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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 05 March 2024

Supreme Court decision paves way for long-stalled Wrestling Federation of India elections

The Supreme Court recently set aside the stay imposed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, paving the way for the process to elect the new WFI governing body

PTI New Delhi Published 05.12.23, 05:16 PM
Indian wreslers Sakshi Mallik, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat during the protest earlier in May

Indian wreslers Sakshi Mallik, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat during the protest earlier in May File photo

The notification to hold the stalled Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) elections could be issued on or after December 8, the date set for inclusion of any changes in the electoral college published earlier this year.

The Supreme Court recently set aside the stay imposed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, paving the way for the process to elect the new WFI governing body.

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An IOA-constituted ad-hoc panel, led by Wushu Association of India chief Bhupender Singh Bajwa, is currently managing the day-to-day activities of the WFI after the sports ministry suspended the federation headed by Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over allegations of sexual harassment levelled by top Indian grapplers.

Several wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, sat in protest at the Jantar Mantar here for more than two months to protest alleged sexual harassment of female grapplers by Brij Bhushan.

The election process, which was set in motion in July, has been delayed because of court cases. This has further led to the suspension of the WFI by the international federation, United World Wrestling, for failing to conduct fresh polls in the time stipulated by them.

Indian wrestlers continue to participate in international competitions under the UWW flag because of the suspension of the national body.

But with the Supreme Court clearing the path for the elections, the returning officer, Justice (retd) MM Kumar, held a meeting on November 30 and asked Bajwa if there is any change in the electoral college notified on July 25, 2023 for the polls, initially scheduled on August 12.

"The way is paved for holding elections of WFI which were stayed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on August 11, just a day before the date fixed for holding elections," said a statement from the office of the returning officer.

"Returning officer asked Mr Bajwa to inform if there is any change in the electoral college already notified on 25.07.2023... he was asked to provide this information at the earliest. Mr Bajwa sought one week time. Let complete information be furnished within 5 days i.e. on or before 8th December so that final notification for holding elections be issued," said the statement issued by assistant returning officer Tapas Bhattacharya.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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