Judge appointed to resolve Parsi Punchayet dispute

Justice (retired) BN Shrikrishna was appointed by the Bombay high court as mediator for the resolution of a dispute between the Parsi Punchayet Trust and Properties and some members of the community regarding the construction of a 14-storey building in Andheri for poor and needy Parsis.

Published in Hindustan Times

The division bench of justice SA Bobde and justice Mridula Bhatkar has directed the warring factions — Parsi Punchayet and community members Bomy Patrawala and Parvez Firoze — to remain present before justice Shrikrishna on February 6.

The dispute pertains to 43,000 sqm land at Panthaki Baug in Andheri donated to the Punchayet for Merit Rating Scheme under which housing at concessional rates is provided to poor, needy and deserving Zoroastrians.

The Parsi Punchayet had approached the high court challenging an order by the Charity Commissioner on November 5, 2008, acting on a complaint by Patrawala and Firoze. The trust had contended that the Charity Commissioner had unnecessarily interfered in the implementation of the scheme.

On October 15, 2009, the parties to the petition, however, filed consent terms on the basis of which the court allowed the Punchayet to dispose of the remaining constructed flats to deserving Parsis. The Punchayet had given an undertaking that they would, within two years, construct buildings with at least 300 flats.

The trust has now moved a plea seeking extension.Their counsel Rafiq Dada pointed out procedural and technical hurdles faced by the trust and sought three years more.

Nilima Dutta, counsel for the two community members, opposed the plea contending that the order contemplates entertaining extensions only if substantial progress is made in the construction.

  • Adar Bahman

    Such mediation proceedings have not yielded any results  in the past as experience would suggest.Many a well  meaning persons with interest of community at heart  and for sake of avoiding adverse publicity have opposed misutisation of Trust Funds towards legal charges. The not so magnificent seven are under pressure not to squander public trust money in propping up their  false egos and if rumors are to be believed they already dangling a carrot to the priest in the RENEGADE matter as the Trustees do not want to face public ire if verdict of apex court uphold the Bombay High Court judgment. 

  • Zerxes Dordi

    Much truth in what has been said by Adar. Conciliation and mediation are just time pass tactics. The mediator enjoys hospitality of the concerned disputing  persons and then will say, he has failed in making both parties arrive at a Settlement and so you back to square one.

  • Zerxes Dordi

    Much truth in what has been said by Adar. Conciliation and mediation are just time pass tactics. The mediator enjoys hospitality of the concerned disputing  persons and then will say, he has failed in making both parties arrive at a Settlement and so you back to square one.

  • Tehmul

    If WAPIZ Trustees do not stick to their firm stand and get the matter settled by the apex court, and instead go for some out of court settlement as said by Adarbahman then they are compromising the assurance given to us orthodox group that they will take all steps to preserve and protect our heritage. Where is the need for mediation. No court can interfere in Religious affairs and once our high priests are represented then Bombay High Court judgment is bound to set aside.

  • Tehmul

    If WAPIZ Trustees do not stick to their firm stand and get the matter settled by the apex court, and instead go for some out of court settlement as said by Adarbahman then they are compromising the assurance given to us orthodox group that they will take all steps to preserve and protect our heritage. Where is the need for mediation. No court can interfere in Religious affairs and once our high priests are represented then Bombay High Court judgment is bound to set aside.

  • Tehmul

    If WAPIZ Trustees do not stick to their firm stand and get the matter settled by the apex court, and instead go for some out of court settlement as said by Adarbahman then they are compromising the assurance given to us orthodox group that they will take all steps to preserve and protect our heritage. Where is the need for mediation. No court can interfere in Religious affairs and once our high priests are represented then Bombay High Court judgment is bound to set aside.

  • Dorab.

    Some of the Trustees are scared of the ire of the general Parsi that will get reflected in the next election and if sources in BPP are to be believed, hectic efforts are going on to avoid going to apex court and for that they want some face saving formula after the egg on their faces.

  • Dorab.

    Some of the Trustees are scared of the ire of the general Parsi that will get reflected in the next election and if sources in BPP are to be believed, hectic efforts are going on to avoid going to apex court and for that they want some face saving formula after the egg on their faces.

  • Dorab.

    Some of the Trustees are scared of the ire of the general Parsi that will get reflected in the next election and if sources in BPP are to be believed, hectic efforts are going on to avoid going to apex court and for that they want some face saving formula after the egg on their faces.

  • Phiroze

    Why only the WAPIZ trustees, all the trustees will face the ire of Parsis if they fail to preserve and protect our traditions. I agree with Tehmul on the gaurantees of the Indian constitution. The efforts are only to save the litigation cost. But if the other side does not see reason the trustees will do the needful.

