By Dr Nizar Kochery/Doha
Question: I issued a cheque a few years ago as a guarantee for some payment to a friend. Later the friend left Qatar and I am not sure about the repayment. The cheque was not returned. Now I received a message that the cheque was presented and dishonoured. What are its consequences?
Answer: The signatory of the cheque shall be punished under the provisions of penal laws in case of dishonour of cheques; the court shall not consider the circumstances or underlying transaction as defence. As per Article 357 of the penal laws, whoever draws in bad faith a cheque without sufficient funds or who, after giving the cheque withdraws all or part of the funds, so that the remaining balance is insufficient to cover the amount of the cheque, or gives an order to the drawee to stop payment, or deliberately writes or signs the cheque in such a manner as to make it unpayable shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than three months and not exceeding three years or with a fine of not less than QR3,000 and not exceeding QR10,000 or with both penalties. The criminal case pertaining to a dishonoured cheque shall be terminated either by payment of the value of the cheque or by withdrawal of the complaint following the occurrence of the crime and prior to the issuance of a final court judgment.
Landlord unwilling to terminate contract
Q: We have started a business in Doha and we have rented a building for business purposes. The lease contract was made for five years and it is valid until 2020. Now we have received a notice from the concerned department stating that we cannot continue our operations in the same building. We contacted our landlord and he is not willing to terminate the contract and return our cheques. Can we terminate the contract legally through courts? We have only three months’ time to vacate the premises. Please advise.
A: If the landlord is not agreeing for the termination, the tenant can approach the rental dispute court for termination of the contract. As per Article 591 of the Civil Laws, if the leased property is delivered to the lessee in such a condition that it is unfit for the use for which it is leased, or if its usefulness is appreciably diminished, the lessee may demand either the cancellation of the lease agreement or a reduction of the rent equivalent to the loss of use; in both cases lessee is entitled to claim compensation, if compensation is due without prejudice to his right to oblige the lessor to carry out the necessary repairs to enable him to get the intended benefit.
Failure to attend court hearing
Q: An expert from the court has directed to report with regard to a dispute relating to a project. Due to some personal inconveniences, I cannot attend the hearing on suggested dates. What will be the action taken for not attending the hearings? What will be effect of such failures? Please advise.
A: According to Article 346 of Civil and Commercial Procedural Law, the expert shall hear the litigant’s statements, receive documents and remarks. If any of them fail to appear before him, or fail to present his instruments, or else fail to implement any one of the expert proceedings on the specified terms, so that it becomes impossible for the expert to assume his duty or conduce to retardation in assuming thereof, he may move for the court to pronounce a ruling punishing the litigant. The court may rule a fine or suspension of the action for a period not exceeding six months under Article 67 of procedural Law. According to Article 67, the court shall order any of its employees or the parties that fail to file the documents or to take any of the litigation proceedings within the time limit specified by the court to pay a fine of not more than QR500 pursuant to an order noted in the minutes of the hearing. The court order that imposes a fine shall have the force of executive decree and shall not be subject to appeal.
Medical benefits for work injuries
Q: Our contract does not mention anything clearly on the medical benefits available to an employee regarding work injuries. What are the medical benefits available for an employee according to the Labour Law? In what circumstances, the employer can refuse to pay the medical benefits to the employee? Please advise.
A: As per Article 109 of the Labour Law, the worker who sustains a work injury shall be entitled to receive medical treatment appropriate to his condition at the cost of the employer in accordance with the decision of the competent medical authority. The worker shall receive full wage during the treatment period or the period of six months whichever is nearer. If the treatment continues for a period exceeding six months, the worker shall be paid half of his wage until his recovery or proof of his permanent disability or death whichever is nearer. If it is evident that the employee deliberately inflicts injury on himself in order to receive such compensation or medical leave, he or she shall not be eligible for the medical benefits as per the Labour Law.
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