Can't Interfere With Private Club By-laws: HC

Dismisses public interest litigation seeking direction to government to regulate clubs; says no constitutional provision was violated

Published: 17th July 2014 07:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th July 2014 07:44 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: The court cannot interfere with the bye-laws of private clubs, the first Bench of the Madras High Court has said.

When a public interest writ petition from advocate S Karthik of Chromepet praying for a direction to the Tamil Nadu Government to formulate regulations in the functioning of clubs in the State and take appropriate legal action against various clubs in the city, including suspension of licence came up for hearing on Wednesday, the bench of Acting Chief Justice SK Agnihotri and Justice MM Sundresh said that the Public Interest Litigation cannot be entertained as no constitutional provision had been violated.

According to the petitioner, Justice D Hariparanthaman, a sitting judge of the Madras High Court, and senior advocates R Gandhi and G Swaminathan went to the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association Club to participate in a book release function on July 12.

However, they were denied entry as they were clad in dhoti. The clubs cannot frame rules or regulations prescribing dress code, which are baseless and without any legal sanctity, the petitioner contended.

The bench wondered as to how a Public Interest Litigation could be entertained on the matter and how the court could force a private club to change their rules.

When the advocate said the judge was at the club for a public function, the bench said it was only a private book release function and not a public function and the judge was there as an invitee and not as a judge.

When the advocate said that the Tamil Nadu State Assembly had discussed the issue, the bench said that the legislature was the competent authority. But this court cannot treat it as a Public Interest Litigation, it added and expressed its opinion to dismiss it. The bench, however, posted the matter before some other bench for further hearing.

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