He spent 16 days in “civil imprisonment” at Byculla jail and was freed on Saturday, two days after Bombay high court
On June 6, a family court in Bandra had sentenced him to 30 days of civil imprisonment for failure to pay arrears totalling over Rs 32 lakh and for not giving “sufficient reasons” for his inability to pay up, “though he is a well-bodied person”.
When his family went with the order copy on Friday, though, the jail staff declined to release him without an order from the family court, said his lawyer Kishore Maru in a letter to the prison superintendent. On Saturday, the jail authorities released him, acting on the high court order.
In January, the family court directed him to pay an interim maintenance of Rs 25,000 each for the wife and two children. He said he was unable to pay it.
On June 6, the family court took him into custody and sent him to civil imprisonment when he said he would be unable to deposit the arrears right away.
The family court said, “he was given sufficient opportunities to clear arrears of maintenance’’.
It is not often that a family court sends a person to jail for non-payment of maintenance arrears, though Family Court Act empowers it to do so.
The wife’s lawyer, Ghazala Khan, opposed the plea of his lawyers Bharat Manghani and Tushar Nirbhavane who, the high court observed, “fairly” did not dispute the arrear amount and offered to deposit a demand draft of Rs 5 lakh in the court on Friday.
They deposited it. His lawyers said once released, they would give a schedule of payment for the remaining arrears.
The HC thus directed that he be released. It posted the matter next to July 10.