WEDDING photographer Aman Bal was recently ordered to pay more than $22,000 to Kaman and Ramandeep Rai for not fulfilling his contract more than six years after the Rai’s wedding.
Surrey Provincial Court Judge Valliammai Chettiar said in a ruling that Bal had to deliver the Rais a certified cheque or bank draft in the amount of $22,236 to replace the items Bal failed to deliver under the agreement, for mental distress and punitive damages, and for filing and service fees.
Also, he had to deliver to the Rais all childhood photographs not already delivered to them, including digital copies of such photographs; the hard drive, including all photographs of the wedding events; and the raw images.
The judge wrote: “All of the evidence in this case, including Mr. Bal’s slippery testimony, leads me to the inescapable inference that Mr. Bal’s behaviour is almost a modus operandi for Mr. Bal’s business – a pattern of deceitful behaviour that frustrates innocent people to the extreme that they just give up and walk away with whatever they can get back from Mr. Bal. I have no doubt Mr. Bal was hoping that the Rais would also cave and walk away with whatever he offered them. Obviously, that did not happen.”
Chettiar added: “The court must denounce such behaviour, and deter Mr. Bal from further victimizing others from his unsavoury business practices.”
The judge noted: “The wedding was an once-in-a-lifetime event for the Rais. It was very special not only to the Rais, but also to their parents and extended family. Mr. Bal imposed a condition that he be the exclusive photographer and videographer for the Wedding Events. He also had the Rais’ original, irreplaceable Childhood Photographs. Therefore, the Rais were solely reliant on Mr. Bal to capture the memories of the Wedding Events so that they could share them with their children, parents, other family, and friends for years to come. I find that the Rais were highly vulnerable in the circumstances.”
She wrote: “The various communication between the parties … indicates that Mr. Bal was aware that the Rais were angry, frustrated and stressed out by Mr. Bal’s conduct, and yet Mr. Bal did nothing to alleviate the Rais’ concerns. He continued to mislead them with his lame excuses, and escalated their anger, frustration and stress. I find that Mr. Bal did harm the Rais.”
The judge wrote that in her view, in Bal’s case, the need for denunciation and deterrence, was “a compelling factor,” adding that the Rais were not the only people who has brought legal action against Bal in that court.
Bal admitted to at least five other actions, between 2011 and 2019, in which he was named a defendant. Two of these cases, commenced in 2019, related to Bal’s videography and photography services.
Chettiar wrote: “Mr. Bal proudly testified that the [two cases] were settled, one on the day of the trial and the other before a trial. On the first and second day of this trial, he indicated that he would be willing to settle with the Rais, but the Rais refused.”
For the full ruling: