TWELVE PERMANENT members of the Chandigarh Golf Club, including 14-time international winner Jeev Milkha Singh and seven-time national winner Irina Brar, have moved the district court of Chandigarh against the 2004 revised rule of the memorandum of associations of Chandigarh Golf Club as per which members who turn professionals are not eligible to participate in the management of the club.
The civil suit against the Chandigarh Golf Club (CGC) has been filed by golfers, including Jeev Milkha Singh, Amandeep Singh, Irina Singh, Amritinder Singh, Saahir Singh, Sujjan Singh, Amar Bindra, KPS Sekhon, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Chitwan Mann and Gursimran Singh, in the court of Varun Nagpal, Civil Judge (Senior Division). The petitioners have also made Chandigarh Administration and Registrar, Firm and Societies, Chandigarh as a party in their case, which is scheduled for hearing on February 11.
“I believe and support the idea of professional golfers being allowed to be a part of the elections and become a part of the executive committee. That’s why I signed this petition. As professional golfers, we have competed in various countries and we want to contribute in whichever way we can. In India, golf courses like Delhi Golf Club, Royal Calcutta Golf Club and Noida Golf Course have professional golfers on their committees. Internationally too, associations like USGA have professional golfers on board. Golf has been moving to professional way from amateur way, which we saw in the last two Olympics too and I am sure professional golfers would be allowed to compete in Asian Games in future too. With the recent rule changes in golf too, I believe the role of amateur golfers and professional golfers too becomes very important,” said 14-time international winner Jeev Milkha Singh.
The members of CGC protested against the revised rule in August 2008 before the matter was not discussed in AGM. In 2012, Gursimran Singh (permanent member) requested the CGC for giving permission to professional golfers to participate in the elections. However, the request was not addressed. Singh then again served a legal notice on CGC for the same issue in 2015 but to no avail. He again in April 2016 moved a representation to the management committee but he was rendered as ineligible to contest elections in reply from the returning officer. Following this, the 12 golfers served a legal notice on CGC in January 2017 for the amendment of the 2004 rule, but after a reply, nothing was done by CGC management committee in this regard.
“Professional golfers spend close to 120-140 days a year playing at golf courses and they too know things like upkeep and course conditions. My mother was on the executive committee for several times but I always used to wonder why the professional golfers cannot be part of the committee and stand for the elections. The last decade has seen more players in the region joining the sport and the game has grown. And professional golfers should also be part of the process of running the clubs with the support of the whole committee,” said Irina Brar, seven-time national champion and former India number one golfer, who is also India’s only AASP certified sports psychology consultant.
The golfers in the petition have alleged that management committee is behaving like a dictator and wants to impose its own rules upon the members and there is no bar upon the professionals to teach and play golf in the club, no other club creates such type of discrimination. Advocate Tarun Gupta, counsel for the golfers, has argued through the petition that the rule revised in 2004 is unconstitutional, illegal and violates their right. However, B S Gill, president, CGC, was of the view that professional golfers should be allowed to be part of the committee. “I am completely in support of professional golfers being allowed to stand in elections and be a part of the executive committee. As professional golfers, they have travelled across the globe playing at various golf courses. They understand the conditions and know how those golf courses work. Currently, we do consult with professional golfers regarding golf issues and if they can compete for the elections, Chandigarh Golf Club will benefit from their experience,” Gill said.