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THE PALACE CLUB versus THE SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE

High Court of Madras

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The Palace Club v. The Superintendent of Police - WRIT PETITION NO 10543 OF 2002 [2002] RD-TN 298 (26 April 2002)



IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS

DATED: 26/04/2002

CORAM

THE HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE E.PADMANABHAN

WRIT PETITION NO 10543 OF 2002

AND

WPMP.No 14241 OF 2002

....

The Palace Club

rep. by its President,

P.Ravichandran

"Shemba Griha"

Cnanambika Mills P.O.,

Coimbatore 641 029 ..Petitioner Vs.

1. The Superintendent of Police

Coimbatore Rural District

Coimbatore

2. the Inspector of Police

M.4, Thudiyalur Police Sttion,

Coimbatore ..Respondents For petitioner:: MrN.Kannadasan

For respondents: Mr.K.Kumaresh Babu G.A.,

Petition filed under Article 226 of The Constitution of India praying for the issue of a writ of mandamus, as stated therein. :O R D E R



The petitioner prays for the issue of a writ of mandamus forbearing the respondents or their men or agents or subordinates from in any manner interfering with the peaceful running of the petitioner club.

2. At the time when the writ petition came up for admission, the learned Government Advocate took notice and he was granted two weeks time to get instructions. The matter came to be listed on 16.4.2002. With the consent of counsel for either side the writ petition itself is taken up for final disposal.

3. The learned counsel on either side relied upon an order passed by P.SATHASIVAM,J., in W.P.No.4870 of 2002, dated 19.2.2002 and P. SHANMUGAM,J., made in W.P.No.3724 of 2001 dated 8.8.2001 and represented that identical orders be passed in this writ petition as well.

4. The petitioner is a society registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975 with the main object to promote and provide sports both Indoor and Out door games for the benefit of its members. The members of the petitioner's association are very decent and respectable families viz., professionals such as Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Auditors and industrialists, besides businessmen. The petitioner Association is managed by a Committee and he activities of the Society is carried on as per the by-laws of the Society.

5. Whileso, the second respondent entered into the premises of the petitioner club in the guise of inspection on 21.3.20002 at 8.00 pm., and chosen to threaten the members as if they are carrying on gambling activities. The office bearers sought to explain the activities of the petitioner club, pointing out that the club cannot be equated with a common gaming house as defined in the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930. The petitioner caused a notice thr ough its Advocate on 22.3.2002. The petitioner apprehend that the second respondent is likely to initiate action at any time with respect to the indoor games played. The second respondent threatens that he will pick the club members as if they are playing "vettu aattam", even though no such game is permitted in the club premises. Hence the present writ petition.

6. Mr.N.Kannadasan, learned counsel for the petitioner relied upon the jdugement of the Apex Court in State of Andhra Pradesh Vs. K. Sathyanarayana reported in AIR 1968 SC 825 and contended that as per the said pronouncement and applying the principle laid down by the Apex Court, it cannot be contended that the petitioner club is making a profit or running a gaming house, besides contending that game of rummy is not game of entirely of chance and it is mainly a game of skill.

7. The only point that arise for consideration is: Whether a blanket mandamus could be issued as prayed for by the petitioner?

8. In this respect, it is pointed out that the point raised in this writ petition is covered by umpteen number of earlier orders passed by very many Learned Judges of this court. P.SHANMUGAM,J., in W.P.No.3724 of 2001, dated 8.8.2001 (Royal Manamagizh Mandram, Dindigul Vs. The Superintendent of Police, Dindigul and another) held thus:-

6. The question of whether game of rmmy is a game ofchance ora skill game came up for considration before the Supreme Court in State of Andhra Pradesh Vs. K.Satyanarayana (AIR 1968 SC 825). Their Lordships in this case, while observing that the game of rummy is not a game entirely of chance like the Three card game, held that rummy requires certain amount of skill because the fall of cards has to be memorised and the building up of rummy requires considerable skill in holding and discarding cards. It is mainly and preponderantly a game of skill. However, their Lordships observed as follows:-

"Of course, if there is evidence of gambling in some other ay or that the owner of the house or the club is making a profit or gain from the game of rummy or any other game played for stakes, the offence may be brought home". Thus, if the club is involved in making a profit out of the game of rummy, then it is open to the respondents to take appropriate proceedings. As has been held in many decisions, the question whether the petitioner club is involved in recreational activities an games of pure skill is a pure question of fact and therefore, there cannot be a blanket order restraining the respondents from interfering with their activities.

7. The Inspector of Police has filed a counter affidavit wherein he has stated that they have not threatened the members of the petitioner club or any other person for extraneous reasons. He has denied the allegations. However, he has stated that five criminal cases have been registered under the Tamil Nadu Gambling Act previously against the members of the petitioner club and all the cases ended in conviction during the year 1998-2000. He has further clearly stated that the petitioner club and its premises had been used only for gambling and not for social welfare activities. No reply to this counter affidavit has been filed.

8. Therefore, while it is the right of the petitioner to have recreational activities which are not prohibited, the respondents right to take appropriate proceedings against illegal games of betting, wagering etc., is also provided for under the Act. Therefore, there cannot be a blanket direction as prayed for by the petitioner. The question whether a particular game is a game of skill or or chance is to be decided on the facts and circumstances of each case. As and when proceedings are initiated against the petitioner in accordance with law, petitioner shall always have the right to question the same or challenge the action of the respondents if it is not in accordance with law."

9. P.SATHASIVAM,J., by following the order of P.SHANMUGAM,J., in Dharapuram Recreation Club, Erode District Vs. Superintendent of Police, Erode and others, made in WP.4870 of 2002, dated 19.2.2002, held that so long as the activity of the petitioner club does not violate any of the provisions, the respondents have no right to interfere with their activities. The learned Judge further made it clear if the respondents receive any complaint from any one and suspect the activities of the petitioner's club, undoubtedly the respondents are entitled to verify and investigate the mater.

10. In the present case while respectfully following the said two orders, this court while declining to grant a blanket mandamus as prayed for, give the following directions:

"(i) So long as the petitioner's Association/Club or its members carry on lawful activities, the respondents shall not interfere. However, if the respondents have specific information or bona fide suspect that the activities carried on by the petitioner club or its members are not in accordance with the statutory provisions, or the respondents have reason to believe that there is a violation of the provisions of the Gaming Act or any other enactment, it is well open to the respondents or their subordinates to enter the petitioner club premises, conduct investigation, question those who involved themselves in such activities and take appropriate action.

(ii) It is open to the petitioner or its members to defend themselves in case of any prosecution levelled and it is equally open to them to challenge the action of the respondents if it is not in accordance with law. (iii) The respondents or their subordinates or their men shall not be entitled to enter into the club premises or question the office bearers or other members of the club, so long as the Club members confine their club to lawful activities as is permissible in law and if specific information is received, after recording the same in the Station Records, the respondents may enter, investigate, question the members, proceed further according to the gravity of the offence or the violation detected, as the case may be".

11. The writ petition is ordered in the above terms. Consequently, connected WPMP is dismissed. No costs.

Internet:Yes

Index:Yes

gkv

26-04-2002

Copy to:-

1. The Superintendent of Police

Coimbatore Rural District

Coimbatore

2. the Inspector of Police

M.4, Thudiyalur Police Sttion,

Coimbatore

E.PADMANABHAN.J.,

Order in

W.P.No:10543 of 2002

Pronounced on 26-04-2002




Copyright

Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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