Resolve issue through mediation, court tells Parsis

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Parsi community to resolve a dispute relating to performing prayers or religious ceremonies at Doongerwadi (the Towers of Silence) in Mumbai and at two Agiaries (Fire Temples) which are vested in a Trust, through mediation.

By J. Venkatesan | The HINDU

Giving this suggestion, a Bench of Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra, during the course of hearing of an appeal against a Bombay High Court judgment, said: “Parsis are a tiny community in India, but they have made an outstanding contribution to the country in various walks of life, and the whole nation is proud of them. We are, therefore, sad to notice some disputes between them inter se, as in this case.

“Prima facie, we have suggested to senior counsel that an attempt should be made to resolve the disputes by mediation, and for this purpose senior counsel stated that they would like to seek instructions. If counsel for the parties agree to a particular mediator or mediators, they can inform us the name of that person or persons, or if they leave it to us, we may appoint some neutral and expert mediator or mediators in the matter.”

The court said: “We make it clear that a mediator cannot decide any dispute [unlike an arbitrator] but he can only help the parties to come to a compromise by his expertise. If the mediation fails, then, of course, the matter will come back to the court for adjudication but, in our opinion, this is a matter where first an attempt should be made to resolve the dispute by mediation.”

The Bench directed the matter to be listed for further hearing on April 18, “when counsel for the parties would inform the court whether they had agreed on the mediator/mediators or whether they had agreed to leave it to the court to appoint a mediator.” It said that till then, the status quo order passed by the High Court would continue.

  • Icchaporia.

    Now that the so called High 5 have sought to intervene, the chances of any compromise seem to be remote.
    MY QUESTIONS ARE SIMPLE AND WOULD BE OBLIGED IF SOME LEGAL MINDED REPLY:
    1). Can a person or persons go in Appeal under SCA when they were not parties to the Original Suit?
    2). Why these High 5 DID NOT ISSUE DIRECTIVES OF BANNING THE 2 PRIESTS TO PUNCHAYETS OTHER THAN BOMBAY ONE.?
    3) How will these HIGH 5 justify WADIA NAVJOTES AND JRD’S UTHAMNA AT DOONGERWADI.?

  • Rathestar.

    Now that self crowned high priests have decided to join the legal case, (as per Press reports) they must let the community know the name of the person who is going to pay legal fees on their behalf. After all Men of God should display clear conscience.

  • Shapur Kakroo

    I feel it is good that the five High (?) priests have also decided to intervene.
    We shall reach a finality in the matter, and the last nail can be hammered in to the proverbial coffin.
    These worthies do not reply to the legitimate questions raised by the community regarding
    -the Navjotes of Neville and Nusli Wadia by Dasturji Kotwal and attended by Mr.Khojeste Mistree
    -the Navjotes of children of intermarried parsis by Dasturji Kukadaru
    -the Uthamna of Mr.TATA at the Doongerwadi though he was not consigned to the doongerwadi
    -the Navjote of the grand children of K.N.Dastur, whose son is intermarried
    Now the time has arrived. They may have to answer these questions in the Supreme Court.
    The time has arrived. Ahura Mazda’s wish will prevail. The Dhongis will perish soon.

  • Farsak Ashli

    Dear Shapoor,
    I differ with you, Dhongees do not perish they multiply. Like Gresham’s Law bad coins driving away good coins. In all religions, the religions have become business of wealth accumulation. And there is no dearth of gullible persons who follow each other like sheeps.
    Litigation is the last thing our community needs, but tolerating cussedness is a greater evil.
    The events mentioned by you have been narrated ad nauseum but for persons who have no sense of self respect, they feel that they can hoodwink the community assuming public memory to be short.
    Their concept of Religiousness & piety is ‘different strokes for different folks’.

  • Phiroz.

    I take liberty of quoting relevant paras from Dini Avaz Vol 19 No 6. Author K.N. Dastur. “it (Navjote) is performed at the early morning of life and not at the late evening i.e.; at the age of 7 to 9 and not at 81!”
    AND “ Dastoors Mirza and JamaspAsa spoke through their hat to Neville. They wrote to him, you can have your Navjote since ‘ you want to rejoin for the sake of doctrines of our Religion”.
    AND “ ‘Their (Dastoors) credibility is lost; they have forfeited their alleged high priesthood.”
    AND “ So also Dastoor Kotwal, who said in the month of May that Navjote at 81 will be farcical and in September, ‘do it’ but out of India please, I envisage controversy’ What a spineless Dastoori! What a weak Priesthood! What a weak Priesthood! What a hollow Priestism! What a lack of courage and conviction”
    My comments are :
    a) Had late Neville opted to get his Navjote performed ‘out of India” as suggested by Datoor Kotwal, would he not have availed of services of a ‘defrocked/renegade’ Priests like Madon or Mirza?
    b)Why Dastoor K.N.D has now chosen to join hands with those priests on whom he has showered a volley of adjectives as reproduced hereinabove more so since K.N.D has considered these “High” priests as having ‘forfeited their alleged high priesthood.”
    c) Is this how the COUNCIL of HIGH Priests going to function?. One would have consigned copies of old Newspapers to raddiwalla but unfortunately for hypocrites the same cannot be done on the ‘Scholastic’ material they authored and available on the Web.

