Grant of Interim Relief Proves Fruitless: GBPL Season 2 Postponed Indefinitely

The Second Edition of Grand Prix Badminton League (GPBL) has been indefinitely postponed due to several players pulling out of the tournament. The tournament was initially scheduled to be held from August 27, 2023.

In an order dated August 25, 2023, the High Court of Karnataka refused to interfere with the interim order passed on August 24, allowing the petitioners to conduct the tournament and badminton players to participate. The said interim relief was granted after the Apex Court, vide order dated August 22, directed that the matter be decided afresh.[1]

However, since it was clarified that the decision to grant this permission was not taken upon consideration of the merits of the case, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) issued a statement that appropriate action would be taken if and when the writ petition fails following which, several players pulled out of the tournament.

The petition filed before the Karnataka High Court challenged certain circulars pertaining to clause 21 of the BAI’s Constitution. The clause prohibited the registered players, coaches, technical staff and support staff from participating in tournaments not approved by BAI or its affiliated units.

It was asserted by the respondents that the BAI was the apex body regulating the sport of badminton, and no entity could interfere with the process and deviate from the set standard. The clash of the petitioner’s tournament dates with those of another tournament conducted under the aegis of BAI was also pointed out. As to the petitioner’s contention that the restriction imposed under clause 21 of the BAI’s Constitution was in violation of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, the respondents submitted that the petitioner had no “locus standi” as the restrictions were imposed on the players and not on the petitioner.

Observing that the interim orders of stay passed by the Madras High Court in respect of clause 21 of the BAI’s constitution “has not been disturbed till date”, the Court proceeded to grant interim relief, which nevertheless proved futile.

The matter will be heard next on September 12, 2023.


[1] Badminton Association of India v. Bitsport Private Limited and Ors. (CA No.5439/2023)