  • Phiroze

    Why only the WAPIZ trustees, all the trustees will face the ire of Parsis if they fail to preserve and protect our traditions. I agree with Tehmul on the gaurantees of the Indian constitution. The efforts are only to save the litigation cost. But if the other side does not see reason the trustees will do the needful.

  • Tehmul.

    You see Mr. Phiroze, 
    the reason why I mentioned Trustees belonging to WAPIZ specifically
    is  due to:-

    Firstly, though all Trustees who  are a part of the Resolution  have to avoid this embarrassment, the reason
    why I said WAPIZ Trustees is because they alone were courageous  enough to initiate this  bold move.

    Secondly, it was their conviction and commitment to the
    electorate to revive the Parsipanu and banish the forces of those who
    encouraged mixed marriages.

    Thirdly, WAPIZ page alone complimented all BPP Trustees in
    adopting this defrocking resolution.

    So in the eyes of the general Parsi, their admiration for
    WAPIZ Trustees would be adversely impacted if any compromise  does not overturn the interpretation of the
    Court that B.P.P. Trustees  can not
    interfere in religious affairs since B.P.P. was specifically created by our
    ancestors to manage  estates left behind
    by way of donation by philanthropists. My anxiety, which many in WAPIZ have
    expressed, is  to protect the image of
    Trustees belonging to our organization and see that it does not suffer. In fact
    I ardently wish that in future all Trustees belong to this Organisation so
    that  we can  isolate  all soda lemon elements and bring discipline
    in the Community and respect for words of 
    our High Priests .This can happen only if the Appeal succeeds.

    Hope this clarifies misgivings.

  • Merdastoor

    Phiroze, You are absolutely right that efforts should be made to save the litigation costs. But  can you justify going for Appeal in Supreme Court when  theoretical rights of only one  solitary priest are concerned and as it is   ‘he is too busy’ with performing juddin Navjotes. Even otherwise the Panthakies of two Agiaries under aegis of BPP will never avail of his services and as for Towers of Silence there is already a managing agency system. So what is to be gained by filing an appeal except squandering Trust monies to pamper  hurt egos.Are B.P.P. Trustees concerned with only one defrocked priest more than the community at large?

  • Merdastoor

    Phiroze, You are absolutely right that efforts should be made to save the litigation costs. But  can you justify going for Appeal in Supreme Court when  theoretical rights of only one  solitary priest are concerned and as it is   ‘he is too busy’ with performing juddin Navjotes. Even otherwise the Panthakies of two Agiaries under aegis of BPP will never avail of his services and as for Towers of Silence there is already a managing agency system. So what is to be gained by filing an appeal except squandering Trust monies to pamper  hurt egos.Are B.P.P. Trustees concerned with only one defrocked priest more than the community at large?

  • Del_honey

    hi Tehmul thanks for summarizing it so well. i agree with you. God bless

  • Del_honey

    hi Tehmul thanks for summarizing it so well. i agree with you. God bless

  • PHIROZ.

    I extend full support to sentiments of Tehmul.,
    Why was B.P.P. created in the first place. Housing was never
    the objective. It was created to manage the Towers of Silence. The onus of
    protecting this property is more on the hands of WAPIZ representatives on the
    Board of B.P.P. because it is very doubtful if 
    remaining Trustees are equally concerned because they are more
    interested  in development of real
    estates or  have inter married  close relatives.

    It was the Trustees owing allegiance to WAPIZ  who  showed exemplary  courage to raise this issue and  sought blessings of our revered High Priests
    in getting two Priests actively indulging in conversions to be defrocked and
    thus setting an example to act as a deterrent for other money minded Priests.

    But for their conviction and commitment   to the
    electorate to ensure  racial purityand
    banish the forces of those who encouraged mixed marriages, this  bold step would never have been taken. Justifiably
    so, WAPIZ took credit for this ban on 2 Priests. Would not the admiration of
    common Parsee for WAPIZ Trustees  be
    undermined  if  terms of  compromise are such that  do not overturn the interpretation of the Court
    that B.P.P. Trustees  cannot interfere in
    religious affairs.? In future this Organisation would find it difficult to
    field seven candidates  for all seven seats.
    Many  WAPIZ  members have expressed  an apprehension  that the  image of Trustees  would be tarnished  if the principle of supremacy of B.P.P. is
    not reaffirmed.  Our endeavor should be
    to see that the Appeal succeeds and that the word of our High Priests in final
    in religious issues. No compromise 
    should be the watchword. Let the word of our Priests prevail.

