The Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed the elections of the office bearers of the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI), the second round of which was slated to be held on September 1.

The single-bench judge of Justice Sanjiv Sachdeva also issued a notice to the sports ministry and AKFI seeking a response on the petition filed by former Tamil Nadu kabaddi player AC Thangavel before listing the matter for September 17.

The petition challenged three AKFI orders. First, one on August 7 notifying the elections, secondly the August 16 order by which an electoral roll was published and August 17 order that dismissed Thangavel’s objections without providing any reasons.

The plea said that these orders were in contradiction with the National Sports Code of India (2011) on the basis of electoral roll comprising members not qualified to be part of the electoral college.

“The sports Code requires sports bodies to be democratically governed by ensuring that its governing body is representative and not a mere perpetuation of a particular person or set of persons,” the plea said.

“However, the Federation, by holding elections with an electoral college comprising of various persons who are holding office in member state federations contrary to the mandate of the Sports Code beyond the maximum prescribed tenure and age, is permitting and perpetuating the violation of the Sports Code,” it added.

Thangavel, represented through advocates Rahul Mehra and R Arunadhri Iyer, said that the division bench of the Delhi High Court in its August last year judgement had expressed grave concern at the undemocratic and illegal manner in which the Federation was controlled by members of one particular family for over three decades without any elections and by subversions of the provisions of the Constitution and in utter disregard of the sport of kabaddi, the sportspersons and aspirants.

SP Garg, who was appointed the administrator of the AKFI by the Delhi HC last year after it quashed the appointment of Mridul Bhaduria as its president was tasked with implementing the sports code at AKFI and its affiliated state units.

However, many including Thangavel and former India player Honnappa Gowda alleged that Garg had turned a blind eye to non-compliance to the sports code by the state associations and forced an election through the electoral college.

“The sports code was not implemented but the administrator called elections through the electoral college. This way the same people will get elected again. For our sport to progress, we need to change at all levels and not just AKFI. New people must come into the associations to develop the sport and ensure every player has a fair chance to represent India,” Gowda told

He also added that they felt the need to ask the court to appoint a new administrator who will ensure that the sports code is strictly followed but efforts towards forcing that change didn’t materialise.

Janardan Singh Gehlot who was also removed as Life President of the AKFI by the Delhi HC last year has kept control of the sport in India and internationally with him holding the presidency of Asian Kabaddi Federation and the International Kabaddi Federation.

In the final list of nominations for the elections that were supposed to be held on September 1 released on the AKFI website, Tejasvi Gehlot, Janardan’s son was among the two nominees for the president’s post. In the 2017 and 2013 elections, Janardan’s wife Bhaduria was elected the president unopposed.

Tejasvi is currently the acting General Secretary of the AKFI after being elected in the first round of elections in January.

However, with the election now stayed, AKFI will be continued to run by administrator SP Garg.