Thursday, Aug 07, 2003
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By J. Venkatesan
Disposing of a contempt petition filed by David Jude, husband of Hannah Grace Jude, a Bench comprising Justice M.B. Shah and Justice Arunkumar said that "considering the fact that she (Hannah Grace) is well-educated, serving in prestigious institution, viz., World Bank and her totally defiant attitude, we do not think that this would be a fit case for taking a lenient view and not imposing a sentence of imprisonment".
The Bench, however, imposed only a fine of Rs. 50,000 on Hanna's mother considering her old age. It directed the Central Government to take appropriate steps to ensure compliance of this order.
Ms. Hannah, while staying in the U.S., had obtained custody of the child through an order of a Maryland Court on the condition that the child would not be taken out of its jurisdiction.
However, she came to India and left her daughter in the custody of her mother residing in Hyderabad.The Andhra Pradesh High Court had directed the custody of the child to be given to the husband with visiting rights to his wife as she was residing in Washington and her aged mother at Hyderabad was not in a position to take proper care of the child.
On appeal, the apex court passed an order granting custody of the child to the wife with permission to take the child to the U.S. on an undertaking that she would bring the child to India as and when ordered by the family court. However, once she took the child out of India, she refused to respond to the various Court notices.
Since the undertaking was not complied with David Jude filed the present contempt petition.Disposing of the petition, the Bench said that from the facts it was apparent that the attitude of the contemnors was without any doubt defiant and contemptuous and Ms. Hannah had no regard for notices issued by the apex court on the contempt petition.
"If the notice issued by the apex court of this land is wilfully disobeyed, it would send a wrong signal to everybody in the country.It is a sad experience that due regard is not show even to the undertakings/order/notice issued," the Bench said and held them guilty of contempt of court and awarded the punishment.
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