Guest column | Clearing the air on Chandigarh Golf Club elections
For well over half a century, the Chandigarh Golf Club (CGC) has had a proud tradition of being a democratically-run institution, committed to its core function: promotion of the sport of golf.
Successive managing committees, elected over the years by its 1,800 members, have steadfastly upheld the club’s constitution in letter and spirit, and consistently raised the bar in management standards, making it one of the country’s finest golf institutions that has groomed generations of eminent international and national golf prodigies.
The annual election cycle, which is the integral part of the club’s annual general meeting (AGM), however, was disrupted by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 and a new management committee was elected in January 2021.
Since the Covid situation was under control in December last, the incumbent governing council lost no time in setting the ball rolling on holding the next AGM-cum-election on January 30, 2022.
Unfortunately and unexpectedly, the third wave surged early this month, resulting in the UT administration bringing in restrictions again, leading to deferment of the club polls.
Of late, a few members have approached me expressing disappointment and apprehension in the rumours, falsehoods and gossip being spread regarding the AGM-cum-election, which can potentially bring disrepute and disharmony to the club. That makes it extremely important to clear the air about the current factual position.
Rulebook followed to a tee
Election is only one part of the agenda of the club’s AGM as specified in Rules 47 (b), 51 (a) and 70 (a) (iv) of the club’s Rules and Regulations.
In accordance with Rules 72 and 4, notice for the AGM-cum-election, to be held on January 30, 2022, was issued on December 26, last year.
Brig JS Phoolka was appointed as the returning officer and the AGM-cum-election process was set in motion. As per Rule 46, the election process was to be supervised by a five-member standing committee, appointed at the last AGM under the chairmanship of Lt-Gen Depinder Singh (retd) and including senior members Virender Sharma (past vice-president), RS Mann (retired IAS officer and past president), Rajiv Atma Ram (senior advocate) and BC Gupta (retired IAS officer).
As per Rule 78, the minimum quorum for constituting a valid AGM is 10% of the total resident permanent members; this figure currently stands at 132.
Outdoor gatherings capped at 100
On January 6, 2022, due to the rising Covid cases, an order was passed by the Chandigarh administration, limiting outdoor gatherings for any purpose to a maximum of 100 people with effect from January 7.
Cognizant of this order and in the interest of the club members’ safety, the returning officer wrote to the standing committee, seeking postponement of the AGM and related election process.
The standing committee deliberated on the matter and whilst agreeing with the returning officer recommended (a) immediate postponement of the AGM-cum-election with a direction to restart the process as soon as restrictions are eased and (b) the existing managing committee should continue as usual in the interim.
An emergency managing committee, on January 7, accepted these recommendations.
UT nod awaited
In view of the new situation, I have written to the UT administration seeking permission to hold the AGM-cum-election at the earliest feasible date and a response is awaited.
A few members have suggested that the club should consider electronic or other forms, and have also referred to the holding of five state assembly elections.
However, the managing committee can only function under the aegis of the memorandum of association, and rules and regulations of the Chandigarh Golf Club, which clearly establish the procedure to be followed and the restrictions imposed by the Chandigarh administration, which are applicable to us as a responsible and reputed institution of the UT.
Any alteration of rules and procedures is not within the ambit of the managing committee which, nevertheless, remains steadfastly committed to upholding the democratic spirit enshrined in the club constitution in the best interests of this premier institution.
(The writer is the president of the Chandigarh Golf Club.)
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