The Delhi High Court, on Thursday, upheld a Trial Court order provisionally restraining Delhi Gymkhana Club from granting out-of-turn permanent memberships to children of existing members.
The club provides the children of existing members UCP (User of Club Premises Pending Election) status referred to as Green Card for using the facilities of the club. The Petitions had contended that the club was considering the applications of Green Card Holders on a priority basis and granting them membership in the NG category out of turn.
The Petitioners had pointed out that the Articles of Association prescribes a total membership of 5600, out of which 50% has to be issued to Government employees and the remaining to the NG category. They had then contended that out of the 50% for NG category, half has been reserved for the Green Card Holders through bye-laws made in General Committee Meetings.
The Petitioners had submitted that this practice has increased the waiting period for a person in the NG category to obtain permanent membership. They alleged that they were granted permanent membership after a waiting period of about 25 to 35 years and that in some cases, the applications were made way back in 1978.
Granting the Plaintiffs' prayer for an ad-interim injunction against this practice, the Trial Court had held, "...the concept of grant of membership out of turn to Green Card Holders / UCPs has been evolved only through, decisions / bye-laws made in General Committee Meeting. …….. By creating a category of members under Green Card Holder / UCPs meant for dependents of members, another elitist class has been created which have got membership by way of fastest method only because they happen to be the legal heirs of a member. This provision has acted against the interests of the members of waiting lists who themselves are eligible for membership by virtue of their individual eligibility."
Upholding the Trial Court's observations, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva observed that the Articles do not accord priority to any special class of individuals and that such preference has been laid down only through various meetings.
The Court explained, "Further, as noticed above, the Green Card Holders / UCPs enjoy virtually all facilities of the Club, except voting rights on any matter affecting the interests or management of the Club. No irreparable loss and injury would be caused to the Green Card Holders / UCPs in case their permanent membership is deferred pending disposal of the Suit. On the other hand, if permanent membership is granted to Green Card Holders / UCPs out of turn then irreparable loss is likely to be caused to the general applicants in the NG category. Balance of convenience is also in favor of the Plaintiffs and in favor of grant of ad-interim injunction."
The Court also directed that pending the disposal of the suit, the Club shall not consider the applications under Non-Governmental (NG) category for permanent membership for more than 25% of the total membership. It then dismissed the Petitions, requesting the Trial Court to expedite the trial and endeavor to dispose of the Suit within a period of nine months.