New Delhi: The Delhi High Court, declining to pardon a woman who kept lying under oath about her marital status, ordered her to "repent her sin" by offering prayers at Rajghat for one week.
A division bench of Justice Kailash Gambhir and Justice Indermeet Kaur made the order Friday, refusing to accept the "unconditional apology" from Farah Khatoon, who sought leniency saying she was appearing in court for the first time and was not well versed with law.
The woman has been asked to spend at least four hours each day of the week at Rajghat.
The bench said: "We cannot believe that the lady, who is employed as a teacher in an MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) school, is not aware of the fact that she has to be truthful before the court of law even though unrepresented by a lawyer, or under social pressure."
"Her entire conduct is contumacious, as in the face of the court, she kept telling lies after lies. And also, she had the audacity to take a false stand when her statement was recorded in court on oath. Her conduct is unpardonable," the court said.
The high court`s order came after Khatoon`s husband Rakesh filed a petition seeking to produce her before the court, contending that her father had illegally detained her in their house as she had married outside her faith.
On Nov 27 last, Khatoon was produced before the high court to ascertain the claims made by Rakesh. However, she denied having married Rakesh, saying the documents, including the marriage certificate issued by the Registrar of Marriages, photographs showing the solemnisation of the marriage and a conversion certificate from Muslim to Hindu, were fabricated.
The bench then directed the crime branch of Delhi Police to hold a preliminary inquiry into the conflicting claims of Rakesh and Khatoon.
Later Khatoon retracted her initial statement and gave an "unqualified apology" for lying under oath.
In her defence, she said Rakesh flashed the information about their marriage to her parents without intimating her and she came under tremendous social pressure.
Khatoon said she had not made the false statements "intentionally," but was in a state of trauma and under pressure from parents and relatives to deny the marriage.
Holding her guilty of contempt of court, the bench imposed a penalty of Rs.2,000, to be deposited with the "Mahatma Gandhi Trust" within a week. The court also directed her to offer prayers at Rajghat from Dec 21.
"The area police station shall monitor that she sits there and offers prayers in silence to feel remorseful about her conduct," the court said, refusing to pardon Khatoon.