The Chandigarh Golf Club will be under the purview of the Right to Information Act. The Central Information Commissioner in its order passed after hearing of an appeal,has directed the Chandigarh Golf Club Management to build up on a mechanism for the servicing of the RTI Act,2005,within four weeks of the receipt of the order.
The Central Information Commissioner is of the view that the Chandigarh Golf Club is being indirectly financed and controlled by the Chandigarh Administration. Hence,it is considered as a public authority.
The vast difference between the monthly rental being paid by the Chandigarh Golf Club and the commercial rent that the entire place can fetch if it were to be in an open market has made the Central Information Commissioner take the decision to bring the club under the purview of the Right to Information,as he felt that indirectly,the Admin has been financing it.
In the appeal made by Brig Sukhdev Singh (Retd) for the two issues,the Chandigarh resident has submitted details that the market value of 132 acres of land belonging to the Chandigarh Golf Club is Rs 1000 crore.
He has also stated that the market value of land in Chandigarh varies between Rs 1.2 lakh to Rs 1.7 lakh per square yard.
The Chandigarh Golf Club is located in the posh sector of the city where land will be a minimum of Rs 1.6 lakh per square yard. This would cost Rs 7.744 crore in total. Hence,132 acres would cost Rs 1022.208 crore.
However,according to the Chief Engineer (UT),the rent calculated in April 2012 has been a conservative amount of Rs 6700 per square yard.
With this subsidized price the cost has been worked out as Rs 42.8 crore for which rent has been assessed as Rs 3.85 crore per annum for the land. Currently Chandigarh Golf Club is paying rent at rates which were arrived at in the year 1988.
The order states that subsidized rent given by the Chandigarh Golf Club can be termed as the indirect financial assistance provided by the government and which can be termed as a rare privilege conferred on the said club in exclusion of others.
Three serving IAS officers are nominated members of the Managing Committee of the Chandigarh Golf Club and these nominated members have full voting rights.
With the mandatory presence of the government officers in the Managing Committee,the absence of governmental control over the functioning of the Chandigarh Golf Club cannot be presumed.