WFI election deadline of June 30 looks daunting
The source, nonetheless, is confident that the world governing body will have no problem extending the deadline if the IOA or the ad hoc body requests it.
CHENNAI: After meeting with the protesting wrestlers, Union sports minister Anurag Thakur on Wednesday said that the elections of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) will be held by the end of the month. The suggestion to hold the polls by June 30 was given by the wrestlers and Thakur said all the proposals including that of the elections were agreed to unanimously.
The declaration might raise hopes for a new elected body in place this month but given the WFI's constitution, which was amended till June 30 last year, chances of that happening look slim.
Article XIII of the constitution deals with voting in the WFI. According to it, voting can be done in the annual general meeting (AGM) and special general meeting (SGM). For calling an AGM, a 30-day clear notice is required while a 21-day clear notice is needed to hold an SGM as per Article XI. Taking the constitution and existing situation in mind, it will be prudent to hold elections in the SGM.
But there is a catch even in that. Going by the notice period, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), which has been asked to appoint a retired High Court judge to ensure a fair and transparent election, has only 24 hours if it wishes to adhere to the specified deadline.
What makes it more difficult is the fact that it has yet to appoint a retired High Court judge who can act as a returning officer for the elections. Besides, it has to inform United World Wrestling (UWW) as well since they will send an observer for the elections.
"If the IOA wants to conduct elections by June 30, it should send the notice for the SGM by June 9 (Friday), which in turn means it has only one day to appoint the returning officer. It looks highly unlikely at the moment," a source keeping track of the developments told this daily.
The UWW, earlier, in its statement clearly mentioned that the 45-day deadline given for the elections should be abided by. The IOA constituted an ad hoc committee on April 27 to run the day-to-day affairs of the WFI. It eventually assumed charge on April 4 setting the deadline as June 17. The source, nonetheless, is confident that the world governing body will have no problem extending the deadline if the IOA or the ad hoc body requests it. "It will be not an issue as the UWW will not have any hesitation in extending the 45-day deadline," the source said.
Another thing that can complicate the issue is Article XII which specifies that the SGM can be summoned by the president at any time at his discretion and/or shall be summoned, on a written requisition signed by presidents and secretaries of not less than 50% member units, within 40 days from the date of receipt of the said requisition.
With the president sidelined because of serious allegations levelled against him by the wrestlers, the onus is on presidents and secretaries of the member units. Availing that requisition in such a short span of time could also be a challenge.