Court convicts litigant for contempt, sends him to prison

He was found guilty of selling a property despite a status quo ordered by the Madras High Court

The Madras High Court on Tuesday convicted a litigant for contempt of court and directed him to undergo three months of simple imprisonment. The court found him guilty of having sold a property despite a status quo ordered by it.

Justice S.M. Subramaniam also directed the Velachery sub-registrar in Chennai to cancel the sale deed and construction agreement executed on July 2, 2018, and enter those details in the encumbrance certificate of the property.

The orders were passed on a contempt of court petition filed jointly by a group of individuals against D. Nagaraj of Saligramam. The judge expressed displeasure over the contemnor not having cancelled the sale deed despite making such a promise before the court. He pointed out that the order of status quo was passed on June 25, 2018, and the sale deed was executed a week thereafter. Subsequently, the court granted the contemnor several opportunities to nullify the sale and continued to grant multiple adjournments.

When he dodged, a non-bailable arrest warrant was issued. However, it was recalled after he appeared before the court and promised to execute the cancellation deed at the earliest. When the promise was not honoured again, a second warrant was issued to produce him before the court on Tuesday. “The first respondent’s behaviour before this court proves that he has no respect towards the court proceedings and abused the process by giving false undertakings and by not complying even after several adjournments. Thus, the first respondent has committed contempt of court wilfully and consequentially liable to be punished,” the judge concluded.

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