Delhi Gymkhana members: Bhagavad Gita on premises against non-religious character of club

Delhi Gymkhana Club

New Delhi, Dec 22 : A Bhagavad Gita on the premises, conversion of an organic garden into a party lawn, and holding seminars and skill training programs along with other slew of decisions taken by the Centre’s appointed administrator, who is managing the affairs of the Delhi Gymkhana Club (DGC), has irked several members of the club.

Speaking to IANS, Major Atul Dev (retd.), a member of the former general committee (GC) of the club, said an opened Bhagavad Gita has been placed on the library counter of the club. Dev said several members have objected to it and placing religious scriptures on the premises of the club was not done before. Vishal Marwah, a member of the former GC, said the club is a non-political and non-religious institution. Another member, on the condition of anonymity, added that placing religious scriptures on the club’s premises hurts the character of the club.

Speaking with IANS the club’s administrator Om Pathak, a former Uttar Pradesh cadre IAS officer, said: “I presented the Gita from my own funds…it is a book to celebrate.” He added that the member’s perception in the matter is not correct.

Regarding the organic garden, a communication sent from the members to the administrator said: “Recently, you have issued instructions for the conversion of the Organic Farm of the Club into a party lawn. All vegetables are being uprooted and ground being prepared for laying a lawn, with functional party facilities, as an additional party lawn. The organic garden is very popular with the members. It was also supplying vegetables to the club kitchen.”

The note added that an outlay of Rs 48 lakh was made for setting up of an organic garden a few years ago. “This also contravenes the Order of the NCLT not to progress any works in the Club. It may also be noted that this space has been earmarked for the Phase II of our expansion plan which has received sanction from the NDMC,” added the note.

A member of the former GC of the club said the administrator has also started conducting seminars, defence dialogue, and training skill programs, which have very thin attendance. He added that the club is required to conduct activities connected to sports and ancillary to sports and pastimes.

The club members in the note to the administrator said: “Creating a category of Sub Committees called ‘India First Societies’ with charters completely outside the mandate of DGC in accordance with the Memorandum of Association or even our Lease Deed. These societies appear like ‘Think Tanks’ with non-members being part of them, all tasked with responsibilities of conducting seminars, research and publication of papers! This violates the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association, as the activities of the Club are sports related and ancillary to sports and pastimes. These societies do not figure as part of sports or ancillary to sports and pastimes.”

The NCLAT, on February 15 this year, dissolved the club’s GC and directed the Centre to appoint an administrator to manage its affairs, after the Ministry of Corporate Affairs moved the tribunal alleging corruption, mismanagement, and nepotism in the club.

On September 30, in a major relief for the former general committee of the club, the Supreme Court, while hearing the appeals filed against the NCLAT, remanded the matter back to the NCLT and asked it to settle it within four months.

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