Former SC judge slams Delhi Police over action against protesting wrestlers
Justice Lokur pointed out that the WFI did not have a committee to deal with complaints of sexual harassment, which is against the law.
NEW DELHI: Former Supreme Court judge Madan B Lokur slammed the Delhi Police on Tuesday for its handling of the cases lodged against outgoing Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhusan Sharan Singh and its treatment of the protesting wrestlers against whom FIRs have been registered.
Participating in a panel discussion on "Wrestlers' Struggle: Accountability of Institutions", Justice Lokur said a "re-victimisation" of the victims has taken place as the grapplers continue to wait for justice.
"This is a clear case of re-victimisation....The wrestlers have said they are under pressure," he said.
The former apex court judge said the wrestlers were forced to take to the streets as their complaints against Singh, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP, were not addressed and slammed the Delhi police for delaying the procedure.
Justice Lokur also pointed out that the WFI did not have a committee to deal with complaints of sexual harassment, which is against the law.
"When the protest started in January, it was not like they decided to go to Jantar Mantar straight away. The sexual harassment had started much earlier. They made complaints, but there was no complaints committee in the wrestling federation," he said.
Justice Lokur also talked about the threat perception for the protesting wrestlers and pointed out that the Supreme Court had said security should be provided to them.
"We saw the ugly scenes that happened on May 28...the victims are being told that they are criminals because they staged a protest," he said.
Supreme Court lawyer Brinda Grover alleged that the State has been in breach of law in the wrestlers' case.
"It is mandatory under law to have an internal complaints committee. The State is in breach of law by not having an ICC in the wrestling federation," she said.
Grover said the courts need to see the situation through a different lens where the State is using its agencies to subvert law.
She said through this case, signals are being sent across that women should not report a sexual crime against powerful individuals.
India's top wrestlers, including two Olympic medallists and a world champion, have been demanding action against the WFI chief, who has been accused of sexual harassment by female grapplers.
The wrestlers first took to the streets in January and were told that a committee would look into their allegations.
The committee's report has not been made public.
The wrestlers sat on protest at Jantar Mantar on April 23.
They were forcibly removed by the Delhi Police on May 28, the day the new Parliament building was inaugurated.