NEW DELHI – In the sexual harassment case against former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the complainant women wrestlers told a Delhi court on Friday that the allegations they levelled against him warrant framing of charges.
Six wrestlers put forth their arguments on framing of charges against Singh before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM), Harjeet Singh Jaspal, of Rouse Avenue Court.
The counsel for the wrestlers argued that Singh, a BJP MP, and former WFI Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar were never exonerated by the oversight committee, adding that the panel — headed by ace boxer M.C. Mary Kom — was an “eyewash to assuage sentiments”.
Senior advocate Rebecca John, appearing for the wrestlers, said: “The allegations in the FIR culminating in the charge sheet of which your honour has taken cognisance are of a nature that necessitates the framing of charges against the accused persons.”
She also claimed the oversight committee was not constituted as per the rules of the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Act.
“The committee’s report needs to be junked. It was an eyewash to assuage the sentiments,” she contended.
As the complainants concluded their arguments and placed on record the Supreme Court judgements, it was claimed that the committee has made only generic recommendations without any findings in the matter.
After hearing the matter at length, the court listed it for next hearing on September 16.
The additional public prosecutor (APP) filed a written request to seek more time for his arguments, which was allowed by the court in the interest of justice.
The accused’s counsel also submitted that he will present his arguments only after conclusion of the arguments by the prosecution.
On August 11, Delhi Police had told the court that they possessed sufficient evidence to proceed with the trial against Singh.
ACMM Jaspal was informed by the police that there is a clear case against Singh and co-accused Tomar.
The police’s representative, public prosecutor Atul Srivastava, had emphasised that the accused should be charged according to the offences listed on the charge sheet.
“The evidence is substantial enough to establish charges against Singh under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354-A (sexual harassment), and 354-D (stalking) of the Indian Penal Code,” he had told the court.
“Srivastava has opened arguments by submitting that the submissions made by the lead defence counsel are not meritorious,” the court order read.
“Firstly, qua submissions made by the defence in reference to Section 188 Cr.P.C., it is submitted that the bar of Section 188 is applicable when the offence is committed outside India in its entirety, and not otherwise,” it stated.
“Secondly, it is argued that the offences in question have partly been committed in Delhi and partly outside and therefore, the Delhi court will have jurisdiction. Thirdly, it is argued that the matter at hand squarely falls under Section 354 of the IPC and having recourse to Section 468(3) of Cr.P.C., there can be no questions on the bar of limitation,” the order said.
“Fourthly, it is argued that the oversight committee report cannot be called a report which has exonerated the accused. As per the lead additional public prosecutor, it is merely a department inquiry and the same does not bar the jurisdiction of this court.
“Lastly, it is argued that the court is duty-bound to only see the material on record in the strict brackets of prima facie scrutiny and a mini trial cannot be conducted at this stage,” it added.
On July 18, the Rouse Avenue Court granted interim bail to Singh and Tomar.-IANS