Allegations of sexual harassment against outgoing WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh were “serious” but no purpose will be served by taking him in custody at this stage, a Delhi court order released on Friday said.
The court on Thursday granted regular bail to Singh, a six-time BJP MP, and also allowed the bail application of suspended Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) assistant secretary Vinod Tomar.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Harjeet Singh Jaspal made the observations in his nine-page order passed on Thursday, which was made available on Friday.
In the order, the judge said, “In the instant case, the allegations are serious. In my view, the seriousness of the allegations, no doubt, is one of the relevant considerations while considering bail applications but it is not the only test or the factor to decide the same. When the undertrial prisoners are detained in jail for an indefinite period, Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution is violated.”
“In the matter at hand, in my considered opinion, at this stage, no purpose will be served by taking the accused persons in custody, at this stage,” he said.
The court noted that Singh and Tomar were accused of molestation/sexual assault, which carried a maximum punishment of seven years imprisonment.
The judge further noted that the accused were not arrested during the investigation and as per the police report, they cooperated in the investigation.
“At no stage, the Investigating Agency, speaking through the Additional Public Prosecutor, has expressed its apprehension that the accused persons are abusing their positions or are making attempts to tamper with evidence,” the judge noted.
What has been conveyed is that sufficient conditions must be imposed to the extent that the accused persons do not, directly or indirectly, approach the victims to influence them, he noted.
“The Additional Public Prosecutor has not even opposed the bail, his simple submission is that it must be decided in accordance with directions of the Supreme Court,” the judge observed.
The judge noted that counsel for the complainants, upon being asked, has not placed on record any specific instance where the victims were threatened.
However, the counsel has expressed his apprehension that the accused persons may approach the victims and may try to influence them in future, however, the present entails no such detail, the judge further noted.
“The law of the land is equal for all, it can neither be pulled in the favour of the victims nor can it tilt in the favour of the accused,” the judge said.
The judge directed that the accused shall not tamper with any evidence, or make any threat, inducement or promise to any victim or any other witnesses in any manner whatsoever.
“The accused persons shall attend the court whenever called. The accused persons shall not commit any similar crimes, of which they are suspected. The accused persons shall not leave the country without the prior permission of the court,” the judge directed.
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), 354A (sexual harassment), 354D (stalking) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).