High Court Dismisses Somnath Bharti’s Plea For Contempt Action Against Cops

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today dismissed a plea of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Somnath Bharti seeking contempt action against the police officials for not filing their reply before a trial court in a case of alleged molestation of some African women during his purported midnight raid in 2014.

A bench comprising Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath held that a single judge of the court has correctly dismissed Mr Bharti’s plea seeking contempt action against police officials.

“The petition is dismissed as it is not maintainable,” the bench said.

Appearing for Mr Bharti, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani argued that the trial court in its order dated October 27, 2014, after noticing 13 defects in the probe conducted in the case, had directed Delhi Police to file a reply on the plea for further investigation in the case.

He said that till now the police despite direction from the trial court, has not filed its reply on the plea which was moved by Mr Bharti.

On December 17, 2015, a bench of a single judge of the high court had dismissed Mr Bharti’s plea seeking action against the cops, saying the act of not filing the reply by the police officers does not constitute civil contempt.

On October 27, 2014, Mr Bharti, a former Delhi Law Minister, had claimed bias in the probe against him and had sought further investigation into the matter.

The trial court had then sought a reply from the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) and the Station House Officer (SHO) of Malviya Nagar Police Station within a month on Mr Bharti’s plea seeking a further probe in the case.

Delhi Police had filed a final report against Mr Bharti and 17 other accused. They have been chargesheeted for various offences under the Indian Penal Code, including sections 354 (outraging women’s modesty), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 147 (rioting).

The police, in its charge sheet, have said, “Nine African women were victims of molestation and manhandling by a mob led by the then law minister Somnath Bharti.”

The police had arrayed 41 persons as prosecution witnesses in the case, including nine Ugandan women who were allegedly beaten up and molested by the mob led by Bharti on the intervening night of January 15-16, 2014.