Tamil Nadu

HC spares 72-year-old of contempt proceedings

He had written a letter to Registrar General with false claims

Justice S. Vaidyanathan of the Madras High Court has spared a 72-year-old man of facing contempt of court proceedings for having written a letter to the Registrar General of the court complaining that his daughter was subjected to medical examination by the High Court without her consent in a case related to divorce proceedings initiated by her husband.

Making it clear that the woman had consented for medical examination in the presence of her parents, the judge said: “The contents of the letter are baseless and though such false statement is offensive, entitling this court to initiate criminal contempt against the father of the woman, this court at this stage does not want to do so taking his age into account.”

“It is no doubt true that it is his primary duty to safeguard the interest of his daughter. At the same time, it should always be remembered that truth alone triumphs and a man at the age of 72 should be a role model to youngsters,” the judge said and spared the septuagenarian from undergoing the arduous task of facing criminal contempt proceedings.

The judge pointed out that ideally the High Court transfers divorce cases from one district to another considering the convenience of women. However, insofar as the present case was concerned, the woman was working in a nationalised bank in Chennai, but her father filed a petition to get the case transferred from Chennai to Thoothukudi.

During the course of hearing, the judge found out that the main grievance of the husband was that the wife was under medication for some mental illness and that fact was suppressed before marriage. However, the woman told the judge that she was not suffering from any illness and agreed to undergo medical examination. Hence, the judge referred them to an expert at Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF) which gave a report confirming that she was schizophrenic. In the meanwhile, the woman’s father wrote to the Registrar General complaining about the entire process and that letter was placed before the judge for appropriate orders.

After pardoning the author, the judge dismissed the transfer petition on the ground that the woman’s father could not seek transfer of the case and directed the Family Court in Chennai to dispose of the divorce case within a year by taking into account the report submitted by a doctor attached to SCARF.

The judge made it clear that at the time of recording the evidence of the woman, her father should not be allowed to be present either in the open court or in the chambers of the presiding officer of the Family Court. If the woman refuses to tender evidence without her father’s presence, an adverse inference should be drawn against her, he ordered.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 11:31:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-spares-72-year-old-of-contempt-proceedings/article31004896.ece

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