Violating a Supreme Court order asking him to pay Rs one lakh interim alimony to his estranged wife has proved costly for a man, with the Delhi High Court sending him to jail for two months.
The high court held the man guilty of contempt of court while considering his “contumacious conduct” and said his conviction was needed to “uphold the majesty of law”, dignity of courts and sanctity of judicial proceedings.
Justice Manmohan also rejected the man’s plea that he was unable to pay the monthly maintenance, saying the photographs placed on record indicate that he was maintaining a lavish lifestyle.
“From the facts, it is apparent that the husband has committed a wilful and deliberate breach of the order of the apex court dated April 19, 2016.
“In the opinion of this court, the conduct of the husband interferes with the due course of justice and he is guilty of contempt of court. In fact, it is necessary to do so to uphold the majesty of law and dignity of courts as well as sanctity of court proceedings,” the court said.
“Keeping in view the contumacious conduct of the husband, this court sentences the respondent, who is present in court, to two months simple imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 2,000,” the court said while directing that he be taken into custody forthwith to serve the jail term.
The high court’s order came as it disposed of the woman’s contempt plea in which she had alleged that till date, the man has to pay her an outstanding amount of Rs 67 lakh as per the directions of the apex court.
Her counsel said the man has wilfully disobeyed the apex court’s order and his conduct was contumacious as he referred to certain photographs of the husband to show that he has been leading a luxurious life.
The man claimed before the court that he was financially incapable of complying with the apex court’s direction as he was earning a salary of Rs 20,000 per month. He claimed the man has till now paid Rs 43 lakhs to the woman.
His counsel said that the apex court has only determined the ad-interim maintenance amount and the final determination has been left to the trial court.
The high court said the ground of financial incapacity was also raised and considered by the apex court and despite this defence, the top court had directed the man to pay maintenance of Rs one lakh per month with effect from May 1, 2016 and also to pay outstanding arrears within three months.
It also noted that till now, the man has not been declared an insolvent.