CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has awarded simple imprisonment (SI) of two months and a fine of `2,000 to Manikandan, chairman of a child welfare committee in Government Children’s Home for Boys at Chengalpattu, for deliberately disobeying its earlier orders relating to restoration of five children back to an orphanage run by Franciscan Sisters of St Joseph in Nethaji Nagar.
Justice M Duraiswamy, who imposed the punishment on Wednesday, however, stayed its operation for two weeks, to enable the contemnor to file an appeal against his order.
Originally, by an order dated June 7 last, the judge had directed Manikandan to restore the custody of five children back to Assissi Illam, run by the society. Since the children are between the ages of nine and 12 years and were brought up by the Illam from their childhood, it would not be proper for Manikandan to take the custody of the children all of a sudden.
The court noticed that the children are studying in one of the best schools in the locality and that the children are with the Illam for nearly 12 years. “In these circumstances, taking into consideration the welfare of the children, this court, by order dated June 6 directed Manikandan to handover the custody of the five children (back) to the petitioner.’’ before 5 pm on June 8.”
As Manikandan did not comply with this order, the society, represented by its senior counsel Fr Xavier Arulraj, filed the contempt application. Allowing the application, Justice Duraiswami held there was wilful disobedience of the June 6 order by Manikandan. The contemnor, not only committed contempt, but also his conduct proved that he abused the process of court by flouting and disobeying the orders, the judge said.