Punjab and Haryana High Court stays WFI elections

- August 11, 2023
| By : Patriot Bureau |

The elections, which were scheduled to be held on Saturday, will not take place in wake of Court order

<strong>STARS PROTEST: </strong> Vinesh and Bajrang Punia were at the forefront of wrestlers' protest against former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh

The proposed elections to the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), which were scheduled to be held on Saturday, August 12, will not be held after the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued a stay on Friday.

“The elections of the Wrestling Federation of India have been stayed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court today. Therefore, no polling will be held tomorrow on 12th August 2023. Next dates shall be announced later,” said Justice MM Kumar, the Returning Officer for the elections, through a statement on Friday.

The elections had gained hype due to the tussle between some top international wrestlers like Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and former WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who was forced to step down amid allegations of sexual exploitation.

The election for the new president was a contest between two candidates backed by Brij Bhushan – Delhi and UP wrestling body chiefs — and Anita Sheoran, who has the backing of protesting wrestlers.

According to those in the know of the matter, the WFI factions backing Brij Bhushan may now likely approach the Supreme Court against the stay. However, there has been no official intimation regarding this.

The High Court stay came in response to the Haryana Wrestling Association (HWA) challenging the move to allow Haryana Amateur Wrestling Association (HAWA) to cast votes in WFI elections.

HWA is affiliated to the WFI and Haryana Olympic Association and is backed by the protesting wrestlers. Rival faction HAWA, also affiliated to WFI but only through a Haryana Olympic Association treasurer’s letter, has the backing of Brij Bhushan. HWA is contesting that the affiliation to HAWA is invalid since only the general body can approve it and not a single office-bearer.

Following the stay, the wrestlers also did not hold the press conference they were expected to hold on Friday.