According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the average AQI was measured at 314 on Sunday. As such, people did not get any respite from the bad air quality.
A Delhi court on Wednesday started hearing arguments on framing of charges against Bharatiya Janata Party MP and former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh in connection with the sexual harassment case of female wrestlers.
Appearing for Singh, advocate Rajiv Mohan contended before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Harjeet Singh Jaspal of Rouse Avenue Court, that since there is no sanction under Section 188 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the offences alleged to have been committed outside India cannot be tried by this court, and the offences committed outside the local jurisdiction of the national court, cannot be tried by this court.
The Delhi Police’s charge sheet running over 1,000 pages was filed before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Mahima Rai for the offences under Sections 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (making sexually coloured remarks), and 354D (stalking) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Singh.
During the hearing on Wednesday, Mohan argued that the allegations are barred by limitation as Section 354A of the IPC provides for maximum punishment for three years and since the allegations pertain to the period of 2017-18, barring one, the bar of limitation is applicable.
Hence, it was argued that the police report does not furnish any sufficient explanation for the said delay (in filing FIR) and no generic explanation can be accepted to condone the delay.
He also argued that it is settled law that if there is an enquiry by the Internal Sexual Harassment Committee and in the findings the accused is exonerated, on the same allegations, arising out of same facts, there can be no fresh prosecution.
The court was informed by the State that Additional Public Prosecutor (APP) Atul Srivastava, who has been assigned this case, is on leave till the last week of August.
Since the court had on August 4 said that it would start hearing arguments from Wednesday until Friday (August 9 to 11), the court said that the absence of the APP shall have the effect of delay in proceedings, and that this court is a special court constituted for expeditious and speedy disposal of cases pertaining to MPs and MLAs.
“Let an intimation in this regard be sent to the Director of Prosecution, along with a request to file a suitable reply,” ACMM Jaspal said.
Both Singh and co-accused former WFI assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar, on Wednesday appeared before the court. The court had recently granted bail to Singh and Tomar. On the grant of bail, the accused were directed by the court to not leave the country without its prior intimation and not, directly or indirectly, indulge in threat or inducement to the complainants or witnesses.
“Please ensure that all the conditions are meticulously followed,” ACMM Jaspal had said.
APP Srivastava had earlier reiterated that Singh may influence witnesses, hence conditions be imposed while granting bail. In the order, the court had recorded:
“… APP submits that he is neither opposing nor supporting the bail application. His submission is only that court should deal with bail application as per law, rules, guidelines and judgements of Supreme Court.”
Even advocate Harsh Bora, appearing for the complainants, had said: “If your honour is inclined to grant bail, strict conditions may be imposed.” Mohan had submitted that they will abide by all conditions. “There was no threat. And if they are apprehending, I am undertaking that no such incident will happen,” he had submitted.
Earlier, the court had also granted “interim” bail to Singh and Tomar. Mohan had submitted before court that since the charge sheet was filed before arrest, he is filing bail bonds. However, Srivastava, appearing for Delhi Police, had said: “We (Delhi Police) have not arrested him. We leave it to my lord. Condition must be there… I oppose it with condition that he shouldn’t influence witness.”
The court had on July 7 summoned Singh and Tomar in the case. It took note of the charge sheet filed in the case, responding to the claims made by six women wrestlers who have accused Singh of engaging in sexual harassment and intimidation. Tomar has been accused of offences under Sections 109 (abetting officer), 354, 354A, 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC.
Reportedly, the charge sheet contains statements of around 200 witnesses. In the FIR registered at Connaught Place police station, it has been alleged by the six grapplers that Singh allegedly attempted to coerce one athlete into sexual acts by offering to provide her with “supplements”, invited another wrestler to his bed and hugged her, besides assaulting and inappropriately touching other athletes.