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Sahara Roy stays in jail

New Delhi, May 6: The Supreme Court today upheld its order jailing Sahara chief Subrata Roy, saying he had “consistently defied directives” to refund investors over Rs 20,000 crore and rejecting his claim that the rules of natural justice weren’t followed.

“Disobedience of the orders of a court strikes at the very root of the rule of law on which the judicial system rests. Judicial orders are bound to be obeyed at all costs,” a bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and J.S. Khehar said.

The court had sent Roy to jail on March 3. Today, the judges found no infirmity in that order and underscored the perils of a situation in which court orders are not observed. “There is no escape from, acceptance, or obedience, or compliance of an order passed by the Supreme Court, which is the final and the highest court in the country.”

The court said non-compliance of its orders would dislodge the cornerstone maintaining the equilibrium in the country’s governance. “There would be a breakdown of constitutional functioning… it would be a mayhem of sorts,” the judges said.

They pointed out that Roy had first disobeyed market regulator Sebi and then the court’s August 2012 directive to refund the money.

The bench chastised Roy for seeking its recusal from the case over alleged bias, saying “calculated psychological offensives and mind games… need to be strongly repulsed”.

“Courts have the power to enforce compliance of judicial orders, and also the power to punish for contempt,” the bench said in its 207-page order dismissing Roy’s petition against his detention.

The judges expressed displeasure that “hundreds of judge hours were spent” dealing with the matter. “This abuse of judicial process needs to be remedied,” the bench said and called on the legislature to frame laws to impose costs on such litigants.