The Karnataka High Court has recently held that the Police authorities should not act with a presumption that every society or association or club registered for the purpose of running the club will be indulging in unlawful activities.

The Police should act with the realization that the power of surveillance and raids is to be used in bona fide exercise of powers to enforce the provisions of law, the High Court observed.

A Recreation Club approached the Karnataka High Court seeking a declaration that it is not required to obtain any license under the provisions of Licensing and Controlling of Places of the Public Amusement Order. The Club offered Indoor games such as Rummy (Card Game), Chess, Carom, Billiards, Skilled Games and other Outdoor games.

The Mysore Police insisted the petitioner Club to obtain license under the provisions of Licensing and Controlling of Places of the Public Amusement Order. The Police refused permission to the Club to run the recreational activities as the same would require a license under the provisions of Karnataka Police Act.

The Bench of Justice KS Hemalekha of the Karnataka High Court has held that "it is not necessary to obtain any permission or licence for the purpose of carrying on recreational activities by any club or association" and "police authorities insisting upon the petitioner to get licence under the provisions of the Karnataka Police Act, is arbitrary and unreasonable and calls for interference". The High Court has directed the Police not to interfere with the lawful activities of the petitioner's Club.

The High Court reasoned that the club is an association for providing recreational activities to its members and the members of the public are not entitled to demand any entrance either freely or on payment of any sum and the entry is restricted as per the terms of the byelaws to its members only.

"However, it is open for the respondent-police authorities to verify and find out the nature of the activities, if need arises, so that the club premises may not be used for any illegal activities", read the Order of the High Court.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the Petition.

Cause Title- Sri Siragalli Lakshmidevi Recreation Club (R) v. The State of Karnataka

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