Delhi HC stays general body meeting of Gymkhana Club after allegations of fraud
The Delhi High Court (HC), on Friday, stayed the extraordinary general body meeting (EGM) of the Gymkhana Club after a plea contended to stop the meeting scheduled for August 4. The meeting, the plea alleges, was meant to replace and amend its Memorandum & Articles of Association, which have been in place since 1913.
Justice Suresh Kait also sought the response of the Centre and the Gymkhana Club on the plea by one Sanjeev Mohan Ahluwalia, who alleged serious fraud and favouritism in the functioning of the Club.
The Gymkhana Club has refuted all allegations made in the plea.
The plea by Ahluwalia, filed through advocate Sanyam Khetarpal, alleges that the Club has proposed to have an EGM on August 4 and commence electronic voting on its agenda, with effect from July 27, to alter and completely replace its existing Memorandum & Articles of Association, thereby circumventing subjudice matters and pending inquiries against it.
The petition alleges that the reason behind the proposed amendments and replacement of MOA & AOA is malafide and is being done to further the interests of those who have acquired membership illegally and/or those who wish to perpetuate membership and usage of the club in a dynastic manner.
It alleges that the club was arbitrarily handing out memberships to the children and grandchildren of certain permanent members, thus marring the chances of first-time applicants from joining the club.
According to his plea, Alhuwalia had deposited Rs 5,000 in 1993 for a permanent membership to the club. However, in 2017, he received a letter from the Club seeking Rs 7,45,000 as additional application fee to continue being in line as an applicant. On verbally enquiring about the arbitrary demand of additional application fee, the petitioner was told that all applicants were liable to pay the amount, failing which they would have to forego their status as applicants.
The plea further states that the petitioner was told that since his father was a permanent member, he would be required to pay a lesser amount of Rs 1,45,000. “Since the Petitioner had patiently waited for nearly 25 years, it seemed trite to him to furnish the amount and secure his status as an applicant,” the plea read.
Responding to the allegations, Gymkhana Club secretary Ashish Khanna said, “We refute all allegations that have been made against us. The last EGM was conducted in 2000 and our sole purpose of conducting the EGM now is because we want to restructure the organizational setup of the Club in accordance with the Companies Act, which was introduced in 2013. With regards to the allegations by the individual, we would want to ask why the person is so interested in being a member of the club if he alleges fraud here. We have 7,000 members and 50% of them are government officers, including IPS and IAS officers.”
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