  • PHIROZ.

    I extend full support to sentiments of Tehmul.,
    Why was B.P.P. created in the first place. Housing was never
    the objective. It was created to manage the Towers of Silence. The onus of
    protecting this property is more on the hands of WAPIZ representatives on the
    Board of B.P.P. because it is very doubtful if 
    remaining Trustees are equally concerned because they are more
    interested  in development of real
    estates or  have inter married  close relatives.

    It was the Trustees owing allegiance to WAPIZ  who  showed exemplary  courage to raise this issue and  sought blessings of our revered High Priests
    in getting two Priests actively indulging in conversions to be defrocked and
    thus setting an example to act as a deterrent for other money minded Priests.

    But for their conviction and commitment   to the
    electorate to ensure  racial purityand
    banish the forces of those who encouraged mixed marriages, this  bold step would never have been taken. Justifiably
    so, WAPIZ took credit for this ban on 2 Priests. Would not the admiration of
    common Parsee for WAPIZ Trustees  be
    undermined  if  terms of  compromise are such that  do not overturn the interpretation of the Court
    that B.P.P. Trustees  cannot interfere in
    religious affairs.? In future this Organisation would find it difficult to
    field seven candidates  for all seven seats.
    Many  WAPIZ  members have expressed  an apprehension  that the  image of Trustees  would be tarnished  if the principle of supremacy of B.P.P. is
    not reaffirmed.  Our endeavor should be
    to see that the Appeal succeeds and that the word of our High Priests in final
    in religious issues. No compromise 
    should be the watchword. Let the word of our Priests prevail.

  • Phiroze

    Merdastoor today there are only two renegades if the Trustees let them have their way soon there will be twenty so the appeal is money well spent. besides if you remember the Trustees were forced to spend on legal costs by the instigaters.

  • Phiroze

    I agree Tehmul.

  • RATHESTAR.

    What Merdastoor has  replied makes eminent sense. If I am not mistaken, over 1000 Parsees signed an online petition urging BPP Trustees not to enter into further litigation and waste money on fees of  Senior Counsels. No such similar petition has been made by other Parsees urging them to go in Appeal. Much Trust Funds have been spent on Mediation and the best course would be to let things rest as they are.Many Navjotes of children born out of Parsee mothers and non Parsee fathers are being got performed all over India and inter religious marriages are rampant too.Even BPP Chairman’s own son recently got married to a non Parsee lady.
    What will further litigation result in except waste of Trust money which could be put to ameliorate Parsees living hand to mouth existence.
    Hope better sense prevails.

  • xyz

    Our 7 Trustees of BPP loves spending money in the court on 900 pending court cases. They can easily sit down together and reduce no. of court cases. They are just wasting trust money. They are not spending money from their pockets. They do not have any common sense and they love spending trust funds because openly trustees are saying that we love going to courts. It is high time we wait for another election and elect sensible people.

  • xyz

    Our 7 Trustees of BPP loves spending money in the court on 900 pending court cases. They can easily sit down together and reduce no. of court cases. They are just wasting trust money. They are not spending money from their pockets. They do not have any common sense and they love spending trust funds because openly trustees are saying that we love going to courts. It is high time we wait for another election and elect sensible people.

  • RATHESTAR.

    The current issue of Parsi Times deals with the antics of not so magnificent seven occupying office of Trusteeship at D.N. Road. The first hand report speaks Volumes about their level they can stoop to. It is high time some leading Parsees approach the competent court and allow appointment of a permanent Court Appointed Receiver (a Parsee) with another eminent Parsee as an Ombudsman. 

  • RATHESTAR.

    The current issue of Parsi Times deals with the antics of not so magnificent seven occupying office of Trusteeship at D.N. Road. The first hand report speaks Volumes about their level they can stoop to. It is high time some leading Parsees approach the competent court and allow appointment of a permanent Court Appointed Receiver (a Parsee) with another eminent Parsee as an Ombudsman. 

  • Contradhongi

    Mr. Phiroze, FYI, the two Priests who were supposedly defrocked  have  monthly earnings  ranging from four to six times what a poor Mobed in an Agiary earns. I know that you will issue deliver a lecture about such priests being money minded and not being religion oriented. But before  you venture to do so think of some of our highnesses who sold their values for brick & mortar.
    So tribe of such priests who will follow the example of this duo will certainly go up in time to come and we cannot blame them because they are just following the example set by the Highnesses.

