Take clear stand on running of WFI, Delhi High Court tells Centre

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Last year, the wrestlers led a protest demanding the arrest of former WFI chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for the alleged sexual harassment of seven women grapplers

Last year, the wrestlers led a protest demanding the arrest of former WFI chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for the alleged sexual harassment of seven women grapplers
| Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Delhi High Court on April 2 asked the Centre to submit its ‘clear stand’ on managing the Wrestling Federation of India’s (WFI) affairs after the dissolution of the Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) ad-hoc committee running the suspended body.

The court, hearing a petition filed by wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and her husband Satyawart Kadian, asked the IOA to file an affidavit indicating the circumstances under which it decided to dissolve the ad-hoc committee last month.

“The Centre cannot be allowed to be evasive. They have to take a clear stand. Today, I want to know what is the system of administration and management (of the WFI) that they have set up,” Justice Sachin Datta of the high court said.

The petitioners, represented by senior advocate Rahul Mehra, argued that an administrator be appointed to run the affairs of the suspended federation, which has been rendered “headless” on account of the disbandment of the ad-hoc committee. The committee was formed last December after the sports ministry suspended WFI.

The petitioners had moved the high court earlier this year urging it to set aside the elections held by the federation. Their plea contended that the WFI elections, held on December 21, 2023, were in violation of the Sports Code. The petitioners were also at the forefront of last year’s protest demanding the arrest of former WFI chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for the alleged sexual harassment of seven women grapplers.

The petitioners have sought a direction to the ad-hoc committee to continue administering the day-to-day affairs and management of the 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 high court will hear the case again on April 10.

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