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HC sets aside election of Wrestling Federation of India chief

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday set aside the poll process conducted by Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for selection of its president and ordered a fresh election for the post.

"The orders dated April 5, 2011 and April 8, 2011 of the returning officer, insofar as they hold that Article XIII(d) was effective and operative in relation to the election process in question, and insofar as the petitioners nomination for the post of President was rejected, are set aside.”

"The respondent number one (Wrestling Federation of India) is directed to initiate fresh process for holding the election to the post of president in terms of its amended constitution forthwith. The notification for conduct of elections should be issued within the next two weeks," Justice Vipin Sanghi said.

The court said that the elections held by the WFI during April 5-15, 2011 were illegal.

The decision came on a petition of office bearers of the Haryana Wrestling Association (HWA) seeking quashing of the election of "respondents Dushyant Sharma, Raj Singh and Hamza Bin Omar as the president, secretary general and senior vice president respectively of WFI".

It was alleged the election of WFI office bearers were held in violation of the constitution of WFI.

However, later HWA and its officials chose not to dispute election of other office bearers of WFI except the selection of Dushyant Sharma as the WFI president.

The court, however, made it clear that though it quashed the election of president only, but others may also approach and contest the election of other office bearers of the WFI.

"However, since the petitioner has given up the challenge to the elections for the posts of senior vice president and general secretary in the election process in question, and the same has not been challenged before me in these proceedings, the elections to the said posts is sustained, without prejudice to the rights of any other person to challenge the same independently in other proceedings," the court said.

"I also find merit in the petitioner’s submission that the election has not been fairly held, on account of the tight time schedule fixed by the then general secretary for conduct of elections…”

"Pertinently, the publication of the Electoral College was scheduled for April 5, 2011, that is on the same day on which the process of filing of nomination papers of candidates for various posts members of the Executive Committee started," it said.

It is well-known that unless an eligible member, who may be desirous of contesting the elections is made aware of the electoral college, he may not be able to take a call on whether, or not, to file his nomination, it said.

"A candidate is entitled to know as to who all constitute the electoral college sufficiently in advance so as to enable him to assess his chance on the basis of the support that he may enlist. It is for this reason that not only the government observer, but even the government itself called upon the respondent/WFI to fix a time schedule which would lead to conduct of elections in a transparent manner and to maintain the purity of the election process," the court, in its 33-page judgement, said.

PTI

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