In a significant development, the Supreme Court, on Tuesday, invalidated a Karnataka High Court ruling that had temporarily suspended the implementation of circulars released by the Badminton Association of India (BAI). These circulars cautioned badminton players, coaches, and technical staff registered under BAI against involvement in tournaments deemed ‘unrecognized’. The case is titled Badminton Association of India v. Bitsport Private Limited and ors.
Reversal of High Court Order by Supreme Court
The Supreme Court’s bench, comprising Justices Bela M Trivedi and Dipankar Datta, observed that the High Court’s ex-parte directive was passed without affording an opportunity for all parties involved to present their views.
Consequently, the apex court overturned the High Court’s decision and directed it to reconsider the case after affording due consideration to all stakeholders. Furthermore, the High Court was urged to expedite its deliberations on the matter.
Background of the Case
The legal imbroglio originated when the Karnataka High Court issued a stay order in July, suspending the effect of the aforementioned circulars. Justice Krishna S Dixit, while pronouncing the order, restrained BAI from taking coercive measures based on these circulars. This effectively permitted players, coaches, and staff to participate in the upcoming Grand Prix Badminton League.
This High Court verdict was in response to a petition filed by the organizers of the Grand Prix Badminton League. The petition contested two circulars circulated by BAI in April and July respectively.
Content of the Circulars
The circulars in question explicitly stipulated that players, coaches, and staff could not partake in tournaments that lacked recognition by the Association without obtaining proper approval. Violators of these circulars were susceptible to actions under BAI’s established regulations.
Impact on Grand Prix Badminton League
The Grand Prix Badminton League, sanctioned by the Karnataka Badminton Association, had received an impressive count of over 450 registrations for its upcoming second season, set to commence on August 27. However, the uncertainty caused by the circulars cast doubt on the participation of numerous players.
Organizers expressed frustration over their attempts to seek clarification from BAI regarding the league’s status, which went unanswered. Faced with the imminent commencement of the league in just a month’s time, they approached the High Court, resulting in the issuance of the stay order on the circulars.
Supreme Court Intervention
Responding to the High Court’s authorization for involvement in such leagues, the Badminton Association of India took the matter to the Supreme Court. Senior Advocate Shyam Divan, alongside Advocates Azim H Laskar, Bikas Kargupta, and Chandra Bhushan Prasad, represented BAI before the apex court.
On the opposing side, Senior Advocate Dhruv Mehta, along with Advocates Gyanendra Kumar, Soumya Dasgupta, and Anupama Dhurve, all represented by Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, spoke for the private league organizers.
In conclusion, the Supreme Court’s decisive action in overturning the Karnataka High Court’s order reinstates BAI’s authority to regulate the participation of its registered members in recognized tournaments. This resolution carries significant implications for the world of badminton in India and the organization of tournaments across the nation.