Bangalore: The Karnataka High Court Saturday stayed the two-year ban imposed by the All India Tennis Association (AITA) on tennis players Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna from representing the country till June 2014.

Staying the Sep 15 ban through an interim order, Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar served notices on AITA and the union Sports Ministry directing them to file objections to the writ petition filed by Bhupathi and Bopanna.

The duo moved the High Court challenging the ban for defying the AITA's directive to play with the other tennis star Leander Paes in the July-August London Olympics 2012.

"The judge stayed the ban after we challenged it on the ground that no advance notice was given to Bhupathi or Bopanna nor they were heard before," Bhupathi's counsel Aditya Sondhi said.

Sondhi also accused the association of not giving Bhupathi and Bopanna an opportunity to clarify their position for not playing with Paes.

"There was also no explanation from the association for omitting the duo from the Indian team in the recent (Sept 14-16) Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group 1 matches played against New Zealand in Chandigarh," Sondhi recalled.

The duo learnt about the ban only through the media, as the association did not communicate its order directly to them."We also brought to the notice of the court that the arbitrary ban was not maintainable under the law," Sondhi asserted.

The association also did not consider the duo's request to play in the doubles at the London Olympics as they had been practicing together and played quite a few tournaments in India and overseas.

Bhupathi's father Krishna Bhupathi declined to comment on the stay as the matter was in the court and sub-judice.

(Agencies)

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