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PIL in HC against discrimination in clubs

 NEW DELHI, Oct 11 - A tribal woman, who was in the news after being asked to leave the Delhi Golf Club due to her attire, on Tuesday moved Delhi High Court for a direction to places of public entertainment not to discriminate against anyone or violate the right to human dignity.

The issue came up for hearing before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar, which sought the premier club’s response to the plea which has also asked for a token compensation of Rs one to the woman, Kong Tailin Lyngdoh.

The bench issued notice to the Centre on the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Lyngdoh and three others seeking a direction to the Centre to ensure compliance of the constitutional provisions of equality and non-discrimination by establishments which have been allotted land on lease.

The bench fixed the matter for further hearing on January 30 next year.

The PIL, filed by advocate Vrinda Grover, said Lyngdoh was wrongly subjected to unconstitutional restrictions by not allowing her to sit in the dining area of the club, thereby violating her fundamental rights.

After the incident, Lyngdoh, a governess, had accused the club and its members of allowing racial profiling of people which tantamounted to racial discrimination of tribal people, which is a punishable offence.

Even the Meghalaya State Commission for Women (MSCW) had summoned the Delhi Golf Club secretary over the incident, but the move was stayed by the Delhi High Court.

On June 25, staffers of the Club had asked Lyngdoh, an invited guest, to leave the dining room as her traditional Khasi attire ‘jainsem’ looked like a “maid’s uniform”.

Besides Lyngdoh, the other petitioners are journalist Patricia Mukhim, Prof Sanjoy Hazarika, currently director of an NGO, and activist V Mohini Giri.

In their plea, they have contended that such prohibition was unreasonable and amounted to violation of “freedom”.

The PIL has sought a direction to set aside the rules, regulations, bye-laws and memorandum of association of the club as they were in violation of the Constitution.

It also said that discrimination practised at various places of public entertainment, resorts, clubs, societies, body-corporates and associations, under the garb of rules and regulations, restrict the enjoyment of fundamental rights.

The petitioners have sought guidelines for adequate protection of civil rights and for governing the practices of clubs akin to the Golf Club, societies, body corporates and associations “in the absence of adequate legislative protection”.

It also said that “Delhi has reportedly been the site of the highest number of incidents of violence and discrimination against people from North East.” – PTI

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