The Bombay high court on Monday expressed its displeasure over the fact that the Badminton Association of India's (BAI) chief national coach and selection panel head, Pullela Gopi Chand, was also running a private academy, and sought an explanation from the Association.
“Ethically, a coach, who also heads the selection panel, should not run a private academy," the division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Anoop Mohta commented.
“He (Gopi) may be a good coach… we are not saying otherwise, but in the interest of justice and fairness, a national coach, who is also heading the selection panel, should not run a private camp,” the judges added.
The comments came during the course of hearing on a petition filed by city-based shuttler, Prajakta Sawant, who has been playing for India for last eight years.
She had approached the court on Nov 5 alleging that she had been left out of the national camp in Hyderabad for 'extraneous' reasons.
In her petition, Prajakta said she was part of the core group from 2007 till August 2012. However, in September this year, she left the private academy run by Gopi Chand and the "scenario changed completely".
Acting on her petition on Nov 6, the bench had directed BAI to allow her to participate in the camp and she be considered for selection in international tournaments on the basis of her performance.
However, on Monday, her lawyer said that when she went for the camp on Nov 17, the players had left for China for a tournament.
The lawyer further said that she apprehends her ranking will be lowered since she has not participated in the camp and it will in turn make her ineligible to participate in future camps.
Taking serious note of this, the bench also restrained BAI from taking any adverse action against her.