Three sent to civil prison for defying HC order

civil prisonThree persons, including a 79-year-old woman, have been sentenced to “civil prison” for varying time period ranging from 15 days to two months by a court here for violating Delhi High Court’s order in a property dispute.

In civil prison, persons are kept in jail but not with undertrials and the diet money for their maintenance is paid to the authorities by the opposite party who is in litigation.

Additional District Judge Kaveri Baweja said 79-year-old Joyce Makhani, 64-year-old Vinay Chhabra and 55-year-old Jerry Makhani “knowingly and deliberately flouted” the status quo order passed by the high court on May 11, 2010.

The court ordered to detain in civil prison Joyce, Vinay and Jerry for 15 days, one month and two months respectively.

It awarded lesser sentence to Joyce keeping in view that she was an aged woman.

It said the three respondents are directed to undergo the sentence subject to deposit of necessary charges or subsistence allowance by the plaintiff who filed the suit against them.

The suit relates to a dispute in which the high court had on May 11, 2010 ordered to maintain status quo regarding title and possession of the East Patel Nagar’s property.

Plaintiff Vera Ruth filed an application in the high court alleging that the three respondents have violated the status quo order and also sought attachment of property.

He alleged that the respondents had agreed to sell the property to Chhabra, who signed the agreement to sell as a witness, for Rs 22 lakh and also handed over possession of some of its portion.

In 2014, the high court held that the trio were aware of its status quo order and they were guilty of disobeying it. It had also ordered to attach the property.

When the matter was pending before the high court on point of quantum of sentence, the suit was transferred to the trial court on account of pecuniary jurisdiction.

The court noted that apology tendered by the respondents does not appear to be “genuine” and was apparently intended “only to save their skin”.

“The apology thus tendered on January 22, 2015, of having committed breach of order dated May 11, 2010 cannot be accepted as genuine and unconditional apology by respondents,” it said.

The respondents said they were genuinely remorseful and their unconditional apology be accepted and a lenient view be taken towards them.

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