"Egregious Acts Of Civil & Criminal Contempt"- SC Sentences Kenyan Citizen Of Indian Origin To One Year Imprisonment
The Supreme Court has sentenced a Kenyan citizen of Indian origin named Perry Kansagra to one-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 25 lacs.
The Bench of CJI UU Lalit and Justice PS Narasimha observed-
"The above referred facts are mentioned only to demonstrate that the contemnor has deliberately and with a clear intention committed egregious acts of contempt. These acts constitute willful disobedience of the judgment, direction and order of this Court coupled with willful breach of the undertaking given by the Court which constitute civil contempt."
The Apex Court had in the year 2020 in the child custody case had held that the father i.e., Perry Kansagra was entitled to the custody of the child. The Court had also imposed a condition that it was necessary for Perry to obtain a 'mirror order' from the concerned Court in Nairobi, which would reflect the directions contained in the Supreme Court's judgment.
Following this, Perry's wife Smriti Kansagra filed an application stating that Perry got custody of their son through a forged mirror order from the Kenyan High Court.
Thereafter, the Supreme Court in October last year had recalled the order granting the custody of the child to Perry after finding that he had played fraud on the Court and approached the Court with unclean hands.
The Court in July this year had also initiated a suo moto contempt petition against Perry and held that a person who makes a false statement and deceives Court is guilty of contempt.
Senior Advocate Sonia Mathur appeared for Smriti Kansagra and ASG Aishwarya Bhati appeared for the Apex Court.
The Supreme Court on Thursday (Nov. 3) had considered the issue of sentence and observed thus-
"These acts constitute willful disobedience of the judgment, direction and order of this Court coupled with willful breach of the undertaking given by the Court which constitute civil contempt. The contemnor has falsely represented before the foreign jurisdiction that Indian Courts have not sought the consent of Aditya and that the decision of the Supreme Court of India is unenforceable. These acts clearly lower the authority of this Court. We have also indicated that the contemnor has interfered with the due course of judicial proceedings and obstructed the administration of justice which is a clear case of criminal contempt."
The Court also noted that the contemnor never showed any remorse or tendered any apology for his conduct.
The Court thus directed that the Contemnor be –
a) Punished with simple imprisonment for a term of six months for civil contempt of Court for his acts of deliberate and willful disobedience of the orders passed by this Court and to pay a fine of Rs. 12,50,000/- (Twelve Lakhs Fifty Thousand), in default he shall further undergo simple imprisonment for one month.
b) Punished with simple imprisonment for a term of six months for criminal contempt of Court for obstructing the administration of Justice and lowering the authority of this Court and to pay a fine of Rs. 12,50,000/- (Twelve Lakhs Fifty Thousand), in default he shall further undergo simple imprisonment for one month.
In view of the egregious acts of civil as well as criminal contempt, the Court further directed that the sentences shall be served consecutively.
Further, the Court directed Perry to deposit Rs. 25 lacs in the Registry of the Supreme Court within 4 weeks and be released to Smriti Kansagra upon an application being filed by her.
The Court also directed the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India to secure the presence of the contemnor to undergo the imprisonment imposed upon him. The Government of India including the Ministry of External Affairs and other agencies or instrumentalities shall carry out the directions issued by the Court with due diligence and utmost expediency. The Court ordered that the compliance report shall be filed in the Registry by December 9, 2022.
The Court has listed the matter for hearing the future orders on December 15, 2022.
Cause Title – In Re: Perry Kansagra…Contemnor (SMC Petition No. 3 of 2021)