Tribal lady’s ouster: HC reserves order on Golf Club’s plea

New Delhi, Oct 25: (PTI) The Delhi High Court today reserved its order on a plea challenging summoning of Delhi Golf Club secretary by the Meghalaya women’s panel over an incident in which a tribal woman was allegedly ousted from the dining room as her attire looked like a “maid’s uniform”.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru reserved the order after hearing arguments of Delhi Golf Club, the petitioner and the Meghalaya State Commission for Women (MSCW), which had on July 3 issued order summoning the club’s secretary.
During the hearing, senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, appearing for the club, argued that the woman, an employee of a guest, was invited there by a member and the club does not allow employees and governesses attending kids inside its premises.
“As per the club’s rules, they can be brought there as guests but not to attend to kids,” he said.
His submission was opposed by the state women’s panel which said it was discrimination against the woman as she was asked to leave because of her traditional attire.
After hearing the parties, the judge said “sometimes we find some rules of these private entities offensive. You should then take up the rule with the authorities but this does not mean you will flout it.”
The high court had on July 13 stayed the order of the state commission till further directions, saying “prima facie” there was merit in the submissions of the counsel for club.
The commission had directed the secretary of the club to appear in person before it.
Challenging the commission’s order, the club had said the panel in Meghalaya did not have jurisdiction to issue such a direction on an incident which had happened outside the state.
The commission had acted upon a complaint made by Tailin Lyngdoh, a governess who had accused the club and its members of allowing racial profiling of people, which was tantamount to racial discrimination of tribal people, a punishable offence.
On June 25, staffers of the Delhi Golf Club had asked Lyngdoh, an invited guest, to leave the dining room because her traditional Khasi attire ‘jainsem’ “looked like a maid’s uniform”.
Lyngdoh, along with her employer Nivedita Borthakur Sondhi, had deposed before the commission.
The chairperson of the MSCW said the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Commission for Women had taken note of the incident, and the National Commission for Schedule Tribes and the National Commission for Human Rights had also been petitioned.
Borthakur had said Lyngdoh was part of the nine other guests at the club but she was singled out because of the ‘jainsem’ she was wearing and apparently her looks.