It’s incorrect for the police to presume that every society or club will indulge in Unlawful Activities: Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court under Justice K S Hemalekha in SRI Siragalli Lakshmidevi Recreation Club v. State of Karnataka (Writ Petition no. 22854/2022) disposed of the petition filed by the Sri Siragalli Lakshmidevi Recreation Club, and directed the police authorities not to interfere with the lawful activities of the petitioner’s association and it should not presume that every society or club will indulge in Unlawful Activities


The petitioner is a recreation club registered under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960 with the Registrar of Societies, Mysore. According to the petitioner after registration, the petitioner approached the respondent Nos.2 to 5 to permit recreational activities i.e., indoor games such as Rummy (card games), Chess, Carom, Billiards/Snooker, Skilled games and other indoor and outdoor games to all its members within the premises of its association. However, the respondents have refused to permit the petitioner to run the recreational activities stating that they require a licence to carry out the activities under the provisions of Karnataka Police Act and are creating unnecessary obstructions for opening the recreation association and to run the recreational activities by the petitioner/recreation club to its members. Now, the petitioner sought for a mandamus directing the respondents not to insist the petitioner to obtain license from the provisions of Licensing and Controlling of Places of the Public Amusement Order with the Recreational Activities to be carried on by the members of the petitioner association situated at T.Megadahalli Grama, Talakadu Hobli, T.Narasipura Taluk, Mysore District.


The court observed that “In the present case, the club is an association for providing recreational activities to its members and the members of the public are not entitled to demand any entrance either freely or on payment of any sum and the entry is restricted as per the terms of the bylaws to its members only.” Therefore, in light of the settled proposition of law that it is not necessary to obtain any permission or licence for the purpose of carrying on recreational activities by any club or association as observed in the judgments stated supra, the respondent police authorities insisting upon the petitioner to get licence under the provisions of the Karnataka Police Act, is arbitrary and unreasonable and calls for interference.”

By highlighting the above observation the court said that “The authorities concerned should not act with a presumption that every society or association or club registered for the purpose of running the club will be indulging in unlawful activities and with the realization that the power of surveillance and raids is to be used in bona fide exercise of powers to enforce the provisions of the Act, however, it is open for the respondent-police authorities to verify and find out the nature of the activities, if the need arises, so that the club premises may not be used for any illegal activities. Consequently, the respondents are directed not to interfere with the lawful activities of the petitioner’s association.”

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