Delhi HC to hear wrestlers’ plea against WFI elections today

The petition by the wrestlers, who were at the forefront of last year’s protest at Jantar Mantar here demanding the arrest of former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

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Image source: ANI

The Delhi High Court will on Monday hear a petition by wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and her husband Satyawart Kadian seeking to set aside and declare as illegal the elections held by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

The petition by the wrestlers, who were at the forefront of last year’s protest at Jantar Mantar here demanding the arrest of former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for the alleged sexual harassment of seven women grapplers, is listed for hearing before Justice Sachin Datta.

The plea contended that the WFI elections, held on December 21, were in blatant violation of Sports Code and sought a direction to the federation to “cease and desist” from undertaking any activity pertaining to the sport of wrestling.

“The present Writ Petition is being filed by the Petitioners inter alia assailing, challenging, and seeking directions against the illegal action of the suspended Wrestling Federation of India conducting selection trials for the Senior Asian Wrestling Championships 2024 and Asian Olympic Games Qualifier Wrestling Tournament notified through its circular Dt. 26.02.2024 against the directives of the Ad-Hoc Committee for Wrestling Federation of India,” the petition said.

“The Petitioners would like to place on record that apart from them, there are many other athletes/wrestlers who are also facing similar harassment owing to their upright/honest stand against Respondent No. 2/WFI and its officials over the illegalities by Respondent No.2 in collusion and under instructions of Respondent No. 2’s/WFI former President and member of Parliament from Kaiserganj constituency namely Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Every possible means have been deployed by Respondent No. 2/WFI to muffle the voices of the Protesting Petitioners and deprive them from any future scope of participation at the international level irrespective of their merit and competence,” it added.

The petitioner further sought a direction to the ad-hoc committee to continue administering the day-to-day affairs and management of WFI or in the alternative, appoint a retired Supreme Court judge as an administrator to take over the affairs and management of the body.

The petition claimed the WFI has been a “habitual offender” as it has deliberately flouted directions passed by the Sports Ministry and the ad-hoc committee on multiple occasions, which has adversely affected the career prospects of Indian wrestlers.

While the WFI had been instructed by the ministry to abstain from the administration and management of the day-to-day activities of the federation and from undertaking any trial or conduct any nationals, they have deliberately tried to call for nationals and selection trials and continues to organize and conduct illegal trials and events, it said.

“The Petitioner most humbly prays the court may be pleased to set aside and declare elections held by R2/WFI on 21.12.2023 as illegal and void ab-initio since the same has been held in blatant violation of the sports code,” the petition prayed. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DNA staff and is published from PTI)

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