Karnataka Golf Association is a ‘public authority’ under RTI Act, declares HC


Bengaluru: Dismissing a petition by the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA), the High Court has upheld the decision of the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) that it is a ‘public authority’ under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The KIC had declared the KGA a public authority under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act in an order on October 14, 2014. KGA had challenged this order before the HC.

Justice N S Sanjay Gowda heard the final arguments and delivered his judgment on the petition recently.

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In a batch of petitions earlier, the High Court had held that societies registered under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act such as Bangalore Turf Club, Mysore Race Club, Ladies Club and the Institution of Engineers (India) which were granted lands on the basis of lease by the government were public authorities since the grant of lands under lease amounted to these clubs being substantially financed by the government.

The HC in its judgment on the KGA said, “The government order which is produced along with this petition indicates that 124 acres of land has been leased to the petitioner’s Association for a period of 30 years from May 17, 2010, subject to the petitioner paying two per cent of annual gross income as lease rent for the fresh lease period.”

Thus, KGA was a public authority, the HC said.

“In my view, the fact that 124 acres of land has been leased on two per cent of the annual gross income would indicate that the Association has been substantially financed by the State. It is to be noticed here that the Golf Association can run the Golf Course only if the land is available to them and if the land is given to them on a heavily subsidised rent, this would amount to a substantial financing as contemplated under RTI Act,” the judgement said.

Citing the earlier judgments in the cases of the other clubs, the HC said, “In my view, it would be appropriate to follow the decision rendered in the aforementioned Writ Petitions and uphold the order of the Karnataka Information Commission which has held that the petitioner is a public authority as contemplated under the RTI Act.”

Umpathi S had filed a RTI application seeking information about the Club in 2012. Since his application was refused, he had approached the KIC.

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( With inputs from www.siasat.com )

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