Delhi HC Seeks Centre’s Response on Wrestlers’ Plea Against WFI Elections


The Delhi High Court on Monday sought responses from the Centre and the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Monday regarding a petition filed by wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and her husband Satyawart Kadian. The petition seeks to declare the December 2023 elections held by the sports body as illegal and to set them aside.

A bench of Justice Sachin Datta issued notices to the Central government, WFI, and the Ad-Hoc Committee of WFI on the petition. The court granted time to the Central government’s standing counsel Anil Soni to obtain instructions in the matter and listed the plea for further hearing on March 7, 2024.

The wrestlers, represented by senior advocate Rahul Mehra, were prominent figures in last year’s protest at Jantar Mantar, demanding the arrest of former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for alleged sexual harassment of seven women grapplers. Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan represented the WFI.

The plea argued that the WFI elections, conducted on December 21, 2023, violated the Sports Code and sought a directive for the federation to “cease and desist” from any wrestling-related activities.

Sanjay Kumar Singh, a close associate of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, was elected as the new president of the WFI during the election.

“The petitioner prays the court may be pleased to set aside and declare the elections held by R2/WFI on December 21, 2023, as illegal and void ab-initio since the same has been held in blatant violation of the sports code,” the petition stated.

The petitioners accused the WFI of various wrongdoings, including conducting selection trials against the directives of the ad-hoc Committee for Wrestling Federation of India.

It alleged that the WFI attempted to silence and sideline them, affecting their chances of participating in international events.

The plea sought a direction for the ad-hoc committee to continue managing the day-to-day affairs of the WFI or, alternatively, to appoint a retired Supreme Court judge as an administrator to take over the body’s affairs.

It further claimed that the WFI has been a “habitual offender” as it repeatedly flouted directions from the Sports Ministry and the ad-hoc committee, negatively impacting the career prospects of Indian wrestlers.”

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