Seven women wrestlers have told the Supreme Court that it is crucial that police take all complaints of sexual harassment seriously and register FIRs (first information reports) promptly and not create yet another obstacle by delaying the registration.
However, the attitude of the police was shockingly rude towards the complainants.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued notice to Delhi police on a plea by wrestlers seeking a direction for registration of an FIR against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
The plea said women athletes who make our nation proud are facing sexual harassment and, instead of getting the support they deserve, they are being forced to run from pillar to post to get justice.
It said the accused person in this case is an influential person and is misusing the process of law to evade justice and further manipulating the legal system and obstructing justice.
The plea said that "it is crucial that the police take all complaints of sexual harassment seriously and register FIRs promptly and not create yet another obstacle by delaying the registration of FIR."
"Failure to do so not only undermine the credibility of the police department but also emboldens perpetrators of sexual harassment, making it more difficult for women to come forward and report such incidents."
The plea contended that, despite filing complaints which ex-facie disclose the commission of a cognisable offence, the Delhi police in complete disregard of the law laid down by the constitutional bench of the apex court has failed to register FIRs against the persons accused therein.
"Inspite of the lapse of three days i.e., from April 21-24, no conclusive action has been taken by the Delhi Police. This clearly depicts a sad state of affairs and a clear violation of human rights. It is the responsibility of the police to ensure the safety of all citizens especially of those who are most vulnerable, however, having miserably failed to discharge their duties, the very institution that is meant to safeguard them," said the plea.
The petitioners submitted that on 21st April, they went to the police station at Connaught Place, with their formal written complaints and the police took the complaints and did not even issue a formal receipt of the complaint for about three hours.
"The Police officials were seen taking pictures of the complaints on their mobiles and sending the same here and there. The attitude of the police was shockingly rude towards the complainants. This is a grave injustice and a clear violation of their human rights," said the plea.
The plea contended that after being sexually, emotionally, mentally and physically exploited by the accused and his close aids on numerous occasions, the petitioners along with other wrestlers mustered up the courage to raise their voices before the appropriate authority against such acts and sat on protest (dharna) at Jantar Mantar seeking appropriate action against the perpetrators.
It added that the ministry of sports in wake of such allegations against the accused person, vide public notice dated 23rd January decided to constitute a five- member oversight committee to investigate the allegations on the receipt of the complaints received on the behest of the petitioners.
"The oversight committee took note of the allegations and the statements of the victims were recorded. However, it is distressing to know that despite the committee being formed, no concrete steps have been taken to address this critical issue.
"Further, as per print media, it is in circulation that the accused in fact has been given clean-chit in the matter and the report of the committee is lying at the Ministry of Sports and despite requests the report is not being made public," said the petition.
The top court is likely to take up the petition for hearing on Friday.
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