Singh Malik Vs. Delhi Golf Club & Ors  INSC 246
(27 April 1998)
K.T. Thomas, Rajendra Babu Rajendra Babu, J.
petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution raises several questions
purporting to espouse public interest. Shri Muralidhar assisted this Court as Amicos
Curiae and we are beholden to him. We have also heard the petitioner in person.
However, after arguments were addressed from time to time finally the points
projected for our consideration are as follows :-
the respondent No.1 has been granted lease of 179 acres of land in which exist
certain ancient and protected monuments. They are being subject to defacement
The Ministry of Urban Development, i.e. respondent no.2 ought not to have
allowed the first respondent to occupy the land between 1.1.1991 and 20.7.1994
without a valid lease nor renewed the lease retrospectively from 1.1.1991 on
unusual terms conferring extraordinary benefits.
N.D.M.C. , respondent No.4 has failed to take appropriate action with he
necessary promptitude to recover the arrears of property tax exceeding Rs. 4.5 crores
owing to it by respondent No.1.
that excessive use by respondent No.1 of fertilizers and pesticides in the
upkeep of the golf course resulting in pollution of the subsoil and ground
water in the area under its possession and in the neighbourhood.
are nine monuments situate within the area in possession of respondent No.1 and
Bangla (near the entrance)
near hole No.6 in Golf Club
near hole No.4 in Golf Club
Abid's tomb near hole No. 10 in Golf Club
Unknown tomb near hole Nos. 14-16 in Golf Club
Unknown tomb near hole No. 18 in Golf Club
Monument adjoining Swimming Pool Lal Bangala which is situate near the entrance
of the Club is protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and
Remains Act, 1958 (hereinafter referred to as "the Central Act"). The
claim made in the petition is that the said monument was in shambles a which is
not accessable to public nor properly taken care of by the Club or by the
Government. The Affidavit filed by the Archaeplogical Survey of India discloses
that of the nine monuments in respect of which this petition is filed only Lal Bangla
is declared to be a national monument; that it is under the maintenance and
upkeep of Archasological Survey of India; that the said Lal Bangla is
segregated from the other area of the Club; that the Archaeological Survey of
India is taking due care of the monuments and in respect of which the
respondent No. 1 is rendering full co-operation; that the monument Lal Bangla
is well preserved, fenced and free from encroachment with round the clock watch
and ward deployed for the proper security or the monument; that the monument
has been fully conserved and well maintained since long;
annual maintenance is carried out every year; that the respondent No.1 is not
using the area surrounding Lal Bangla monument. Correctness of the stand of the
A.S.I. cannot be seriously disputed nor is it done by the petitioner. Hence the
contentions raised regarding Lal Bangla stand rebutted.
as the remaining monuments are concerned, it is made clear that he stand of the
first respondent is that they are not covered by the Central Act since they
have not been declared to be protected monuments but are under the control of
the State Government. If they are of historical importance and their care would
b e t he responsibility oft eh Department of Archaeology of the Government of
the National Capital Territory of Delhi. It is contended on behalf of the
respondent that they have taken the necessary initiative and several steps in
conjunction with Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH),
D.D.A. and the Conservation Society of Delhi and they are also in touch with
the Department of Archaeology for taking necessary and practical steps for
preservation of the said monuments. We specifically asked the petitioner and
also Shri Murlidhar as to which of the monument in this category is put to
jeopardy by the respondents. It was pointed out that the monument adjoining the
Swimming Pool is likely to be affected by the activities or the respondents but
they are not clear as to the manner in which the same was put to any kind of
hazard. All that was stated was that the monument was likely to be affected by
reason of construction of the Swimming Pool adjoining the monument but it is
not made clear that the monument is very close to the Swimming Pool. Thus the
contentions urged on behalf of the petitioner are vague, unclear and this Court
need not investigate that aspect any further.
extraordinary features of the lease pointed out are that the lease is renewed
retrospectively, t he rent fixed is not the usual rent and that such lease has
been granted only in view of the fact that the members of the Club are
apparently high ranking Government servants who are serving the Government of
India and that property tax due to N.D.M.C. has not been cleared. On the extend
of land held by the first respondent, it was submitted that it was sufficient
to have about 42 to 45 acres of land to make a good Golf Course and 179 acres
of land are not required at all.
respondent contended that the first respondent is a premier Club in the country
and provides facilities of international standards. There are two courses
available on the field and in addition they would have even three courses by
making appropriate provisions and a 18 hole course would not be sufficient.
Therefore, provision has to be made for a course of 27 holes.
Court need not decide as to how many courses should a club have nor the extent
thereof. If we bear this aspect in mind, it would not be proper at all to state
that the extent of land leased in favour of the first respondent is large.
has been placed before the Court to show the rates at which the ground rent is
collected when land is leased for sports purposes on long term basis.
Considering the fact that it is one of the avowed purposes of the Government to
encourage sports and if the Government so desires, may grant leases of land not
necessarily at market rate and at appropriate concessional rates and the same
cannot be stated not to sub-serve the public purpose.
next contended that the Club is not accessible to general public and only to alite
class of people and all cannot become members of the Club. It is made clear on
behalf of the respondents that to any person desirous of playing golf, admission
is granted n payment of `day fee'.
membership to the Club is restricted and not the entry into the Golf Course. In
the circumstances, we find this contention also to be untenable.
as the renewal of the lease is concerned, it has been explained that the
circumstances in which the same was not renewed for a period of four years and
how it was retrospectively renewed and provisions made for the collection of
the arrears of lease rent and municipal taxes, nothing can be made out of the
same which would involve public interest in any manner. As regards payment of
property tax is concerned, a Writ Petition filed is by the first respondent in
the Delhi High Court challenging the demands raised. It appears the said
Petition has now been disposed of and is under appeal by way of special leave
in this Court and is subject to interim orders as regards payment of municipal
taxes due. Therefore, it would not be proper at all to consider the contention
or express any opinion on the said aspect of the matter which would b e decided
in that proceeding.
pointed out to us that the land in possession of the Golf Club which is the
subject matter of this petition comes in the green belt ares, any construction
activity is subject to several controls. The first respondent has denied the
contention that they have used fertilizers which are not eco-friendly and they
are using only organic fertilizers and treated waste water for maintaining the
grounds and the use of fertilizers is totally restricted and minimal. There is
no material to show anything to the contrary.
we find no merit in this petition. The same shall stand dismissed with no order
as to costs.