New Delhi: What more than a dozen court orders over a period of two years could not do, five days behind bars did.
A man, who failed to give alimony to his estranged wife despite multiple court orders since January 2017, was quick to sign the cheques to clear the outstanding after he was sent to jail by the Supreme Court.
A native of Uttar Pradesh, the man was directed first in January 2017 to pay up Rs 4.75 lakh towards outstanding of the maintenance to the wife. Since he did not comply with the order, the wife moved a contempt of court plea and in September 2017, the man was issued a show-cause notice.
Thereafter, the court kept fixing dates after dates and deadlines after deadlines so that the man, who runs a franchisee of pizza restaurants, could produce the money.
The first instalment came in October 2018 only after the court ordered for his personal presence and told his lawyers to ask him to be prepared to face consequences. He paid Rs 1 lakh.
For depositing the remainder, the man was directed to remain present on every date of hearing but he paid only Rs 35,000 in the next three months over five hearings. And then, he stopped coming to the court despite specific orders seeking his personal presence.
The bench, headed by Justice SA Bobde, finally lost its patience and deemed his conduct to be gross contempt of court. It issued an arrest warrant against the man and asked the Delhi Police to bring him to the court in custody.
"The respondent has been produced in Court by the jurisdictional police. He has still not paid the remaining amount. He does not even offer to make payment of the outstanding amount. He is guilty of violation of order of this Court time and again. In view of the above, let him be taken into police custody forthwith and be kept in the concerned police station at New Delhi till the next date of hearing," ordered the court when the man was brought before it in custody.
The bench then fixed the matter after almost a month. But this time, the man was unusually prompt in arranging the money even from inside prison.
Five days later, his lawyers mentioned the matter before the bench, and submitted that the money was ready. The lawyers had also informed the wife and requested her to remain present in court to receive the payment.
The man gave Rs 2 lakh to earn his freedom and wriggle out of contempt as the bench ordered his release from the police custody.