The Bombay high court on Tuesday directed the Bombay Parsi Panchayat (BPP) to state the number of flats it has in Mumbai that are available for allotment to needy persons in the community.
The court also directed the Panchayat to file an affidavit stating the number of such flats that had been allotted since December 2006 and those that the body could not allot for "whatever reasons”. The court also said no further action can take place on the issue of allotments. The next hearing is on June 19.
These queries were posed by a bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Amjad Sayed after intense arguments on a petition centred around allotment of flats to a list of 104 poor members of the Parsi-Irani community in Mumbai by the erstwhile BPP trustees last year. However, the present trustees wanted to review these 104 cases. In January, the charity commissioner had ordered the BPP to give away at least 74 out of the 104 flats.
According to Rafiq Dada, counsel for BPP chairman Dinshaw Mehta, and a few of his co-trustees who had moved the court, they had cleared the application of 64 people from the 104 list. Besides, 10 other families__"overwhelmingly deserving” candidates__have been shortlisted subsequently by the new board of trustees in a sense of "fair play.” He said they had been taken on merit__some are those who sleep on the fire temple floors or are "recently engaged.”
But Iqbal Chagla, representing the 40 members whose flat allotments have still not been cleared by the current BPP board, said, "It is not open for a new board to now come up and open the decision taken by the earlier trustees, who had followed the proper process. Besides, they can’t show scant respect for court orders, which had restrained further steps on the issue.”
Meanwhile, advocate Nilima Dutta, representing two members, questioned the "merit-based rating system” of the BPP. She said the panchayat had 5,000 flats, which were mainly allotted to the rich.
Original article here.