Hugging a woman without sexual intent not an offence, outgoing WFI chief tells court

The allegations against him are time barred, says Singh

BJP MP and Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh | PTI BJP MP and Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh | PTI

Outgoing Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, accused in a case of alleged sexual harassment of women wrestlers, on Wednesday told a Delhi court that hugging or touching a woman without a sexual intent is not an offence.

Singh made the submissions before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Harjeet Singh Jaspal through his lawyer while opposing framing of charges against him.

The court on Wednesday started hearing arguments on point of whether to frame the charges against Singh and co-accused and suspended WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar.

Advocate Rajiv Mohan, appearing for Singh, further told the court that the allegations were time barred.

"These cosmetic grounds won't hold that I (complainant) was under threat. If you (complainants) are moving freely and for five years you did not come forward and then saying that you were under threat is not a valid explanation," he said.

The counsel added that the court had no jurisdiction to try the case since the offences are alleged to have been committed outside India.

If we take these allegations, Indian jurisdiction only lies in three of these allegations. The offences committed outside India cannot be tried by the court due to the lack of sanction under. Two offences are related to Ashoka Road and Siri Fort. Offence at Siri Fort is only of hugging... Touching a woman without a criminal force or sexual intent is not an offence," he said.

Mohan added that wrestling is such an event, mostly coaches are male. Female coaches are rare. If a coach, out of joy, after an achievement, is hugging a player, it can't fall under the category of offence... The event is such and if a male coach hugs a player out of anxiety is not an offence.

The court will continue to hear the matter on Thursday.

The metropolitan court had on July 20 granted bail to Singh and Tomar on a bond of Rs 25,000 each with certain conditions, including they shall not leave the country without the court's prior permission and not offer any inducement to witnesses.

The Delhi Police had filed a charge sheet against the six-time MP on June 15 under sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354-A (sexual harassment), 354-D (stalking) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. 

ūüď£ The Week is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TheWeekmagazine) and stay updated with the latest headlines