Serving as a deterrent to those sports federations aiming to victimise hapless sportspersons, Thursday’s verdict of the Delhi High Court favouring G. Jwala against the diktat of Badminton Association of India (BAI) was a timely one.
The manner in which the BAI blatantly went about targeting Jwala for her alleged misconduct during a delayed match of the Indian Badminton League, was not missed by the Court.
The Disciplinary Committee which recommended a “life-time ban” on Jwala and suggested that “in the event of her submitting an unconditional apology to the Hon. President of BAI, the President of BAI taking a lenient view on humanitarian considerations, may consider relaxation of the punishment to the extent deemed fit by him,” has invited an adverse remark from the Court.
In his judgement, Justice V. K. Jain observed, “In fact, the emphasis in the report of the Disciplinary Committee appears to be more on the refusal of the petitioner (Jwala) to apologise and less on the nature of the misconduct attributed to her.”
In another significant directive, the Court rapped the knuckles of the BAI for not considering Jwala for selection for a month, till the submission of the report of the new three-member committee constituted to hear the player’s response to the recommendation of the life ban. Further, the Court also took note of the BAI dramatically withdrawing the women’s doubles entry of Jwala and Ashwini Ponnappa from the Denmark Open on Wednesday.
In his judgement, Justice Jain said, “During the course of hearing, I was informed that on 9.10.2013, respondent No. 2 (BAI) has sent a communication to the Organisers of Denmark Open tournament withdrawing the name of the petitioner (Jwala) from the said tournament.
The respondent No. 2 is directed to forthwith withdraw the said communication and permit the petitioner to participate in the aforesaid tournament. Till further orders of the Court, the respondent No, 2 shall not withdraw the name of the petitioner from any tournament and shall duly consider her, subject to her being otherwise eligible, for participation in the National and international tournament, inside and outside India.”
Former chief coach and selector Vimal Kumar took serious note of the judgement. In a letter to the BAI, Vimal said, “This order has put us in a very bad light and the way it is going it is bound to further embarrass BAI. The last order is impossible to adhere to and this can amount to contempt of court. Hope we can still find ways to diffuse the situation.”
Dronacharya awardee Mohammad Arif said: “It is a great judgment and should open the eyes of BAI. We all are here for the development of the sport and our players.
“The BAI officials should concentrate on doing the job entrusted to it. Otherwise, more players will take the judicial course and the BAI will be spending its energies in fighting legal battles, and not on development of sport.”