  • Burzin

    To begin with, please let us not use derogatory terms like ‘Hiugh 5’ etc for our Vada Dasturjees. The positions they hold are worthy of respect. (not sure if any community treats its high priests with such disdain).

    Agree with our Chief justice Mr. sarosh kapadia when he says that just like one would visit a doctor for health issues or a lawyer for legal issues, so should one turn to our vada Dasturjees in matters concerning religion. After all they have spent a lifetime in religious studies and are therefore authorities in such matters.

    Also one of you mentioned ‘self crowned’ – please note that the vada dasturjee sahebs are not self crowned. they have been duly selected by their tolas (Bhagarsath, sanjana, etc).

    Lastly, if there is so much concern about BPP trustees spending money on litigation then why in the first place was the suit brough on by a small groupo of so called ’eminent parsis’? Did they not realise at that time.

  • Byram.

    Dear Burzin,
    Every one is entitled to his or her views but your advise that we should turn to our Dasturji’s for advice is well taken note of but do they answer inconvenient questions.The answer is a BIG NO. Why, because they have indulged in discrimination of laity based on the financial status of the individual . Can you account for JRD;s Uthamna ot Wadia Navjotes after becoming adults.? In fact the current Meherjirana Saheb had then unequivocally denounced these high Priests in no uncertain terms and the same is very much available. What life time of study are you talking about. Even to day we all Parsees bow before the portrait of Dastoorji Kookadaru Saheb. Why, because of his humility and simplicity. Can you inform for all readers the Religious studies done by “High” Priest from Surat. was he not selected because of heredity?
    In public life one has not only got to be judicious but appear to be judicious as well. These Priest are held in disdain as you state, because of their own deeds. Thats the plain truth howsoever unpalatable. It is time persons like your good self discontinue publicly praising these Priests because in the ultimate persons like me are compelled to speak the undeniable facts much to the consternation of these ‘High’ Priests
    With this I request all so called Orthodox and so branded Reformist to put an end to such debates and spare these Priests from further expose.

  • PHIROZ.

