The Bombay High Court has fined two contemnors Rs.5 lakh for deliberate and willful breach of its interim orders which restrained them from creating any tenancies with regard to a property that belongs to a trust.
Bahauddin Nawabzada and Jaffar Imam have been directed to deposit the fine amount with Tata Memorial Cancer Research Centre within four weeks of the order dated April 6.
Justice MS Sonak pronounced the judgement in the suo motu contempt petition which was initiated after the contemnors rented out two flats that were a part of the Trust property.
The contemnors were restrained by the City Civil Court from creating any tenancies with regard to the trust property before final disposal of a suit to which both the contemnors were a party. Once the suit was finally dismissed in 2000, one of the defendants Meer Usman Alam Khan filed an appeal before the High Court.
In 2007, HC ordered the interim injunction against both the contemnors restraining them from creating any tenancy in the said property to continue. However, Court was informed that the contemnors had let out two flats that are a part of the said Trust property in breach of orders.
In an order dated July 23, 2009 Court initiated suo-motu contempt action against Bahauddin and Jaffar Imam after recording prima facie satisfaction that court orders had indeed been breached.
Although the Contemnors sought to apologise, bench noted that “the apologies neither appear to be unconditional nor appear to be any genuine expression of remorse.”
Yusuf Iqbal who appeared for the contemnors sought to argue that the contempt action against his clients is barred by limitation since the interim injunction was issued 20 years ago in 1997. This argument was not accepted by the court as contempt was initiated the moment a breach was recorded.
Holding Bahauddin and Jaffar Imam guilty of Contempt of Court, the bench noted that since both the contemnors are at an advanced age and suffer from various health ailments they are not being sentenced to imprisonment however considering their strong financial position a fine of Rs.5 lakh was imposed.
Failing to pay the fine within four weeks, contemnors will suffer imprisonment of two months each.