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SC issues notice on wrestlers' plea against WFI chief: Here're the details

The Supreme Court sought a response from the Delhi Police and the government of Delhi on the wrestlers' demand to register an FIR against WFI chief

(Photo: Twitter|@BajrangPunia)

(Photo: Twitter|@BajrangPunia)

BS Web Team New Delhi

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice on a petition filed by top wrestlers, seeking the registration of a first information report (FIR) against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over allegations of sexual harassment, including that of a minor.

A bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha sought a response from the Delhi Police and the government of Delhi on their demand to register FIR, citing the "serious" allegations made by the athletes.

The case will be heard again in court on Friday.

What happened in court?

The petition in Supreme Court was filed by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who stated that despite the sexual harassment allegations, no FIR was filed by the Delhi Police.

This came two days after several athletes, including Olympic bronze medalists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia and Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Vinesh Phogat, resumed their sit-in protest at Delhi's Jantar Mantar, demanding action against Singh.

At the court hearing, Sibal told the court that seven women wrestlers, including a minor, had filed a sexual harassment complaint against Singh in Delhi. However, the police have not filed a first information report.

Please see the last complaint by the minor…the young girl had won a gold medal, Sibal told the CJI.

Sibal further said that the police officers could face prosecution for failing to file an FIR in this type of case.

"The plea is taken on board," the bench was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. "The identity of the petitioners shall be redacted. Only the redacted petition shall be made available in the public domain," it added.

Wrestlers' #MeToo protest

The allegations against Singh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Uttar Pradesh's Kaiserganj, were first levelled by the country's top wrestlers on January 18 during a protest at the same location.

However, they called the protests off after marathon talks with Union sports minister Anurag Thakur.

On January 23, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports established an oversight panel headed by boxer MC Mary Kom to investigate the matter.

The committee submitted its report in the first week of April, but its findings have not been made public yet.

Meanwhile, on Monday, April 24, the sports ministry said the report was "under examination", but that preliminary investigation revealed some "major findings".

It said that the WFI lacked an Internal Complaints Committee, which is required by the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act to deal with allegations of sexual harassment within an organisation.

The ministry also cited a lack of awareness-raising measures among players for their grievance redressal and advocated for greater transparency and consultation between the wrestling federation and athletes.

However, it did not comment on the sexual misconduct charges against Singh.

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First Published: Apr 25 2023 | 4:45 PM IST

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