The Delhi Police in the Supreme Court on April 26 said it “felt” that “some preliminary enquiry” may be needed before registering an FIR on the sexual harassment complaints of top women wrestlers against Wrestling Federation of India president and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
The intervention by the police came within 24 hours of a Bench led by Chief Justice of India D. Y. Chandrachud remarking that the allegations were “serious”. Seven women wrestlers had urgently moved the Supreme Court. The court has listed the case on April 28.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, in his urgent mentioning for the police on Wednesday, seemed to give a reason for the non-registration of the FIR by highlighting the “need” for a “preliminary enquiry”. But the law officer, in the same breath, added that if the court felt an FIR was required to be registered immediately, the police would definitely do so.
“We felt this needs some preliminary enquiry… But if this court orders, then yes, FIR can be registered. But we feel some enquiry should be there,” Mr. Mehta submitted.
Chief Justice Chandrachud advised him to be present when the case is taken up for hearing on Friday. “Mr. Solicitor, if you need us to see any material, you can bring it to us. We will see… This case involves a minor,” Chief Justice Chandrachud addressed Mr. Mehta.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the women wrestlers on Tuesday, had pointed out in court that even police officers who had refused to register an FIR ought to be prosecuted.
“FIR is not being registered because the accused is a Member of Parliament of the ruling party… The last of the complaints is by a minor. The young girl was 16 at the time. The accused is the president of the Wrestling Federation of India… Even the police officers can be prosecuted for not registering an offence of this nature,” Mr. Sibal had submitted on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Mr. Sibal intervened and said his clients wanted to file an additional affidavit. He said there had been “developments” since the court took the case onboard. The court had explicitly underscored the gravity of the issue in its judicial order on April 25.
“There are serious allegations of sexual harassment in the petition, which is instituted by professional international wrestlers who have represented India. The matter requires the consideration of this court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Constitution,” the court had recorded.