Finding the Canal Club of Rampura Phul serving no social purpose and "entertaining only politicians and the rich", the Punjab and Haryana high court has ordered its demolition.
The Bathinda deputy commissioner and subdivisional magistrate (SDM) of Rampur Phul are required to carry out the demolition order within a month and restore the land to the state irrigation department. It was submitted in the court that education minister Sikander Singh Maluka had been club's chief patron before getting into the cabinet, and now his son was its member. However, a division bench comprising acting chief justice Jasbir Singh and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain observed that under the club's own rules, even if the chief patron had resigned, he remained chief patron.
Land was for govt office
In April 2010, the Punjab irrigation department had handed over the 19-kanal plot to the municipal body concerned to build a government office on it. In May 2010, the land, however, was transferred to the club on a lease agreement of Rs 100 a year for 99 years.
The bench observed that the municipality had no power to lease out the land, and similar spaces could only be leased out in open auction, that too in exceptional cases after the government's approval. The plots can only be leased out to organisations working for charity, or women's and child welfare. "The Canal Club has no history of social service, and only businessman, politicians and wealthy people are its members, for the membership fee of the club is Rs 50,000," the bench observed.