Veteran wrestlers from Punjab move Delhi HC against WFI

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has sought the Centre`s response on a plea of veteran wrestlers, who have been denied visas to participate in an event to be held in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The wrestlers have contended that Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) refused assistance to them for participating in Veteran World Championship to be held from October 1-6 in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Under the banner of Veteran Wrestling Federation of India (VWFI), they have sought an order directing the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and WFI to render all necessary assistance to them in granting of visas as well as authority letters needed by them for participating in the championship.

Issuing notices to Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, WFI and its Assistant Secretary, Justice V K Jain asked them to reply by September 30 on the plea filed by the wrestlers, who have won various medals in international events like Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, seeking the court`s intervention against the government`s non-action.

The court also asked the government to consider the petitioners` representation and take a decision by Monday.

"... Union of India is directed to treat the plea... As representation of the petitioners for the purpose of participation in the Veteran World Championship... And take a decision on the representation at the earliest possible and as far as possible on or before Monday (September 30, 2013)," Justice Jain said recently in an order.

In the plea filed through counsel Ravi Prakash Gupta, the petitioners contended that WFI is headed by a politician who has no knowledge about sports and is not allowing them to take part in the championship.

According to the plea, "petitioner no 1 - Kartar Singh, who is presently the Secretary of Jalandhar-based VWFI, in case he wins gold medal this time, his name would be recorded in the Guinness Book of World Record for having won gold medal 17 times...A world record, as he has already won gold medal 16 times and once silver".

But due to rivalry in the past with Singh, the WFI is penalising the whole team of VWFI by not providing any assistance to them for the global event, the petitioners contended.

The petitioners said on September 19, WFI rejected their representation for assistance to take part in the sport event, saying the Secretary of their federation (Kartar Singh) was expelled from WFI`s activities earlier.

They claimed that WFI has written letters to the embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, asking it not to entertain any application for visa for such an event.

In addition, they also wrote to the organiser of the championship to de-recognise any wrestler, if any, sent from India for the event, the petitioners claimed.

The wrestlers sought direction "restraining the Centre from granting recognition or giving grant-in-aid to WFI, which is not wholly constituted of sports persons...And thereby restraining any politician or bureaucrat having not played or coached in any national or international tournaments from occupying any membership or post in any such national sports federation, including WFI".

They also sought an order directing the ministry and WFI to render all necessary assistance to them in matters of grant of visas as well as authority letters as required by them for participating in the Veteran World Championship.