Should elected reps be granted a free pass into clubs? No!

There are two separate issues in the Bangalore Club case, which the government is now trying to tackle through a law. And of the two, only one is legitimate.

The first issue is whether Indian dress code should be disallowed from any premises, even a private one. I don’t think so. It’s not nice, and some would say it seems undignified. Possibly. But if a private group wants to set up rules for its own members, and they’re all ok with it, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. By the same token, if the government wants to wage war on such a group, it’s their own lookout, and I wouldn’t lose sleep over that either. 

The second is whether MLAs, MPs, and other elected representatives should be automatically entitled to membership in a private club. That one is a big stretch, and the answer is clearly ‘no’. Being a lawmkaer gives someone membership into the law-making body, and it is not one of the privileges of that body to be granted a free pass into any institution that its members want to be part of.

There is more public support for the first issue, but zero support for the second one. Which may be why the two have been clubbed together – to get the second one in the name of the first.

The irony is also that long-standing issues in development are pending the attention of lawmakers for years, but distractions like club memberships and resorts seem to have no trouble getting on the radar.

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Ashwin Mahesh
About Ashwin Mahesh 85 Articles
Ashwin Mahesh has been involved in public policy for Bengaluru through his work with the Karnataka government. The views expressed here are his own. He is a member of the Lok Satta party. He is also CEO of Mapunity Information Services, and a director at Oorvani Media, publisher of Citizen Matters and India Together. He is also a visiting faculty with the Centre for Public Policy at IIM Bangalore.

1 Comment

  1. If only you had told the truth to your readers they would have come to a different conclusion. These elite clubs are corrupt to the core, taxpayers pay for their subsidized liquor and have been paying off Inspectors for survival. Century Club has violated every rule of Cubbon Park, Bangalore Club has no title to their land and has been operating bars without proper liquor license. And other clubs …..

    In a country where law applies equally to everyone, they would have either been shut down or imposed humongous fines that they would have been bankrupt by now.

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