HC adamant,says poor’s interest be protected,rich must pay if defaulted

The development took place during the resumed hearing of a petition filed by the club demanding setting aside of the UT Administration’s order dated November 15 and 16,2012.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published:May 17, 2013 1:33 am

Reiterating its concern,the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday told the authorities of the Chandigarh Golf Club and Chandigarh Administration that “common people’s interest should be taken care of”.

Refusing to show leniency,the high court observed that the “rich must pay if they have defaulted”. The development took place during the resumed hearing of a petition filed by the club demanding setting aside of the UT Administration’s order dated November 15 and 16,2012,wherein the club was asked to deposit rent to the tune of Rs 9,27,48,000 within two months.

Seeking some more time to apprise it of the arbitration proceedings,counsel for the club on Thursday told the High Court that two meetings took place on Wednesday – one between the office bearers of the club and UT Administrator Shivraj Patil and second between Justice (retd) Kuldip Singh,the arbitrator,and the UT Administrator. To await the outcome of the two meetings,the counsel sought more time from the court and it was granted.

Denying allegations of evading payment of rent,the club’s counsel said that Rs 30 lakh had been paid by the club to the administration. The counsel assured the court that the club would not shirk from its responsibility to pay the amount.

On the last date of hearing,a division bench,comprising acting Chief Justice Jasbir Singh and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain,had reprimanded the club. Coming down heavily on the non payment of rent,the high court had questioned the justification of the club in challenging the rent being charged from it.

“A poor person cannot even enter the gate. Even students,who want to play,have to pay a fee,” the bench had quipped on the last date of hearing.

The bench had also taken a dig at the “rich” club for spending lakhs on holding “big parties and serving good liquor”.

In order to decide the dispute,Justice (retd) Kuldip Singh was appointed the mediator to resolve the issue of lease and rent. The court,in January,had directed the Chandigarh Golf Club to pay Rs 20 lakh as rent to the UT Administration within two weeks.

The petitioner club had informed the bench that as per the two letters issued on November 15 and 16,2012,the lease period of the club had been proposed to be five years,rent of the building proposed was Rs 1,61,28,000 per year and the rent for green area was fixed at Rs 10,000 per acre for 130.6-acre open land.

The club had sought quashing of the said letters,as it termed them illegal and arbitrary.

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