Karnataka High Court Directs On Private Clubs Membership Suspension and Maintainability Of Writ Petition


Case no: WRIT PETITION NO.12325 OF 2024 (GM-KSR)

Order on: May 2, 2024



Fact of the case:

In this case, The petitioner M.R. Sanjay, challenged the suspension of his primary membership from a private club (Respondent No. 4) via an order dated 19.04.2024 issued by the club’s Secretary. Sanjay sought a writ of mandamus directing Respondent No. 3 to instruct Respondent No. 4 to withdraw the suspension order and additional reliefs.

Legal provisions:

Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India:

Article 226 empowers High Courts to issue certain writs for the enforcement of fundamental rights and for any other purpose.

Article 227 provides the High Courts with supervisory jurisdiction over all courts and tribunals within its jurisdiction.

 Contentions of Appellant:

The appellant argued that the suspension of his primary membership by the Secretary of Respondent No. 4 (the private club) was arbitrary and without proper justification. Sanjay contended that the suspension order violated the principles of natural justice, as he was not given a fair opportunity to present his case before the suspension was enforced. The appellant sought a writ of mandamus directing Respondent No. 3 to instruct Respondent No. 4 to withdraw the suspension order, arguing that such an order was necessary to rectify the injustice done to him.

 Contentions of Respondents:

The Senior Counsel for Respondent No. 4 argued that the writ petition was not maintainable under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India because the primary relief sought was against a private club and not against the state or any statutory authority. The respondents contended that the appropriate forum for challenging the suspension order was not the High Court under its writ jurisdiction but a different forum designated for addressing disputes related to private clubs. The respondents pointed out that since there was no direct involvement of the state or any statutory authority in the suspension order, the High Court should not entertain the writ petition.

 Court analysis:

The Court acknowledged the contention of the respondents regarding the maintainability of the writ petition. It agreed that since the primary relief sought was against a private club (Respondent No. 4), the writ petition might not be the appropriate legal recourse under Articles 226 and 227. The Court noted that the petitioner had other legal remedies available to challenge the suspension order, such as approaching the appropriate forum designated for disputes involving private clubs. Despite the maintainability issue, the Court took into account the petitioner’s request to have his representations considered. The petitioner expressed satisfaction if Respondent No. 3 was directed to consider his representations expeditiously. The writ petition was disposed of with directions to Respondent No. 3 to consider the petitioner’s representations and with the liberty granted to the petitioner to pursue other appropriate legal remedies against the suspension order. The Court explicitly stated that it has not expressed any opinion on the merits of the matter.

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Judgement Reviewed By- Antara Ghosh

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