The Delhi High Court on Thursday sentenced a man to simple imprisonment for a period of three months including imposition of a fine of Rs. 2000 for wilful disobedience of repeated Court directions in a matrimonial dispute requiring him to pay maintenance to his wife.
Observing that the actions or omissions of the husband in choosing to show complete disregard to the orders of the Court cannot be countenanced, Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh said that if such action is permitted, it will lead to anarchy and the Rule of Law would become a casualty and that the orders of the Courts would be taken lightly and breached at the own sweet will of the individual concerned.
The Court took note of the fact that the man had suppressed his true income only with a view to evade compliance of the orders passed by the Family Court and as well as the High Court requiring him to pay maintenance to his wife. The Court was of the view that the man had chosen to be adamant and obstinate.
"We have considered the aspect that mere imposition of a fine of Rs.2,000/- would not meet the ends of justice, and that a sentence of imprisonment is necessary considering the fact that the arrears owed by him are far in excess of the fine imposed, and the fact that he has deliberately, wilfully, intentionally and defiantly disobeyed the directions issued to him by the Family Court and by this Court despite grant of opportunities," the Court directed.
It however said the Court shall consider recalling the punishment provided that the man complies with the aforesaid direction within a period of two weeks and exhibits his apology by complying with the orders.
"However, in case, he does not comply with this direction in the next two weeks, he is directed to surrender before the Jail Superintendent, Central Jail, Tihar, New Delhi, on 09.12.2021," the Court added.
The Court was dealing with a contempt petition filed by the wife under sec. 10, 11 and 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, alleging contempt of order passed by the Family Court as well as an order passed by the High Court.
The Family Court had directed that the wife be granted a monthly maintenance of Rs.35,000 and that the husband may clear arrears of maintenance by way of instalments within six months. The High Court had then directed the husband to comply with the interim maintenance order passed by the Family Court.
"The situation is that the respondent has stubbornly and obstinately refused to comply with the said orders on completely false premise of his financial inability. Despite our repeated orders, he has failed to make a clean breast of all his accounts, incomes and expenditures," the Court said.
"The Respondent has not shown any regard towards the majesty of the court by obeying its orders. He has shown no remorse or regret for non-compliance of the aforesaid orders. If there is wilful disobedience to any judgment, decree direction, order writ or other process of a court, or wilful breach of undertaking given to the court, the contempt court shall take note of such violation, that needs to be punished. The wilful disobedience by the contemnor undermines the dignity and authority of the Courts and outrages the majesty of law."
"It is the dignity and majesty of the court which needs to be preserved. The judiciary as an institution has garnered faith of the common masses as a trusted institution only because judicial orders are enforced, in an appropriate case, even at the pain of contempt. The faith posed by the people in the judiciary has to be protected in the interest of society, and also to meet the ends of justice."
Case Title: SONALI BHATIA v. ABHIVANSH NARANG