The Supreme Court on Tuesday called the sexual harassment allegations against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh "serious" and issued notice to the Delhi Police in the matter.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justice P.S. Narasimha, said: "There are serious allegation in plea on behest of international wrestlers with regards to sexual harassment meted out to them. Issue notice returnable on Friday. Liberty to serve standing counsel NCT Delhi. The complaints which form an attachment in sealed cover and shall be again resealed."
The plea was mentioned before the bench by senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Narendra Hooda, representing the wrestlers.
Sibal submitted that this is the wrestlers' matter and they are sitting in dharna, and seven women have complained and one is a minor.
He said the wrestlers have been sitting on a protest, but "the police are not acting... look at the allegations. ...Even police personnel can be prosecuted for not registering an FIR".
Citing that matter involved sexual harassment, Sibal stressed that police were bound to register a case.
The top court directed redaction of the identities of the petitioners from their petition and said that the redacted copy of the plea should be made available in the public domain.
The plea -- filed by three women wrestlers, and four complainants supporting the petition -- said they attempted several times to convince Delhi Police to register an FIR, but they failed.
The plea said women athletes who make the 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 cognizable 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.