Delhi HC seeks Centre’s clear stand on management of WFI

Delhi HC seeks Centre’s clear stand on management of WFI

New Delh:The Delhi High Court asked the Centre on Tuesday to file an affidavit stating its “clear stand” as regards 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.

Dealing with a petition filed by wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and her husband Satyawart Kadian, Justice Sachin Datta also asked the IOA to file an affidavit indicating the circumstances in which it decided to dissolve the ad-hoc committee last month.

Represented in the court by senior advocate Rahul Mehra, the petitioners argued that it was imperative 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 ad-hoc committee was formed in December last year after the sports ministry suspended the WFI.

The petitioners -- who were at the forefront of last year’s protest at Jantar Mantar demanding the arrest of former WFI chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for the alleged sexual harassment of seven women grapplers -- moved the high court earlier this year to get the elections held by the federation set aside.

The court said “unfortunately”, the sports ministry’s affidavit filed in the matter was “vague” and did not deal with the “salient aspects” of the matter, such as continuation of the WFI’s suspension, dissolution of the ad-hoc committee and consequently, who would be in-charge of the federation’s affairs.

“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 Datta said.

The court said important decisions have to be taken by the federation in relation to the sport of wrestling, including selection of players, and a clear stand of the Centre is required in the matter.

“At the request of the counsel for the Union, opportunity is granted to the ministry to file an affidavit taking a clear stand on the issue. Let the same be filed in one week,” the court said, adding that the joint secretary and director concerned at the IOA shall also join the proceedings on the next date of hearing.

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