Observing that "ethically" it was wrong for the Badminton Authority of India's (BAI) chief national coach and selection panel head Pullela Gopichand to run a private training academy, the Bombay High Court today said it was not in the best interest of justice.
"Ethically, coach who also heads the selection panel should not run a private academy. He may be a good coach. We are not saying otherwise. But in the interest of justice and fairness, a national coach, also part of the selection panel, should not run a private camp," Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice A V Mohta said.
The court observed this while hearing a petition filed by 19-year-old Prajakta Sawant, who had alleged mental harassment by Gopichand after she was refused entry to the All India National Coaching Camp in Hyderabad.
Directing the petitioner to include BAI as respondent in the petition, the bench sought the authority's reply with regard to Gopichand's private academy. The matter will be heard next on December 19.
During the last hearing on November 6, the court had directed BAI to allow the girl to participate in the camp. Sawant's lawyer Piyush Shah today told the court that when she went to the camp on November 17 the players had already left for China for a tournament.
Shah also said that there was another camp in January.
The bench then directed BAI to allow the girl to participate in the second camp. "BAI shall not take any action averse to the petitioner on the ground that she did not participate in the Hyderabad camp," the court said.
Sawant, a first year Bachelor of Commerce student, stated in her petition that she was selected for the training camp from October 4 to December 12. However, she contended that she had asked for her doubles and mixed doubles partners to be changed and Gopichand had hence, nursed a grudge against her.
"On August 22, 2012, the petitioner (Sawant) had informed by e-mail to Gopichand that the petitioner is not comfortable playing with the mixed doubles and women's doubles partners. However, Gopichand made wild allegations against the petitioner that she was not serious about badminton," Sawant's petition stated.
Gopichand, Sawant's petition mentioned, had informed her telephonically before the camp began that she will not be allowed to participate in the camp.