- 法庭当时允许男方探视两个孩子。有关庭令说明男方在每周一至周五(6pm-8pm）、每周日(10.00 am-7.00 pm)、一半天数的公共和学校假期期间都可探望孩子。另外，男女方可每年轮流陪同孩子度过屠妖节。
- 男方指女方从2020年7月开始拒绝让他在指定的日子探望孩子。The complaints made by the PH against the RW with regard to access were that the RW did not allow the PH access to the 2 minor children on the following dates:
- 3 days of public holidays – for July 2020: 31.7.2020, for August 2020: 31.8.2020, and for September 2020
- Term school holidays – 20 to 22.8.2020
- Deepavali 2020
- On 10.2020, the Petitioner Husband (“PH”) filed an application for committal against the Respondent Wife (“RW”).
- In Enclosure 57, the PH sought the following relief against the RW, after leave to commence committal proceedings was granted on 20.10.2020:
(1) Perintah Pengkomitan dibuat terhadap Responden ABIRANI A/P SITHAMBARAM (NO. K/P: XXX) beralamat di No.XXX, Negeri Sembilan atau di tempat lain di mana beliau dijumpai kerana perlanggaran Perintah Mahkamah bertarikh 26.07.2019;
(2) Bahawa kos permohonan ini dibiayai oleh Responden;
- Grounds of PH’s application:
“(a) Melalui Perintah Mahkamah bertarikh 26.07.2019, Pemohon diberi akses tanpa pengawasan kepada kanak- kanak, Aishwarya (berumur 7 tahun) dan Anessh (berumur 5 tahun) setiap hari Isnin hingga Jumaat (pukul 6.00 petang hingga 8.00 malam) (semasa hari persekolahan), setiap hari Ahad (pukul 10.00 pagi hingga 7.00 malam), setengah (1/2) tempoh setiap Cuti Awam dalam setiap bulan dan setengah (1/2) tempoh setiap Cuti Penggal Sekolah dan selang setiap tahun Musim Perayaan Deepavali secara bergilir-gilir.
(b) Responden telah enggan, cuai dan/atau gagal mematuhi Perintah Mahkamah bertarikh 26.07.2019 dengan tidak membenarkan dan mewujudkan halangan sehingga menyebabkan Pemohon tidak berjaya mengambil dan bersama anak-anak pada Cuti Awam bulan Julai 2020, Ogos 2020, September 2020 pada tarikh berikut:-
(i) Pada 31 Julai 2020 – iaitu Hari Raya Haji
(ii) Pada 31 Ogos 2020 – iaitu Hari Kemerdekaan
(iii) Pada 16 September 2020 – iaitu Hari Malaysia
(iv) Pada penggal Cuti-cuti Sekolah bulan Ogos (20 – 22 Ogos 2020)
(c) Pada tempoh Cuti Penggal Sekolah bulan Ogos 2020, Responden telah tidak membenarkan dan/atau menghalang dan/atau mewujudkan halangan sehingga menyebabkan Pemohon tidak berjaya mengambil dan bersama anak-anak.
(d) Responden enggan memberi akses anak-anak bersama Pemohon pada musim Perayaan Deepavali tahun 2020 iaitu 13 – 14 November 2020, malam sebelum Perayaan Deepavali (eve) dan hari pertama Perayaan Deepavali (1 st day) di mana dalam tahun 2019 Perayaan Deepavali (26 – 28 Oktober 2019 pagi) adalah bersama Responden.
(e) Kebenaran untuk membuat permohonan pengkomitan telah diberikan pada 20.10.2020.”
- At the time Enclosure 57 was heard by this Court, the Petition for Divorce filed by the PH was pending hearing and determination by this Court.
- The Order granted by the Court on 07.2019 read as follows:
“MAKA ADALAH DIPERINTAHKAN bahawa:
- Pemohon diberi akses tanpa pengawasan kepada anak-anak tersebut seperti berikut:
(i) setiap hari selama 2 jam iaitu pada Hari Isnin hingga Jumaat, pukul 6.00 petang hingga 8.00 malam (semasa hari persekolahan) sepertimana yang dipersetujui oleh kedua-dua pihak;
(ii) setiap Hari Ahad, pukul 10.00 pagi hingga 7.00 malam;
(iii) setengah (1/2) tempoh setiap Cuti Awam dalam setiap bulan dan setengah (1/2) tempoh setiap Cuti Penggal Sekolah; dan (iv) selang setiap tahun pada musim Perayaan Deepavali bersama Pemohon dan Responden secara bergilir-gilir. 2. Setiap pihak membayar kos guaman sendiri. 3. Kebebasan untuk memohon.”
- The Order dated 26.07.2019 does not expressly stipulate the venue where the PH is to pick up and return the 2 minor children.
- After the Order dated 26.07.2019, the PH and the RW agreed that pick up and return of the 2 minor children shall take place at BH Petrol Station located in Pasir Besar, Melaka.
- After the Order dated 26.07.2019 and until March 2020, access was enjoyed by the PH.
- Thereafter and until the date of the application for leave in these contempt proceedings and continuing, the PH was not allowed any access to the 2 minor children.
- The complaints made by the PH against the RW with regard to access were that the RW did not allow the PH access to the 2 minor children on the following dates:
(1) 3 days of public holidays – for July 2020: 31.7.2020, for August 2020: 31.8.2020, and for September 2020: 16.9.2020
(2) Term school holidays – 20 to 22.8.2020
(3) Deepavali 2020
- With regard to (1) above, the complaints by the PH were that:
(a) the RW changed dates of access by the PH on public holidays with dates which had passed;
(b) the dates substituted by the RW were the PH’s birthday, Thaipusam and the second day of Deepavali;
(c) these dates were dates which were unilaterally chosen by the RW; and
(d) although the Order dated 26.07.2019 granted the RW liberty to apply, the RW did not make any application to the Court vary/change the terms of the Order dated 26.7.2019.
