The Delhi high court on Monday rejected Congress leader N D Tiwari's plea for deferring his cross-examination in a paternity suit on medical grounds, saying he is "publicly active" and directed him to depose in New Delhi on Tuesday as scheduled.
Justice Vipin Sanghi, who rejected 88-year-old Tiwari's application seeking postponement of his cross-examination for eight weeks, said, "it appears that the last opportunity granted to Tiwari was exploited and abused by him by moving this application for adjournment."
The court also noted that the former chief minister is "pretty active at his age and there is no medical emergency," and directed him to travel to Delhi and depose before the local commissioner on Tuesday on the scheduled time, failing which "his right to lead evidence will be concluded."
The court rejected Tiwari's argument that he has been medically advised to avoid exertion and travel. "In case he does not turn up tomorrow his right to lead evidence will be concluded," the judge said.
The court accepted the argument of advocate Vedant Verma, appearing for 32-year-old Rohit Shekhar who claims to be the biological son of the Congress leader, that Tiwari has been actively attending public functions but is avoiding the court appearance.
Verma, referring to Tiwari's medical certificate issued on September 24 as well as news reports of that day, argued that on that particular day the politician was found dancing with a young woman at a public function.
"It seems that Tiwari is publicly active. He even sat on a 'dharna',... He was not able to dispute the same and is in a position to travel to Delhi and depose before the local commissioner," the court said.
In his application, Tiwari had sought postponement of his questioning saying he will be unable to travel from Lucknow to Delhi on account of his ongoing treatment of heart ailment.
"I have been advised to avoid exertion and travel," the plea said, adding that the 83-year-old younger brother of Tiwari was also hospitalised.
The high court on September 18 had rejected Tiwari's plea to hold his cross examination at a place other than the court complex.
It had, however, given Tiwari a last opportunity to lead evidence in the case by filing an affidavit within a week's time.
While giving last opportunity to him, the high court had also directed him to appear on October 8 before the local commissioner, S M Chopra-a former additional district judge-for recording evidence on day-to-day basis in the case.
Earlier, the local commissioner had barred Tiwari from leading any evidence in favour of his claim that he did not father 32-year-old Rohit Shekhar.
The leader has so far refused to settle the lawsuit out of court through mediation saying there is a possibility that the medical evidence is not 100 per cent accurate.
The high court had on July 27 last year read out the DNA report in the case according to which Tiwari was shown as Shekhar's biological father.
Tiwari had given blood sample for the DNA test on May 29 last year at his residence in Dehradun following the apex court's order in the case, after repeatedly contesting against undergoing the test on various grounds.
Tiwari's pleas had been objected to by Rohit who had filed the paternity suit in 2008, claiming that the veteran Congress leader is his biological father. Tiwari had refuted his claim.