Taking up a petition filed by Chandigarh Golf Club challenging the Chandigarh administration's order for fresh terms for renewal of its lease and demand of Rs. 9.27 crore rent for five years (March 2008-13), the Punjab and Haryana high court has directed both the parties to resolve the issue amicably 'even if it requires mediation'.
The division bench comprising chief justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, however, made it clear that in the meantime the administration would refrain from taking any coercive action against the Golf Club.
The orders under challenge were issued by the UT finance secretary on November 15 and by the estate officer on November 16. The club was served with letters to deposit Rs. 9.27 crore as rent for a period from March 16, 2008, to March 15, 2013.
In the letters, the lease period was proposed for five years only, annual enhancement of 7% rent and the lease to be effective from March 16, 2008.
The earlier lease was for 20 years (1988 to 2008) and the annual lease amount was Rs. 1 lakh.
The club had sought directions to the administration to re-consider the case in the light of facts brought forth by the club in its representations made on December 21 and 22 last year.
The club had also made a request to extend its lease either in terms of the draft lease proposed by the administration on December 2, 2009, (Rs 10 lakh per year), or on similar terms to that of the Delhi Golf Club (Rs 6 lakh annually).
The court was informed that the club had made a representation to the UT administration on June 8, 2012, with regard to the renewal of lease on fresh terms and also brought to their notice about the amended lease deed executed between Delhi Golf Club and the centre government. It was requested that since the status of Chandigarh Golf Club and Delhi Golf Club was same, its lease should be renewed in similar terms.
Earlier on December 22, 2012, the club management had also approached the union ministry of home affairs (MHA) to intervene in the matter and issue instructions to the Chandigarh administration for recalculating the lease rental of the club. It further requested MHA to put the UT administration's directions to the club, to deposit Rs. 9.27 crore till January 16, on hold till MHA takes the final decision. But with MHA yet to come up with a final call and deadline approaching, the club approached the court.
The case will now come up for hearing on January 30.
August 25, 1966: Golf Club registered under Registration of Societies Act
November 15, 2012: Administration proposes fresh lease terms for Golf Club and demands Rs. 9.27 crore
December 21, 2012: Club sends representation to UT estate officer
December 22, 2012: Club sends representation to union ministry of home affairs
January 15, 2013: Club approaches HC
January 16, 2013: Deadline for depositing Rs. 9.27 crore ends
January 16, 2013: HC directs the parties to resolve issue amicably, restrains coercive action