses force, violence or menace to prevent a public officer from exercising the duties of his office shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years and if the perpetrator successfully achieves his purpose, the penalty shall be imprisonment for a term of no less than five years and not exceeding 10 years.
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