Delhi HC instructs BFI to complete elections by Feb 3, Adv Shelar welcomes decision

by Priya J

New Delhi, January: In a strongly worded oral order, the Delhi High Court instructed the recalcitrant Boxing Federation of India (BFI) to strictly adhere to its revised election schedule, and complete the entire process by February 3, 2021.

Taking up the Uttar Pradesh boxing Association’s petition against president Ajay Singh’s unilateral decision to circumvent the democratic process in December, the Court ruled that there was no question of not sticking to the schedule any further.

The BFI had postponed the elections from December 18, after the process had begun, earning the wrath of the Court as well as the boxing fraternity. After the Court’s earlier intervention, Ajay Singh reinitiated the entire procedure, starting with the calling notice for an AGM to be sent out on January 13.

“I welcome the Court’s instruction not to delay the elections any further under one pretext or another as we need to get our house in order in the year of the Olympics,” Advocate Ashish Shelar, who had filed his nomination papers to contest for the BFI president’s post, said.

It is believed that incumbent Ajay Singh had not only postponed the elections but had also tried to extend his own term for three to six months after seeing his turf coming under threat.

The High Court also noted the objections of the petitioners, including one from BFI’s secretary-general Jay Kowli, that the Returning Officer Retd. Judge Rajesh Tandon had exceeded the powers vested in him and had even changed the names in the electoral college. The Petitioner was represented by Sr. Adv. Sudhir Nandrajog and Adv. Shohit Chaudhry.

“At least three legitimate names had been struck off from the voters’ list last time, taking away the rights of a state unit. I, as an experienced sports administrator, was very pained to see that. I can assure every member and state unit that I will fight for their rights each and every time,” Adv. Shelar, a former Maharashtra sports minister and MCA president and a powerful leader in the BJP, promised.

Interestingly, the Bengal Amateur Boxing Association, who had seen its president’s nominations for the electoral college being rejected by the Returning Officer, had filed an intervention petition, seeking to protect his rights.

The Court ruled that the BFI constitution and relevant rules and regulations must be followed in letter and spirit by all the office-bearers, as well as the Returning Officer. “In case there is any grievance with regard to the procedure, the parties would have the right to seek appropriate remedy,” it said while disposing off the petition.