Saturday, December 2, 2023

Supreme Court issues notice on women wrestlers’ plea seeking FIR against WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on sexual harassment charges

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice on a petition filed by top women wrestlers of the country, including Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik, seeking registration of an FIR against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over alleged sexual harassment of women wrestlers.

The matter was mentioned by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal before Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud.

The Bench pointed out that normally, a remedy to approach the Police Superintendent was available under Section 156 CrPC. 

The Senior Counsel contended that seven women werestlers, including a minor, have filed a complaint of sexual harassment by Brij Bhushan. He alleged that the FIRs were not being registered, adding that the law of this court had been violated.

Sibal further said that the young girl was 16 at the time, and had also won a gold medal for the country.

He requested the Apex Court to protect the identity of the petitioners in the case.

The petition alleged that there has been an inordinate delay in registering an FIR, especially when charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act were pressed against the wrestling body’s president.

As per Sibal, the women wrestlers have been protesting against this inaction at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.

He said even the police personnel could now be prosecuted for not registering an offence of this nature.

The Senior Counsel mentioned the amendment to Section 166A of CrPC, which allowed the police also to be prosecuted if a case was not registered.

He claimed that there was a committee report, which has not been made public yet.

Taking note of the ‘serious allegations’ of sexual harassment made by the professional wrestlers against the WFI President, the Bench said the matter required serious consideration of this court and listed the same for further hearing on May 28.

While granting liberty to serve the standing counsel for NCT Delhi, the Apex Court directed that the notice be returned on Friday.

The top court of the country further directed that the complaints which were being given in sealed cover, shall again be resealed and placed again with the petition under Article 32.

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