The Bombay High Court Wednesday directed Maharashtra State Wrestling Association (MSWA) to file an appeal before the president of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) challenging the “sudden dissolution” of the MSWA’s elected executive committee led by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar.
The WFI, in its response to the MSWA’s plea, stated that there is a remedy of appeal before the WFI president and the same can be exercised by the Maharashtra wrestling body.
The court noted that the MSWA will have to file an appeal within 10 days from Wednesday and the appellate authority will decide on the same within 30 days thereafter.
Moreover, the counsel representing the WFI said that it will continue its earlier undertaking that it will not declare election results for the new committee and the same will be maintained till ten days after the appeal is disposed of.
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The court also disposed of a contempt petition filed by the MSWA against the president of the WFI for allegedly acting beyond its undertaking given to the court on July 29 of not declaring the results for the new body and disclosing the names of the candidates who were elected to various posts of the Maharashtra wrestling body.
A division bench of Justice Sanjay V Gangapurwala and Justice Madhav J Jamdar was hearing a plea by the MSWA, filed through its executive member Vinayak Gadhave, which said that the committee was controlled by Pawar for nearly four decades.
However, in a June 30 meeting of the WFI’s national executive, the national body, headed by BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh Brijbhushan Sharan, Singh took a decision to dissolve the said committee, citing the state body’s failure to conduct certain tournaments. The MSWA said that such a sudden decision was taken in an “arbitrary” manner.
The MSWA referred to a news report which said that the state body’s control was being handed over to Ramdas Tadas, BJP MP from Wardha.
The plea filed through advocate Tushar Pawar said that the committee headed by Pawar was elected in 2019 for five years and its tenure was to end in 2023. The association challenged a July 4 WFI communication through which the committee’s general secretary B S Landge was informed that their committee had been dissolved and an ad-hoc committee had been appointed for the functioning of the association.
The petition said that such a communication was given without any showcause notice to the petitioner and the same was against the WFI’s constitution.
After advocate Ajinkya Udane for the WFI submitted that there was a provision of appeal before the WFI president and the MSWA’a counsel advocate Akshay Kapadia agreed to the same.
Responding to the MSWA’s contempt plea, Udane submitted that the names of new appointees to the committee were not disclosed as alleged by the petitioner and therefore the WFI was not in contempt of the court and abided by the undertaking it had given to the court.
Udane added that the social media post of the WFI president to which the petitioner referred did not disclose the results of the election. The court took the WFI’s statement on record and disposed of the contempt plea.