Make legislators honorary members of clubs: Panel

Make legislators honorary members of clubs: Panel

A Legislature committee, set up to look into the functioning of clubs, has recommended that dress codes should be done away with and honorary memberships should be given to local MLAs, MLCs and MPs.

The interim report of the seven-member committee, which was placed in the Assembly, suggested that the State government should set up a State-level monitoring committee to ensure that the clubs function within the framework of the law.

The panel was set up in November last year during the term of the 13th Legislative Assembly, with erstwhile BJP MLA Hemachandra Sagar as its chairperson.

The committee has stated that clubs should be directed to allow anybody wearing a “decent” dress to enter their premises. It suggested that the government should frame guidelines for clubs to fix membership fee and make it mandatory for them to obtain permission before finalising it.

Action should be taken against clubs which have encroached upon government land and those without necessary permissions. Steps should be taken to close down such establishments.

The committee has also recommended that a separate legislation called the Club Recreation Act be enacted, making a provision for those who have won prestigious awards at national and state levels, sportspersons, ex-servicemen and noted personalities to become honorary members of any club of their choice in the State.

The committee stated that it could not inspect all the clubs in the State due to paucity of time and recommended that the committee should be reconstituted in the 14th Assembly. The committee inspected the Karnataka State Cricket Association, Bangalore Turf Club, Century Club, Bowring Institute and the Golf Club during its tenure.

The panel was set up after MLAs complained that certain clubs have imposed strict dress code and refused entry to people wearing chappals and dhotis. They had dubbed it “colonial hangover.”

Reacting to the recommendations of the panel, Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) president Sumit Rathore said: “We already have some ministers as members of our club. If required, we will accommodate the honorary memberships, provided there are vacancies. We have certain limitations on honorary memberships. On the dress code, we do have certain regulations and any changes will have to be placed before the general body for further consideration.”

Century Club president Venkatesh welcomed the idea of giving honorary memberships to the elected representatives. “Clubs give memberships to people according to their whims and fancies. What is wrong if an elected representative is given a membership? Most of these clubs are set up on government land. We welcome it”, he said. Karnataka State Cricket Association president Anil Kumble refused to react.  It is learnt that representatives of various clubs in Bangalore will soon meet to discuss the recommendations.

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