The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra State Wrestling Association (MSWA) to file an appeal before the President of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) challenging the alleged ‘sudden dissolution’ of MSWA’s elected committee led by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar.
The Bench of Justices SV Gangapurwala and MJ Jamdar was informed by WFI that there is a remedy for appeal before the president of WFI and in light of that the petition need not be kept pending before the high court.
However, advocate Akshay Kapadia appearing for MSWA, asked, “The question is whether the person who has passed the impugned order, can he adjudicate on my appeal?”
However, the bench said that it would either vacate the interim relief and admit the petition or if MSWA agreed to go to the appellate authority, then it would extend the interim relief and the doors of the high court would remain open for them to challenge the decision of the appellate authority if needed. “We are directing you to take the alternate remedy,” said the bench.
Kapadia then agreed and Advocate Ajinkya Udane appearing for WFI submitted that the interim relief granted to the petitioners could continue. The interim relief was the statement of WFI not disclosing the results of the fresh elections would continue till the appeal is heard and finally disposed off and 10 days after that.
Accepting the statement, the Bench further directed WFI to decide the appeal within 30 days of its filing.
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The MSWA in its plea pointed out that the committee had been controlled by Pawar for the last 40 years. However, in a recent National Executive Meeting, the WFI headed by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP took a decision to dissolve the committee.
This sudden decision was challenged by the MSWA claiming the dissolution decision was taken in an arbitrary manner.
The association also cited news reports which claimed that control of the MSWA was being handed over to Ramdas Tadas, a BJP MP from Wardha constituency. There was also an election that was held and it was right before the declaration of results that the petition was filed.
Citing newspaper reports, the plea pointed out that on the date of withdrawal of nomination forms for election, some contenders ‘very conveniently’ withdrew their forms and a new body was selected, with all posts being filled without elections in an unopposed manner.
Lately, MSWA had filed a contempt petition against WFI and it’s president. The fresh petition sought that the court issue notice and requisite sanction on Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, President of WFI and the body for violating orders passed by the court in it’s earlier petition.
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WFI had in an earlier hearing made a statement not disclosing the results of the new election till the writ petition is disposed off. However, the association brought to the court’s attention a social media post of the president of the WFI, where he congratulated the newly elected members.
Udane, however, stated that there had been no contempt. He pointed out that the number of candidates who stood for election versus the posts were equal and the election had been unopposed. In light of this, even the contempt petition had been disposed off.