Why should you not pay the rent? was the question asked by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the Chandigarh Golf Club. Coming down heavily on non -payment of rent to the Chandigarh Administration,the court on Wednesday questioned the justification of the club in challenging the rent being charged from it.
A poor person cannot even enter the club. Even students,who want to play,have to pay a fee, quipped acting Chief Justice Jasbir Singh. Taking a dig at the rich club for spending lakhs on holding big parties and serving good liquor the division bench,comprising Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain,expressed its strong disapproval over the evasive attitude of the club.
The Bench even stated that the rent being charged by the administration was nothing as compared to the rent charged from poor clubs,including the Chandigarh Central Club. You are supposed to pay the rent. The rent charged from you is nothing, the Bench remarked.
The displeasure was expressed to the counsel,who appeared on behalf of the Golf Club. The development took place during the resumed hearing of a petition filed by the club demanding that the orders of the UT Administration 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,be set aside.
To decide the dispute,Justice (retd) Kuldip Singh was appointed as a mediator to resolve the issue of lease and rent. Adjourning the case to May 16,the bench expressed hope that the proceedings of mediation will be completed by the next date of hearing.
The high 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 Rs 1,61,28,000 per year and the rent for green area was fixed as Rs 10,000 per acre for 130.6-acre open land.
The court was also informed,on a previous date of hearing,that the UT Administration had also proposed a seven per cent hike in the rent. The club had also contended that it had written a letter dated December 12,2012 to the estate office of the UT Administration with regard to the said letters,as they (letters) were reportedly issued without any discussion with the petitioner.
The club had sought quashing of letters,as it termed them illegal and arbitrary. The petitioner had also sought directions to the administration to reconsider the matter and extend the lease of the petitioner in terms of draft lease proposed through letter dated December 2,2009,or on similar terms granted to Delhi Golf Club.