The Delhi High Court on Thursday requested a report from the Senior District (Seat) Judge regarding the sentencing proceedings of former Delhi High Court Bar Association President Rajiv Khosla for assaulting the former Judge Sujata Kohli in 1994 when she was a lawyer.
A bench made up of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta dealt with a criminal contempt plea filed by Kohli against Khosla. Claimant Sujata Kohli, who was previously a practicing barrister, became a judge in the Delhi court system and retired as a district and session judge.
During today’s hearing, Kohli informed the Court that there were two district judges present on the slide when the relevant Metropolitan Chief Magistrate was conducting the proceedings.
“It is unusual for other bailiffs to remain present on dias when legal proceedings are in progress,immediately pointed out the Court.
The Court therefore found it necessary to call up the records of the trial court, including the videoconference / hybrid proceedings recording of the case conducted on November 27 and 30, 2021 as well as CCTV footage of the even-numbered dates, both inside and outside. the courtroom.
The bench also ordered as follows:
“We also find it appropriate to request the report of the seat of the relevant senior district judge in relation to the above-noted proceedings in view of the allegations made in this motion for contempt. That the copy of this motion be forwarded to the seat of the senior district judge judge’s seat together with a copy of the instructions issued by that court today immediately List the case for further proceedings after two weeks.
Accordingly, the Court entered the case for further processing on March 24.
Kohli alleged that Khosla has, through a series of deeds and words, directly interfered with the administration of justice, interfered with the rule of law and outraged the court on its face.
In his plea, Kohli argued that a series of unfortunate events occurred during the trial court hearings, particularly on November 27 and 30, 2021.
It was alleged that on November 27, 2021, as Kohli was joined in virtual mode, she saw that the courtroom was filled with lawyers shouting slogans, telling the judge concerned that he had delivered the sentencing judgment under pressure from Kohli who had previously served as a district judge.
Referring to the said dates, the ground is stated as follows:
“That, ultimately, what came out on November 30, 2021, just 3 days later, was a condemnation, quite expected, given the circumstances/alarming situation created in the courtroom, by the condemned and his supporters, November 27, 2021 On 11/30/2021, the pen that wrote the Sentence was clearly a pen, in CMM’s trembling/trembling hands, and the same CMM who earlier on October 29, 2021 had gone forward fearlessly, to convict the same defendant, with his independent and fearless spirit.”
The petition was filed by Kohli under sec. 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, with the consent of the State’s Permanent Counsel to institute criminal contempt proceedings against Khosla.
About the Sentencing Order
Metropolitan Chief Magistrate Gajender Singh Nagar had issued the sentencing order.
In issuing the sentencing order, although the Court took note of the fact that Khosla, despite being a member of the bar and an officer of the court, assaulted a female member of the bar in the presence of a number of lawyers, which was certainly an aggravating factor, he also considered the fact that he was a 65-year-old man, who had never been convicted in any other case to date according to police records.
About the controversy
The allegations against Khosla were that in July 1994, when he was secretary of the Delhi Bar Association, he asked Kohli to attend a seminar and upon his refusal threatened her that all the facilities of the bar association would be withdrawn and it would be dispossessed. from his seat as well.
A civil suit was filed by her for a proper injunction, but her table and chair were removed from their place. It was then alleged by her in the complaint that when she sat on a bench placed close to her seat awaiting the visit of the civil judge, Rajiv Khosla along with co-defendants came with a crowd of 40 to 50 lawyers.
According to the complainant, they all surrounded her, and Khosla came forward and pulled her from her hair, twisted her arms, pulled her by the hair, swore obscene insults and threatened her .
While the FIR had been filed by the police in August 1994, the complainant had lodged a complaint for total dissatisfaction with the investigation in March 1995.
The Court was of the view that Kohli’s testimony as to her allegation of being dragged by the hair and arm by Khosla and the threat that she would not be allowed to practice from the Tis Hazari court was “absolutely truthful and solvent.”
“The Delhi Bar Association is unquestionably a very strong and formidable body of lawyers and more often than not the police are very slow to take action when it comes to lawyers. In this case the defendant was a eminent leader of the Bar, at the relevant time he was Honorary Secretary of the DBA”, the Court had said on the appearance of the police witnesses not supporting the plaintiff’s case.
The Court was of the view that pulling someone by the hair and arm would cause bodily pain and therefore an offense under Section 323 (willfully causing injury) ICC was established as bodily pain imposed on the complainant.
Case Title: Sujata Kohli v. Rajiv Khosla