Supreme Court shuts proceedings on women wrestlers’ plea

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, May 4

The Supreme Court on Thursday turned down women wrestlers’ demand for a court-monitored probe into their allegations of sexual harassment against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and closed the proceedings on their petition “for now”, saying an FIR has already been lodged against him.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud also took note of the fact that besides registration of the FIR against the WFI president, all seven complainants, including a minor, had been provided adequate security in terms of its previous order.

As the Bench made it clear that the women wrestlers’ main demand had already been met, their counsel requested the Bench to appoint a retired or a serving high court judge to monitor the probe. However, the Bench, which also included Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala, chose not to oblige him even as it gave liberty to the petitioners to move the jurisdictional magistrate court or the high court for further relief.

Cops check vehicles at Tikri border.

“You came here with specific prayers for registration of an FIR and security for the complainants. Now, both of your prayers have been addressed. If you have any further grievances, you can very well approach the high court or the jurisdictional magistrate,” the Bench said, closing the proceedings for now.

On behalf of the Delhi Police, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta earlier told the Bench that in terms of its April 28 order, an assessment of threat perception to the complainants was carried out and adequate security arrangements had been made for the minor complainant and six other women wrestlers.

The statements of four complainants, including that of the minor, have been recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC, he added.

On behalf of the WFI president, senior counsel Harish Salve submitted that he should be heard by the top court on women wrestlers’ allegations of sexual harassment against him said if further directions were to be issued in the matter.

As women wrestlers’ counsel alleged that their names were being revealed by the accused who is giving TV interviews, Salve objected to it, saying even the complainants were sitting on a dharna and giving interviews.

India’s top wrestlers have been sitting on a dharna at Jantar Mantar in the Capital, demanding action against the WFI chief who also happens to be a BJP MP. The Delhi Police had on April 28 filed two FIRs against Brij Bhushan on women wrestlers’ allegations, hours after Mehta told the top court that a case would be registered.

Extending support to the protesting sportspersons, the Congress demanded that the WFI chief be removed immediately and arrested as he faced grave charges of sexual harassment. The party urged PM Narendra Modi to show “sensitivity” to the protesting grapplers and visit them at Jantar Mantar.

Grapplers threaten to return awards

  • n A blame game erupted between the Delhi Police and protesting wrestlers over the Wednesday night scuffle at Jantar Mantar
  • n This led to a threat by the grapplers to return their medals and awards, including Padma Shri, to the government
  • n “If this is how the wrestlers will be treated, what will we do with the medals? We will live an ordinary life and return all medals,” said Bajrang Punia, a Olympics bronze medallist

No setback, stir to go on, say Wrestlers

  • Claiming that the Supreme Court decision to close proceedings was not a setback, the wrestlers said they will continue their protest
  • “We respect the order, but protest will continue. The court order is not a setback, it did what it could in this matter,” Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik said
  • The wrestlers further said that they will decide the future course of action after consulting their seniors

Surveillance up along Tikri-Bahadurgarh border | Geeta Phogat detained

  • The Delhi and Jhajjar police have intensified surveillance by deploying a considerable number of personnel along the Tikri-Bahadurgarh border after a call given by protesting wrestlers for a gathering at Jantar Mantar in Delhi after a scuffle with cops at the dharna site on Wednesday
  • Despite the surveillance, khap members backing wrestlers managed to reach Jantar Mantar by taking alternative routes through Jhajjar villages
  • Surendra Singh Solanki, chief of Khap Palam 360, said the Delhi Police had detained many at the Tikri, Singhu and Najafgarh borders
  • Eldest of the Phogat siblings Geeta Phogat was detained too

Can approach high court: bench

You came here with specific prayers… Both of your prayers have been addressed. If more grievances, you can approach the HC/jurisdictional magistrate.

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