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    Delhi Golf Club now comes under transparency act


    [caption id=attachment_355" align="alignright" width="300]Delhi Golf Club under RTI Delhi Golf Club under RTI[/caption]


    The commission held that Delhi Golf club is both substantially financed as well as substantially controlled by Central Government and hence fall under the purview of RTI Act 2005. There is no doubt that DGC is not covered either under sub clause (a) or (b) or © of clause (h) of Section 2, but DGC is covered under first para of subclause (d) of clause (h) of Section 2, i.e. “body owned, controlled or substantially financed” by the Central Govt.

    Delhi Gold club receives indirect financing of DGC by the Central Govt. u/s 2(h) (d)(i) of the RTI Act, therefore, DGC is a public authority under RTI Act 2005.

    The presence of senior Govt. officers in the Management Committee of Delhi Golf Club surely indicates that Central Govt. exercises reasonable amount of control over the affairs of DGC.

    Delhi Golf Club : how is it substantially financed by Central Government?

    The commission noted that, the land roughly valued at Rs.46,722 crores has been leased out to Delhi Golf Club for a petty consideration of Rs.5.82 lakhs per annum. It is a case of indirect financing of DGC by the Central Govt. u/s 2(h) (d)(i) of the RTI Act.


    The details of the fact are as under:


    The land leased out to DGC is 179 acres. This area falls in category ‘A’ locality for which the minimum rate is Rs.6.45 lakhs per sq.metre. 179 acres is equivalent to 7,24,380 sq.m. If this figure is multiplied with the minimum rate of valuation (i.e. 7,24,380 x 6,45,000), the total figure comes to about Rs.46,722 crores. As against the land value of Rs.46,722 crores, the Central Govt. is getting rental/licence fee of only Rs.5,82,520/per year. Even if the allowance is made for the fact that land in question is not being used for residential purposes, and is being used for the game of golf, the fact remains that there is overwhelming disproportion between the market value of the land and rental/license fee, being paid by DGC to the Central Govt. In view of this, the prime chunk of land has been leased out to DGC at a pittance.


    To bring home the argument that Delhi Golf club is substantially financed by Central agovernment, CIC took the recourse to the earlier decisions of the court and commission.


    In decision dated 22.4.2010 in Amardeep Walia –vs Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association (File No. CIC/LS/C/2009/900377), the Central Information Commission held Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association to be public authority. For a private entity to qualify to be a public authority, substantive financing does not mean ‘majority’ financing. What is important is that the funding by the appropriate Government is achieving a “felt need of a section of the public or to secure larger societal goals.”  A huge property has been placed at the disposal of CLTA by the Chandigarh Administration at a notional rental of Rs.100/per annum. Concededly, CLTA fulfills the felt need of a section of the society by way of imparting training to the budding tennis players. It is, therefore, held that CLTA is a Public Authority.”


    In another decision dated 21.1.2011 in Pradeep Bhanot –Vs Chandigarh Club, Chandigarh (File No. CIC/LS/A/2010/001184), the Central Information Commission held that the Chandigarh Club was a public authority.  The Commission had concluded that Chandigarh Club was public authority under section 2(h) because the bodies like Chandigarh Club etc are providing the public service and while fixing the rate of rent in such bodies, this aspect is taken into consideration. In view of the public services being provided by these bodies, the said bodies can not be termed as commercial sites. Due to this reason, the rent of Chandigarh Club was fixed as Rs 1,08,208/per month with effect from 20.7.2000 with annual increase of 5%. In case we consider the Chandigarh Club as commercial site, then the rent comes out to be rupees to 3157400 per month. Keeping in view the urban character of the city, rent being charged from the Chandigarh Club is not at par with the market rent. Further, by charging the rent at a lower rate, it will make amply clear that the Chandigarh Administration is indirectly financing the promotion of services being rendered by the Chandigarh Club..”


    Furthermore, in Amrit Mehta –Vs India International Centre (File No. CIC/WB/A/2009/000965/LS) decided on 1.2.2011, the Commission held that India International Centre is a public authority under section 2(h). Considering the fact that a huge chunk of land was allotted to IIC in 1960 in the very heart of the capital city of Delhi at a premium of Rs.1,68,840/only and also considering the fact that IIC is paying rent of only Rs. 8,442/per year to the Central Government over all these years, in our opinion, amounts to indirect substantial financing of IIC by the Central Government. In this view of the matter, we hold that IIC is a Public Authority under section 2(h) of the RTI Act.”


    Yet another decision of this Commission needs to be adverted to in this connection. 6,000 Sq. Mts. of land was allotted to Delhi Public School, Rohini, by DDA at a highly subsidised rate of Rs. 65 lacs per acre in February, 1997. Another plot of land measuring 10,000 sq. mtrs. was also allotted to DPS, Rohini, for a play ground on temporary basis on payment of nominal ground rent of only Rs. 10/per annum. The question before the Commission was whether DPS, Rohini, can be deemed to be a Public Authority in terms of section 2(h) of the RTI Act. Vide decision dated 23.8.2011 in File No. CIC/SG/C/2010/001036/AD, this Commission held that in the facts and circumstances of the case, DPS, Rohini, is a Public Authority under section 2(h). The reasoning given by the Commission is encapsulated in the para extracted hereinafter. “Considering the above factual matrix of the case at hand, one can sum up that 6000 sq.mts of land has been given to the school at a concessional rate of Rs. 65 lacs per acreand 10,000 sq. mts of land at a highly subsidised nominal ground rent of Rs. 10/per Annum by DDA.

    Delhi Golf Club- How is it substantially controlled by Central Government?

    Clause 2(h)(d)(i) of RTI act  contemplates ‘control’ and not ‘substantial control’ by the appropriate Govt. Control need not be pervasive; even nominal control amounts to control as per this statutory provision. The commission recorded that "The presence of senior Govt. officers in the Management Committee of DGC contemplated in clause 21(i) of the Amendment Deed leaves no manner of doubt in my mind that Central Govt. exercises reasonable amount of control over the affairs of DGC. This finding is further strengthened by the fact that this clause also empowers the Ministries of the Central Govt. to nominate over 150 Members in DGC.


    In view of the above discussion, I hold that DGC is public authority u/s 2(h) of the RTI Act. Hence, the President of Delhi Golf Club Limited is hereby directed to nominate an official as Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) and another as Appellate Authority (AA) within six weeks from the receipt of this order, the commissions stated."


    In nutshell Delhi Golf Cub who has been enjoying our tax payers money of 46,000 crores and who have been governed substantially by Government now has been duly brought under the RTI Act 2005. At least the list NFC those prevail idle 25 officers getting the membership can be known to those who never got the chance to play golf.


    There are many discussions on the issue of substantially financed at our forum, kindly follow the link to read the, here! Last year's renewal of the DGC's lease deed till 2050 had another rich-and-famous side to it. The Ministry of UA & PA had at the time recommended 18 persons for DGC membership. The list included a famous fashion designer, a junior Central minister, the son of the chief minister of a northern Congress-ruled state, a couple of high-profile lawyers, and a senior bureaucrat.

    In a letter to the DGCL, the ministry had said it would nominate a total of 25 people under the 'Limited Playing Rights (LPR) regular membership category' and 15 under 'Out of Turn Regular membership category' over a period of time. There's such a long queue for the membership for this prestigious club that if you apply today, you may have to wait up to 30 years to get the nod.

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