Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Patiala House Court to hear plea against wrestlers over hate speech on June 9

A local court in Delhi on Thursday agreed to hear on June 9, a petition seeking registration of an FIR against the top wrestlers of the country, who sat on a protest at Jantar Mantar in April, alleging that the agitators indulged in hate speech.

The matter was mentioned by Advocate A.P. Singh before the Patiala House Court, which agreed to take it up on June 9. The court further directed the Delhi Police to submit an action taken report in the matter.

Appearing for the petitioners, Advocate Singh argued that the matter came under the ambit of hate speech as indecent language was used by the wrestlers against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Chairman of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, which could be clearly seen in the video.

Quoting a Supreme Court order, the lawyer said this was a non-bailable offence and therefore, investigation and action was necessary in the matter.

He said that he had gone to the Delhi Police on May 4 and 12 on this issue, but no action was taken, resulting in the present petition before this court.

Top wrestlers of the country with international fame, including Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik had been sitting on a protest at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi since April 23 demanding registration of an FIR against Brij Bhushan Singh.

The agitators alleged that Singh allegedly sexually assaulted seven women wrestlers, including a minor. The wrestlers had even moved the Supreme Court over their demand. 

On May 4, the Apex Court had decided to close the petition filed by the women wrestlers, after Delhi Police apprised the court that it has registered an FIR against former WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over charges of sexual harassment.

The Bench of Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice P.S. Narasimha and Justice J.B. Pardiwala closed the plea, observing that its purpose has been served after registration of an FIR against the accused.

It granted liberty to the petitioners to invoke the jurisdictional magistrate or the remedy under Section 482 CrPC before the Delhi High Court in case of any further grievances.

Senior Advocate Narender Hooda, representing the petitioners, requested the Supreme Court to monitor the investigation, stating that Delhi Police did not register an FIR till the intervention of the top court of the country. He further said that once the plea was disposed of, the Delhi Police would drag its feet.

However, the request was turned down by the Apex Court on the grounds that it has given liberty to the petitioners to invoke other remedies.

It further took in view the fact that Delhi Police had recorded the statement of the minor complainant on April 29 and of four others on May 3. The Delhi Police further submitted that they were taking steps to record the statements before the Magistrate under Section 164 CrPC.

The Apex Court further took note of the security arrangements made for the complainants by the police.


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