High court allows Jwala to play, suspends life ban

New Delhi, Oct 10 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Thursday directed the Badminton Association of India (BAI) to allow top doubles shuttler Jwala Gutta to participate in tournaments and suspended the recommended life ban on her.

Jwala moved the high court Wednesday challenging the BAI disciplinary committee's recommended life ban on her last week for threatening to forfeit an Indian Badminton League (IBL) fixture in Bangalore Aug 25, eventually delaying the tie by half an hour.

The BAI appointed an independent panel Monday to look into the issue and barred her from national selection pending the panel's report.

Justice V.K. Jain, however, told the BAI: "You must allow her to play".

The court also allowed Jwala to participate in the upcoming Denmark Open Super Series Premier (Oct 15-20), from which BAI withdrew her entry late Wednesday. The court directed the BAI to withdraw the communication sent to the tournament organisers on pulling her out and permit her to participate.

"Till further orders of the Court, the BAI shall not withdraw the name of the petitioner (Jwala) from any tournament and shall duly consider her, subject to her being otherwise eligible, for participation in the national or international tournament, inside or outside India," said the court.

The court also pointed out that in the absence of a final decision, the BAI's action against Jwala was "premature" and the association ought to have waited for the panel's report "instead of taking such an extreme action in the meanwhile".

The BAI disciplinary committee recommended the ban on the Commonwealth Games gold medallist for trying to stop her team, Krrish Delhi Smashers, from playing Banga Beats in the IBL fixture. Delhi had threatened to abandon the match over the last minute replacement of injured singles player Hu Yun of Hong Kong with Denmark's Jan O Jorgensen, a higher ranked shuttler.

Jwala was ecstatic at the court's decision.

"Yeyy happy....allowed to play tournaments...never thought i would have to ask court for permission to play but very happy with orders. I think I'm so lucky to have support from my team owners...Patak sir and Amit katyal...I am proud to be a part of #KrrishDelhiSmashers," tweeted an elated Jwala, who also won the 2011 World Championship women's doubles bronze with Ashwini Ponnappa.

However, a pensive BAI said it will take a decision only after going through the copy of the Delhi High Court judgment.

"We will take a decision after going through the copy of the judgment. It is inappropriate for me to comment without going through the judgment. We will respect the decision of the court but, I repeat, we will need to go through the judgment first," BAI general secretary Vijai Sinha told IANS.

The question now is will the Badminton World Federation (BWF) accept Jwala's entry for Denmark Open after it was withdrawn.

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