- With regard to (2) above, the complaints by the PH were that:
(e) the RW unilaterally changed the pick-up point agreed and used by the parties from BH Petrol Station located in Pasir Besar, Melaka to the RW’s parents’ house in Felda Palong 1; and
(f) due to the acrimonious relationship between the PH on the one part and the RW and her family on the other part, the PH was not able to agree to the change of venue and as the consequence of the RW’s actions, the PH did not have access to the 2 minor children.
- With regard to (3) above, the complaints by the PH were that:
(g) for Deepavali 2019, the 2 minor children celebrated the first day of Deepavali with the RW. This fact was common ground between the parties;
(h) for Deepavali 2020, the 2 minor children were to be with the PH on the first day of Deepavali 2020;
(i) the RW unilaterally changed the PH’s access to the children from the first day of Deepavali to the second day of Deepavali; and
(j) although the Order dated 26.7.2019 granted the RW liberty to apply, the RW did not make any application to vary/change access to PH from day 1 of Deepavali to day 2 of Deepavali.
- In summary, the PH complained that the PH did not have access to the 2 minor children on these occasions.
Other Issues Considered by Court
- The Court also considered:
(a) One of the reasons offered by the RW, and in the view of this Court the primary issue, was her concern for the health and well- being of the 2 minor children given the Covid – 19 situation at the time;
(b) This Court took judicial notice of the situation with regard to Covid-19 at the material time. However, this Court also noted that the PH had applied for and secured a police permit for travel (from Jasin) in order to pick up the 2 minor children (at BH Petrol Station located in Pasir Besar, Melaka).
(c) There was also no material before this Court that the PH intended to spend his access with the 2 minor children by undertaking with the 2 minor children any activity that was likely to put them at any risk to Covid-19.
(d) The PH, through his solicitors, issued a number of letters putting the RW on notice to comply with the Order dated 26.7.2019 failing which the PH may institute contempt proceedings against the RW. Despite the several written notices, the RW continued not to allow the PH access to the 2 minor children.
- This Court found that the reasons offered by the RW did not adequately and satisfactorily answer the RW’s non-compliance with the Order dated 26.7.2019 granted by the Court.
Decision of the High Court
- It is settled law that contempt proceedings are quasi criminal in nature. The reason is simple – contempt proceedings involve the liberty of the alleged contemnor.
- It is also settled law that the burden of proof in contempt proceedings is beyond reasonable doubt. In this respect, this Court makes reference to the decision of the Federal Court in Tan Sri Dato’ (Dr) Rozali Ismail & Ors v Lim Pang Cheong @ George Lim & Ors  3 MLJ 458.
- This Court found, beyond reasonable doubt, that the RW failed to comply with the express terms of access granted in favour of PH and this Court also found, beyond reasonable doubt, that the RW was in breach of the terms of access granted to the PH in the Order of Court dated 26.07.2019.
- The RW put before this Court her mitigation before this Court made its order. The mitigating factors by the RW were that:
(1) the application by PH for committal was in respect of 4 occasions: Hari Raya Haji, Hari Kemerdekaan, Hari Malaysia and Deepavali. Given the situation with Covid- 19 at the material time, the RW was not amenable for access being given to the PH as the PH would spend time with the children in public area. The RW’s position was that this issue was confirmed by the PH in his affidavit but the RW was not able to point out this purported admission by the PH in the cause papers;
(2) the RW offered another alternative to the PH for week end access where the PH would enjoy more time than under the terms of the Order dated 26.07.2019;
(3) the RW took the view that all issues with regard to access by the PH ought to be determined at the hearing of the Petition for Divorce which was pending before this Court; with regard to access for Deepavali 2020, (even though the RW took the position that this complaint was outside the scope of Enclosure 57 as Enclosure 57 was filed before Deepavali 2020), the children were fetched by an individual named Encik Abdul Rashid bin Abdul Rani on the eve of Deepavali 2020, and what in fact occurred was that the 2 children did not come out of the car driven by the said Encik Abdul Rashid and as the 2 children did not want to follow the PH, this situation was beyond the RW’s control;
(4) the RW is a teacher earning about RM2,800.00 per month;
(5) the RW is financially unable to file any application to the Court to vary the Order dated 26.7.2019;
(6) the 2 children are with the RW which ought to be taken into account;
(7) the RW apologised for her unintentional non-compliance of the Order dated 26.07.2012.
- This Court took cognisance that pursuant to the terms of the Order dated 26.07.2019, and until the disposal of the Petition of Divorce, the 2 minor children are in the custody and care of the RW (other than the times if the PH were allowed access).
- On this basis, any punishment involving a prison term would not be in the best interest, and may have an adverse impact, on the 2 minor children.
- Although in her mitigation the RW stated that her non-compliance was unintentional, this Court was unable to accept this statement as on the facts of these proceedings, this is a situation where there were positive acts/omissions undertaken by the RW – it was not merely a situation of an oversight by the RW.
- Accordingly, and after taking into account all material factors and also the mitigation by the RW, this Court ordered that a fine of RM9,000.00 shall be paid by the RW within one (1) month from 28.4.2021 failing which one (1) week prison term.
Source：Vijayan a/l Vasudewan v Abirani a/p Sithambaram  MLJU 1151. High Court Melaka. Maidzuara Mohammed JC.
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