Delhi High Court Seeks response from WFI and Ministry on Wrestlers’ Petition


The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the Centre, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), and the Ad-Hoc Committee of the governing body in response to 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 WFI as illegal due to violations of the Sports Code.

Wrestlers file a petition against WFI elections

The wrestlers, represented through senior advocate Rahul Mehra, were at the forefront of last year’s protest at Jantar Mantar, demanding the arrest of former Chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for alleged sexual harassment of seven women grapplers. The plea contended that the elections, held on December 21, 2023, were in blatant violation of the Sports Code.

Sanjay Kumar Singh, a close associate of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, was elected as the new president of the WFI during the election. The petitioners have accused the WFI of several wrongdoings.

The Delhi High Court has granted time to the central government’s standing counsel Anil Soni to get instructions on the matter and listed the plea for further hearing on March 7. This case highlights the ongoing issues within the WFI and the wrestling community’s efforts to ensure fair and transparent governance. It remains to be seen how the court’s decision will impact the future of wrestling in India.

What does the Wrestlers’ Petition say

“The petitioner prays the court may be pleased to set aside and declare 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 said.

The wrestlers also accused the WFI of several wrongdoings. The main grievance of the wrestlers is that WFI is trying to silence and sideline them, impacting their prospects of participating in international events.

“Every possible means have been deployed by respondent no. 2/WFI to muffle the voices of the protesting petitioners and deprive them of any future scope of participation at the international level irrespective of their merit and competence,” the petition said.

The petitioners have sought a direction to the ad-hoc committee to continue taking care of the day-to-day affairs and management of the Federation or, in the alternative, appoint a retired Supreme Court judge as an administrator to take over the affairs and management of the body.

Also Read: Wrestler Antim Panghal set to miss the Asian Championship with an injury