Obnoxious move

Once upon a time, the legislature was held in high esteem for the quality of people elected, the concern they showed for the welfare of the state and the legislation they conceived for the overall betterment of society.

The elected representatives considered their election an honour and responsibility to serve the people. But of late, sadly, one sees a tendency among a section of legislators to view public office as an opportunity to grab power, to make illegitimate money and even ride roughshod over the rights of common people. These unfortunate tendencies are visible in the recommendations of a legislature committee for governmental interference and intervention in the functioning of social clubs in the state. The committee, set up by the 13th Karnataka legislative Assembly, and whose report was presented to the legislature on Friday, has suggested among other things, ‘honorary’ membership for elected representatives, doing away with so-called dress code, framing guidelines for clubs to fix membership fee and get government approval for it and setting up a state-level committee to monitor “their functioning within the framework of the law.”

First of all, it is a blatant violation of Articles 14 and 19(c) of the Constitution. People of the country have a right to form their own unions, associations or clubs and frame rules and regulations for running them, without interfering in the rights of other people. Just because some legislators were ostensibly denied membership of certain clubs in Bangalore, they cannot ask the government to poke its nose in the affairs of social clubs and intimidate them with all sorts of penal actions.

The fact that the legislature committee inspected only a handful of clubs in Bangalore and made sweeping recommendations to serve their self-interest clearly shows their mala fide intentions. The membership to any particular person, charging of fee or dress code are issues which the clubs can decide according to their bylaws and in consultation with their members. The government or the people’s representatives have absolutely no role in it. If any clubs have encroached on government property or violated building bylaws, there are sufficient laws to deal with them appropriately.

The Siddramaiah government and the Speaker, Kagodu Thimmappa, will hopefully see the absurdity and illegality of the recommendations of the committee and throw them out lock, stock and barrel. The prestigious clubs of Bangalore, which are the targets of the committee, should unite on this obnoxious move and take any legal course, if necessary.

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