The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition by a lawyer, who had challenged the cancellation of his Saket DDA sports complex membership for non-payment of subscription fee claiming he was not liable to pay since the facility was not offering any services amid the outbreak of COVID-19.
Justice Subramonium Prasad said there was no announcement from the sports complex for waiver of subscription fees owing to the closure of the facilities and noted that the complex was closed only for certain time periods and was fully functional for the remaining days when the petitioner could have availed its facilities.
“It is apparent that it was known to the petitioner that he had not paid the subscription fees and his membership was liable to be terminated. It was the duty of the petitioner to make payments of the subscription fees so as to ensure continuance of the same. There was no announcement from the sports complex for waiver of subscription fees owing to the closure of the facilities in light of the directions issued by the government from time to time,” said the court in its order dated May 31.
“The DDA in its reply to the legal notice sent by the petitioner mentioned that the sports complex was closed only for certain periods, i.e. from 20th March, 2020 to 20th May, 2020, from 19th April, 2021 to 05th July, 2021, and from 28th December, 2021 to 01 February, 2022, and for rest of the days, the sports complex was fully functional and facilities of the sports complex could have been availed by the petitioner,” the court stated.
The court observed that the petitioner has no vested right to seek a direction for restoration of his membership which was terminated due to his “lackadaisical approach in clearing of subscription dues” and the authorities had sent him a letter stating that his name has been included in the list of defaulters.
The DDA lawyer said that the petitioner was informed about the non-payment of the subscription and if he pays the subscription dues, the authorities would consider restoring his membership.
The petitioner contended that due to the outbreak of COVID-19, all the facilities of the complex were closed in light of government guidelines and since he and his family members had contracted the virus, he was not in position to avail them from April 2020 to March 2022.
He claimed that when he visited the sports complex to enquire about the commencement of swimming activity in view of the relaxed government guidelines, he was informed that his membership had been cancelled.
The court was further informed that his membership had been cancelled with effect from October 14, 2021 due to non-payment of membership subscription fees from January 2020.
The petitioner asserted that his membership was cancelled without following the due procedure of law and also that he was not liable to pay the subscription fee since the sports complex was not offering any services amidst the outbreak of COVID-19.
The court was of the opinion that it cannot be said that the sports complex acted in an arbitrary manner in cancelling the membership as it stems solely from his failure in paying the subscription fees and that the petitioner has not brought on record any material to show that it was against the applicable rules and by-laws.