Bombay HC issues advance contempt notice against slippery builder
Publish on : 2022-09-22 11:29:29
Jitendra Jain of Kamla Shanti Developers Pvt Ltd had "cheated and defrauded" a couple by taking Rs 2.8 crore for a 4 BHK flat at Khar (W) but selling it to another.
MUMBAI: In a rare move, the Bombay high court has issued a contempt notice three months ahead of a possible default by a builder notorious for repeatedly flouting the court's orders.
Jitendra Jain of Kamla Shanti Developers Pvt Ltd had "cheated and defrauded" a couple by taking Rs 2.8 crore for a 4 BHK flat at Khar (W) but selling it to another. The court accepted his pledge that he would repay the couple by December 13, but made it clear that if he defaults, the court will issue a suo motu contempt notice.
"Contempt we are doing now in anticipation that he wants to go to jail. We are leaving it to nobody. Not even to a future bench for you to get an opportunity to try this all over again with another court," said Justices Gautam Patel and Gauri Godse on Wednesday
"That notice is being ordered today but with an effective date of December 14, conditionally, to be issued and served in event of default," they said, adding the notice will stand discharged if Jain complies.
The judges also appointed a court receiver to take symbolic possession of a 910 sq ft flat on the fifth floor of Nirav on Gulmohar Road, Vile Parle (W), with an open terrace and a car park shown by Jain as security. If Jain defaults, the receiver will hand it over to the couple and seek HC directions to transfer proper title to them.
The order was passed on an appeal by Smita and Umesh Gandhi against a single judge's order. In August 2011, the Gandhis had booked the 3,500 sq ft flat with two parking spaces in the proposed ground-plus-14-storey Rohit Niwas and paid 98% of the cost. Jain did not sign an agreement of sale and sold the flat again to another. The Gandhis filed a suit and urged interim relief, which was rejected.
When Jain's advocate Bipin Joshi submitted a deed of transfer of the Vile Parle flat from another director to Jain, the judges noted it was undated, unstamped, on a non-judicial Rs 100 stamp paper and not registered, and yet Jain claimed "good valid title has passed to him". "Mr Jain is no stranger to this court. Regrettably, he is also no stranger to state government- provided accommodation, namely the jails in and around the city. He has been there before and if he continues playing ducks and drakes with the court, as indeed he has done in this very matter, we will have not the slightest hesitation in suo motu initiating contempt proceedings against him," the judges warned.
The judges said they are reiterating the view of previous benches that Jain cannot be trusted to keep his word to the court. Also that nothing seems to affect Jain "and he continues in his merry ways as if all these orders of courts are so much dust". "They are not, and the sooner he realizes this, the better," they added.
When Jain begged for more time, Justice Patel said: "Beg, borrow or steal... You rob a bank, you'll go to jail. You don't rob a bank, you'll still go to jail. When you try to pull these stunts with the court of law, we will ensure you visit the consequences strictly."