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The history of Belgaum Club

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On 20th March 1818, Gen Munro surrounded the Belgaum(now Belagavi) Fort with the British Army troops who marched from Madras. On 12th April Gen Munro captured the Belgaum fort and placed it under the Military Command of Madras.


In 1832 1776 acres of land were declared as a ‘Cantonment’. In 1836 the first Collectorate of Belgaum was formed and placed under the ‘Southern Division’ of the Presidency of Bombay. In 1879 the Bombay Land Revenue Code was promulgated, thus empowering the Collector as the senior Revenue officer of a District to attend to all matters of leasing out land for revenue in the District.

In 1882, the Easements Act was passed which led to the formation of the club. The club was initially formed by European officers posted in Belgaum and was located in the present Cantonment Board Office. The Officers contributed Rs.15,000/- from their own funds for the establishment of the club.

The All India Cantonment Act of 1889 gave vast powers to the local government. In 1897 the Government Resolution 905 of the Revenue Department of the Bombay Province clarifies Government policy for leasing imperial or provincial government land. This resolution established the preeminent position of the Local Government to advise on the revenue aspects of any crown land that is to be leased out, although it could be done only if the Central Department relinquishes the land.

In 1898 Government Resolution 2206 authorizes the Collector of the District to lease out the land in Cantonment provided it is relinquished by the Military Department. In 1899 the Collector of Belgaum, acting on Government Resolution 2206, the All India Cantonment Act 1889 and the Bombay Revenue Land Revenue Code and having ascertained from the Madras Deputy Adjunct General, licensed out about 11.62416 acres of land which was not likely of any use to the army to the Belgaum club for a rent of Rs.5/- a year for no fixed term. The invitation to put up permanent structures was explicitly stated in the license. The members sell ‘Old Club’ and invest Rs.15,000/- in ‘New Club’.

Old photo of the Belgaum Club
Old photo of the Belgaum Club

In 1899, Government Resolution 5402 retrieves for the Military Department some powers to lease or license land, in view of the formalization of leasing procedures in the Cantonment Code of 1899.

In 1900, the Belgaum Club’s members, on the DEO’s admission raised another Rs.20,000/- through debentures, to improve the Club building. An amount of Rs.35,000/- for the cost of construction of the Club was provided from the member’s private funds.

In 1908, Mr. C. N. Mehta, Special Investigating Officer of the Government title to lands in Cantonment submitted the Commission’s report in which he expressed the Government’s satisfaction at the Belgaum Club’s legitimate occupation of its site in the Cantonment.

The Cantonment Act is passed in 1924. The Cantonment Land Administration rules passed under the act, according to which the office of the Army Military Estate’s Officer takes over the estate management duties from the Adjunct General.

In 1932, Col H. F. W Paterson, Director, Military Land, and Cantonments, urges the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command, to lease 11.36 acres of land to the Belgaum Club for a rent of Rs.5 but for a fixed term of 10 years. In 1941, the lease was reduced to 5 years for Rs.5/- p.a. The lease was extended for the same period and amount in the years 1946 and 1951.

On 10-01-1967, the Station Commandant of Belgaum walked out of the Club, withdrawing all Military officers who hitherto enjoyed block membership of the Club. On 29-01-1969 the Belgaum Club received a letter of summary eviction and Army troops were prepared to capture the Belgaum Club by force which was stopped by a court order. The Army was restrained from evicting Belgaum Club except through ‘due process of law’. The due process continues to date.

Adapted from the Belgaum Club Website

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