A contemnor cannot claim trial or examine witnesses in his/her favour as a matter of right, says Delhi HC

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A Writ Petition was filed on 29th July 2019 on behalf of the petitioner who was in the custody due to the order made by the Trial Court on 28th July 2019. The Court was of the view that averments of the Writ Petition were falsely been used by Ms Sabran Kaur to scuttle the investigation in a murder case by putting the fear of court in minds of the police officials. The Court initiated suo moto criminal contempt of court against Ms Sabran Kaur. In reply, it was stated by her that she doesn’t have any knowledge about the production of Sumit, who is the petitioner no.4 in this case before the learned Duty Metropolitan Magistrate on 28th July 2019. It was stated that the petitioner no. 6 was kidnapped from Ajmer and later shown as arrested from Delhi. It was prayed from Ms Sabran Kaur that she wants to exercise her right to examine the petitioners as her witness before the Court in W.P (Crl.) No. 2099/2019.  

The SHO of Sangrampur Police Station has stated that Mr Sumit had been arrested and this informed to this relative, Mr.Rohan, Petitioner No. 8 in W.P (Crl.) No. 2099/2019. The same was recorded in the arrest memo of Mr Sumit where the name, address, and Phone Number of Mr Rohan were mentioned. The details in the arrest memo of Ms Chandan Kumar were of Mr Rohan. 

The bench opined in this case, “It is settled law that the contempt proceedings are separate and distinct from other criminal proceedings. Contempt proceedings are sui generis and the Court is free to evolve its procedure consistent with Fairplay and natural justice”.

Further stating that a petitioner cannot come to Court with unverified facts and abuse the process of Court, the Court observed,

“.. Kaur cannot claim to be unaware of the fact that petitioner Nos. 4 and 6 in W.P. (Crl). No.2099/2019 was produced before the learned Duty Metropolitan Magistrate by the police after following due process. Ms Sabran Kaur is certainly expected to discover and disclose all the facts about the case as the petitioner must exercise due diligence and find the facts before approaching this Court for a writ of habeas corpus.”

In the end, it was noted by the Court that;

“..This Court is of the view that the respondent–Ms. Sabran Kaur, without verification of facts, had made false averments in the writ petition being W.P. (Crl.) No.2099/2019, which amounts to interference with the administration of justice. Consequently, this Court finds Ms Sabran Kaur guilty of criminal contempt of Court.”

“keeping in view the fact that Ms Sabran Kaur is an aged lady, this Court believes that ends of justice would be met if the contemnor–Ms. Sabran Kaur is sentenced to imprisonment till the rising of the Court along with a fine of Rs.2000/- to be deposited with the Registry of Cont. Cas (Crl.) 8/2019 Page 5 of 5 this Court within one week. She is also directed to be more careful in future”.


(i) The Judgment was passed by Division Bench of Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal. 

(ii) The bench noted the Judgment given by the Supreme Court in Kishore Samrite vs. State of U.P (2013)

(iii) Mir Akhtar Hussain represented the Contemnor.

Standing counsel (Crl) Rahul Mehra represented the State with Advocates Chaitanya Gosain, Divyank Tyagi.

(iv) The police submitted before the Court when Sumit was arrested, his relatives were informed and same recorded in the memo.

(v)  The Delhi High Court has held that a contemnor cannot claim trial or examine witnesses in his/her favour as a matter of right. (Court on its motion vs. Sabran Kaur)

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


Asif Iqbal
I am pursuing my integrated five years bachelors of law degree from Centre for Juridical Studies, Dibrugarh University. I do have an interest in reading books written by Arundhati Roy, Ashwini Sanghi, Ramachandra Guha and others. Any personality whom I like is Karl Marx and Che Guevara, as latter did write the book “Motor Cycle diaries” which is based on upon his journey on a bike with his friend. Whereas I do like to binge-watch series and out of those which I have seen till now are two and a half men, Suits, Sherlock and Friends to name a few. Apart from that, I do have an interest in writing articles and stories along with being a part of any discussions or debates.