New Delhi: The central government on February 15 took over the Delhi Gymkhana Club after the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) allowed it to do so to get “imperial mentality” out of the posh club. National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). Also Read - Delhi Gymkhana Club New Membership On Hold, Govt Appoints New Administrator
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The membership of Delhi Gymkhana Club has been put on hold on the orders of the NCLAT. The NCLAT directed that acceptance of new membership or fee or any enhancement thereof till disposal of waitlist applications will be kept on hold, till the disposal of the company petition.
GC SUSPENDED, GOVT CHOSEN ADMINSTRATOR APPOINTED
NCLAT also directed the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to appoint an administrator to be nominated by the central government to manage the affairs of the club. Following which, the Centre appointed MM Juneja to the post to oversee the affairs of Delhi Gymkhana Club.
After the appointment, MM Juneja has taken over the management of the club from the general committee (GC). As per the NCLAT order, GC will be suspended.
“With immediate effect Manmohan Juneja, Officer on Special Duty (OSD), Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has taken over as Administrator of the Delhi Gymkhana Club, consequent upon order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT),” Ministry of Corporate said in a release.
GENERAL PUBLIC BEING MADE TO WAIT DECADES FOR MEMBERSHIP
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Monday held that the Delhi Gymkhana Club policy under which membership of a person attains hereditary character and general public seeking membership are being made to wait for decades, is certainly prejudicial to the public interest.
In a scathing condemnation of the club’s policy, the tribunal said largesse by the state cannot be said to be intended for enjoyment or use by highly placed individuals only. The government had given land to the club on perpetual lease, and it was initially registered as a Section 8 company with specific objectives related to sports and pastimes.
HERIDITORY CHARACTER OF MEMBERSHIP
In a critical 57-page order, a three-member NCLAT bench, headed by Acting Chairperson Justice Bansi Lal Bhat noted that the club has been perusing a policy under which membership of a person with a dependent child clothes him with the right to use the club’s facilities for his lifetime as also for his child, subject to a formality of applying for membership when the child attains the age of 21 years and upon such child gaining membership before his child is 21 years old.
“… the grand child of the basic member, the facility would be available for such child also with the process continuing ad infinitium. Such enjoyment of state largesse partaking of a hereditary character cannot be said to be promoting public interest. It would rather fall foul of Article 14 of the Constitution of India rendering such enjoyment abhorrent to public interest ad nauseum”, said NCLAT in its order.
The Centre submitted that when the prime object of sports facility is taken over by the elite for recreational purposes and activities of the company are hit by nepotism and favouritism while the company was formed on the basis of state largesse, there was an injury to public interest.
This ruling has come on petitions by the Corporate Affairs Ministry as well as the club, challenging an interim order passed by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) last year.
SPORTS FACILITY BEING USED MORE AS ENJOYMENT OF ELITE
“Largesse by the state cannot be said to be intended for enjoyment or use by highly placed individuals only. The Constitution of India sets the goal of a welfare state and establishment of an egalitarian society where the citizens are not discriminated on the basis of region, religion, caste, language, race or social strata,” the NCLAT said.
It junked the club’s argument that its membership policy does not involve public interest. The tribunal upheld Centre’s argument that it was not correct that general public seeking membership was made to wait for decades together with membership fee being held up and its interest component being utilised for the recreational and pleasurable activities of permanent members.
(With inputs from IANS)