  • Contradhongi

    Mr. Phiroze, FYI, the two Priests who were supposedly defrocked  have  monthly earnings  ranging from four to six times what a poor Mobed in an Agiary earns. I know that you will issue deliver a lecture about such priests being money minded and not being religion oriented. But before  you venture to do so think of some of our highnesses who sold their values for brick & mortar.
    So tribe of such priests who will follow the example of this duo will certainly go up in time to come and we cannot blame them because they are just following the example set by the Highnesses.

  • Rashna.

    As it is, up to High Court level  large sums have been spent on litigation. What would be the situation the  apex Court upholds the Bombay High Court interpretation.
    The main question here is whether BPP Trustees feel they have a case fit to be appealed against.
    If the Athornan Mandal or Council of High Priests want to go in Appeal let them pay from their pockets. Why should a common Parsi be made to pay for profligacy and bravado of a group?
    There is need for accountability of Charity funds.

  • Rashna.

    As it is, up to High Court level  large sums have been spent on litigation. What would be the situation the  apex Court upholds the Bombay High Court interpretation.
    The main question here is whether BPP Trustees feel they have a case fit to be appealed against.
    If the Athornan Mandal or Council of High Priests want to go in Appeal let them pay from their pockets. Why should a common Parsi be made to pay for profligacy and bravado of a group?
    There is need for accountability of Charity funds.

  • Dorab Unwalla

    Trustees will spend money from Trust funds meant for charity. Who loses? The indigent and the old. Do our great High Priests contribute anything financially? Answer a big NO. Suppose the Appeal fails then as our friend Phiroze rightly says all Trustees will have to carry the cross.
    A practical view is the need of the hour. Reading a judgement in another  matter
     I came across a very pertinent quote “Judicious irreverence to judicial arguments is a better homage to justice” How true!

  • Dorab Unwalla

    Trustees will spend money from Trust funds meant for charity. Who loses? The indigent and the old. Do our great High Priests contribute anything financially? Answer a big NO. Suppose the Appeal fails then as our friend Phiroze rightly says all Trustees will have to carry the cross.
    A practical view is the need of the hour. Reading a judgement in another  matter
     I came across a very pertinent quote “Judicious irreverence to judicial arguments is a better homage to justice” How true!

  • xyz

    How we can elect, same way we can DEBAR Elected representatives also. I fully agree and I suggest DEBAR ALL 7 of them from standing for future elections also. THIS MUST BE DONE ON TOPMOST PRIORITY.

  • xyz

    How we can elect, same way we can DEBAR Elected representatives also. I fully agree and I suggest DEBAR ALL 7 of them from standing for future elections also. THIS MUST BE DONE ON TOPMOST PRIORITY.

  • gb

    Honourable Judge was helpless. He studied BPP documents minutely and decided to withdraw looking at what was happening in the merit rating scheme. He found it totally bogus and a sham. He found lot of irregularities and he found that bpp trustees are indeed fooling the community in a royal way.

  • gb

    Honourable Judge was helpless. He studied BPP documents minutely and decided to withdraw looking at what was happening in the merit rating scheme. He found it totally bogus and a sham. He found lot of irregularities and he found that bpp trustees are indeed fooling the community in a royal way.

  • Phiroze

    A helpless Judge? Where is the honour if a Judge withdraws just because he found something bogus or a sham? It is his duty to set things right by passing appropriate orders.

  • Phiroze

    A helpless Judge? Where is the honour if a Judge withdraws just because he found something bogus or a sham? It is his duty to set things right by passing appropriate orders.

  • gb

    Yes, I repeat judge was helpless because he found lot of irregularities in BPP’s way of functioning. He found out that Bpp was just fooling the parsi community. I repeat lot of things in Bpp are bogus and sham and till we elect 7 new HONEST trustees who will really improve the whole political system, till then the whole parsi community of mumbai will SUFFER.

  • gb

    Yes, I repeat judge was helpless because he found lot of irregularities in BPP’s way of functioning. He found out that Bpp was just fooling the parsi community. I repeat lot of things in Bpp are bogus and sham and till we elect 7 new HONEST trustees who will really improve the whole political system, till then the whole parsi community of mumbai will SUFFER.

  • Phiroze

    I do not agree. No judge worth his salt is helpless. He/she would be fialing in his duties if he were quit without doing anything about the irregularities. Where are you going to get 7 HONEST trustees from during the next election?

  • Phiroze

    I do not agree. No judge worth his salt is helpless. He/she would be fialing in his duties if he were quit without doing anything about the irregularities. Where are you going to get 7 HONEST trustees from during the next election?