Ex-WFI chief questions Delhi court's jurisdiction to try sexual harassment case against him
The alleged offenses occurred in Tokyo, Mongolia, Bulgaria, Jakarta, Kazakhstan, Turkey, etc and thus cannot be tried in this court, argued Singh's counsel
Former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on Monday questioned the jurisdiction of a Delhi court trying a sexual harassment case against him by six Indian women wrestlers, claiming that there was no action or consequence which happened in India.
"There is no action or consequence which has happened in India and therefore, the alleged offences which, as per the Prosecution, have happened in Tokyo, Mongolia, Bulgaria, Jakarta, Kazakhistan, Turkey, etc., cannot be tried by this court," Singh's counsel Rajiv Mohan submitted before the court.
Additional chief metropolitan magistrate Harjeet Singh Jaspal was hearing arguments on whether to frame charges against him.
Singh contested that this court had no jurisdiction to try any offence which was allegedly committed "outside" India.
Public prosecutor (PP) Atul Kumar Srivastava, however, said the act of sexual harassment of the victims was a continuing offence, as it did not stop at any particular time.
“The accused molested the victims whenever he got the opportunity and such harassment cannot be looked in isolated brackets and the series or the chain thereof needs to be seen as one,” he said.
After a brief hearing, the judge granted three weeks to the counsel in the case to file their written arguments. The judge also stressed before the parties that the arguments shall be concluded in a systematic manner, and listed the case for hearing next on 22 November.
Last time, Singh had urged the court to discharge him claiming material contradictions in the statements of witnesses against him. Mohan, appearing for Singh, had argued that as per the law, the Oversight Committee had to recommend the registration of an FIR within seven days, but since in the matter at hand, no such recommendation has been made, it is safe to assume that the committee did not find a prima facie case against the accused.
“Since no prima facie case was found out by the Oversight Committee, and since no case was found out, no FIR was registered, it automatically amounts to exoneration,” Mohan had told the court.
He had further claimed that the statements made before the Oversight Committee and the statements recorded under section 164 CrPC have material contradictions and that the statements made later in time (U/S 164) have material improvements and, therefore are liable to be rejected in toto.
“Since there are material contradictions in the statements of the prosecution witnesses, that itself calls for discharge of the accused as the contradictions have the effect of taking the case away from the arena of grave suspicion, towards only mere suspicion,” the defence counsel had said.
The argument was opposed by the PP, who had said that the constitution of the Oversight Committee itself was not in accordance with law.
"There is no question of exoneration because no recommendations/ findings have been given by the said Committee," the prosecutor had said.
Delhi Police has also told the court that Singh never missed an opportunity to sexually harass women wrestlers, adding that there is sufficient evidence to frame charges against him and proceed with the trial.