The Bombay high court has directed that elections for the post of all seven trustees of Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) Trust will be held on Sunday, May 29, 2022.
There was much courtroom drama as a bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and Milind Jadhav heard the interim applications filed by sitting trustees Kersi Randeria, Armaity Rustom Tirandaz and others, in the legal battle over the pending elections. The court had to call police constables posted outside to escort Dinshaw Mehta (former chairperson of the Trust) and one Farhanaz (Farah) Irani out of the courtroom.
The bench, in its order, said that it “strongly deprecates the conduct” of Mehta who was a trustee for 21 years, and Irani, who “appeared to be accompanying him” in disturbing court proceedings.
The proceedings before the HC was to decide the schedule for the elections. The court said that when discussions began with lawyers for the trustees, Mehta, who is also the father of sitting trustee Viraf Mehta, “started disturbing the court by reiterating his objections to the scheme”.
The HC order said, “On 2-3 occasions, we requested Dinshaw Mehta not to disturb the court proceedings. He insisted that he wished to be heard since he is an intervenor in the matter. He was informed by the court that his intervention application pertains to objections to the proposed scheme for the election of trustees of the Funds and Immovable Properties of the Parsi Punchayet of Bombay” and the court had orally indicated on February 25, 2022, to be sanctioned and which is finally sanctioned on March 1, 2022.”
His intervention application therefore came to an end, said the HC, informing him that he had no right to disturb the court when the court was framing the election schedule and hearing the advocates for the trustees.
The HC “warned” Mehta that if he continued to disturb the court proceedings, it would be constrained to call in the police posted outside. “Mehta, in response, unnecessarily continued to engage in such conduct by stating that he is aware of the powers of the court. The court once again informed him that though the court has powers to make him leave the court, it would prefer not to do so. It was made clear to Mr Dinshaw Mehta that unless he restrains himself, the court will have to order his removal from the courtroom so that the proceedings may continue uninterrupted,” the HC order said, adding that he “continued to disturb” and was joined by the lady who “appeared to be accompanying” him. The HC sent all parties out simultaneously and asked only their lawyers to remain.