    BURIZN,
    I would like to reply the issues raised by you in a civil manner without the use of derogatory terminology.I will reply your last issue first.
    You have asked” why in the first place was the suit brought on by a small group of so called ‘eminent Parsis’? Did they not realise at that time.”
    This issue was whether the B.P.P. Trustees knew the terms of the Trust Deed and the powers vested in them. Obviously the answer to that was that they did not possess powers to interfere into religious matters. That has been the interpretation of the High Court. Now let us assume that “Eminent Parsis’ had not approached the High Court and had not challenged the ban. These petty minded Trustees intoxicated with assumed powers, in future would have issued Fatwas like which Fire Temple you or I should go to, what dress we should wear and so on. Unlike the Trustees of the past, the present lot does not have the level of sagacity. In brief, the Court intervention has prevented regimentation of the Community by Trustees Such Trustees acting on whims and caprices would have been disastrous. Would it not be like Deobands issuing fatwas like do not watch T.V., do not go to cinema Halls. Do you still disagree?
    I shall now dwell on your complaint about the respect or the lack of it shown by the common Parsees or as you would like to call the Reformist clan. In this regard I would request you to read Parsi Khabar dated the 14th ultimo titled “Areez Khambata Attacks Iranshah High Priests”.
    Do you expect readers to believe that if Areez criticizes the High Priests it is for the ‘good’ of the Community and if others do, they should be ashamed of themselves. WHY DID YOU NOT OBJECT TO THE CONTENTS OF THIS LETTER FROM THIS AMDAVADI? If you carefully go through its contents, this arrogant individual has not even spared the deceased Dastur. Khurshed Daboo and has unwittingly questioned Ilm-e Khshnoom which considers that Behramshah Shroff was the reincarnation of a friend of Sraoshavarez Marzbanji Saheb and thus indirectly insulted Er. K.N. Dastur who has been elevated as High Priest of Navsari. Therefore,are you not turning a blind eye to this obnoxious conduct of Amdavadi because he is moneybags as others have called him?
    I would also like to draw your attention to what one Behroze has quoted on the same page (Ref her post dated of 15th April 2011 quoting from (Parsi Pukar Jan.-Feb.-Mar. 2005 – Vol. 10; No. 3) which I reproduce for your ready reference.
    “ WHAT AN EXHIBITION!
    And look at the way Wapiz was germinated and launched. One Madrasi Mogralia said in Ahmedabad that
    Madras Parsis were richer than Ahmedabad Parsis. That irked Ahmedabadi Ariz to display Ahmedabadi
    sweet Rasna cheque of Rs. 1 crore on the opening of Wapiz. (Was it Rasna – orange coloured?). He was
    invoked to place Rs. 1000 cash in the Ashoodad packet of each of the 100 Jashan mobeds. Ashodaad means gift ro the holy (Asho). I know, some of the mobeds looked anything but holy (in our Khshnoomic sense). Thefive high priests also got packets containing fabulous amounts, it is rumoured, enough to lure them. Arizbhai! it may prove futile. Our “high” priests are known to swing and vacillate. Jamaspasha and Kotwal had three swings at the time of murder of lal Bag Agiary and “Navjote” of Neville Wadia, respectively. At present the latest candidate on the swing is Udwada’s Khurshed Dastoor. The swing is between Ariz’s packet and BPP’sflat at Cusrow Bag. Take it, Ariz, from this 10 years older than you,(Ahemedabadi Baheramgore Dastoor’sbrother) that you have wasted your good cash money, which you could have well utilised for the poor, Parsis and non-Parsis.’ (Unquote)
    You will observe that this criticism of High Priests has come not from a Reformist but from another senior member of the clergy.
    So Burzin now be impartial and objective enough and say who is using ‘derogatory’ language as you is your grievance against the alleged Reformists.
    Lastly, I may say that you are little off the mark when you say that ALL high priests have spent life time in Religious studies. No Sir, definitely NOT ALL. Yes . a couple of them have conducted Research but these reverends have vacillated as stated by Dastur K.N. Dastur thus responsible for current state of affairs.
    After all DO NOT ALL the Priests spend their lifetime in service of the respective Holy Fires,? So why are they not called High, if late Er. Nadirshah Unwalla could be called a High Priest? As said by some this label of HIGH is of recent origin being conferred not by TOLAS as Priestly class is shrinking but based on heredity. If TOLAS elected somebody as HIGH Priest then such a HIGH Priest would remain at the place/town of his TOLA and NOT IN MUMBAI.

  • Siloo Kapadia

    Each day, as the clock ticks, the Parsi community in India is making progress toward becoming like the Parsi community in Karachi. That’s right. Self-inflicted extermination. Pity.

  • Arzan J. Ghadially

    Siloo – Please mind your own business and stop offering unsolicited advice. We are what we are and happy to be here unlike some living in the US. Whats your problem? cant stop minding your own business. Pity yourself not us for we are happy the way we are and i wish you the same Dikra

  • Phiroze

    Arzan, Those in Karachi Hong Kong followed what Siloo does in US and were exterminated. Ask her for the statistics of her New Jersey Zoroastrians and you will know the truth.

  • Icchaporia.

    Yes ALL 1200 signatories to the Online Petition have ‘no intelligence’,they all signed on dotted lines without reading the contents. Similarly ALL those who write here against squandering Trust money too are ‘brainless’. Only a foursome shouting at the rooftops for litigation at the cost of Charity funds are brimming with intelligence/ financial prudence.!!!

    Siloo,
    All those who disagree with A Ghadially & Phiroze should shut up and mind their business. That is the symbol of Democracy. These two and a couple like them can only decide what is GOOD for us all.
    Did we hear somebody say that this community is NOT heading towards talibanisation?

  • Rathestar.

     I  have archives of all those wise men have uttered over the years and I share the same with others to expose pretentitious  Orthodox. I am reproducing relevant para  on page 3 of  the Parsi Voice of Sept 2005 which would be of immense interest to all those who  claim Highness of our Priests.  Reproduced as under: Young Jimmy Mistry who came up with ideas and schemes
    for maintaining and upgrading our fire-temples and
    improving the economic status of our mobeds, was given
    some sound advice by Khojeste Mistree. When the younger
    Mistry said he did not agree that priests should be in
    charge of religious matters, Khojeste advised that just
    as other professionals have the last word on matters
    concerning their profession, priests should have the final
    say on issues concerning religion. He also informed Jimmy
    that there were many learned scholar Dasturs and mobeds
    available even today. We hope the passionate young
    Turk takes this sound advice to heart and moves in
    the right direction, taking guidance from our learned
    scholar priests. Unquote
    How come this  Jimmy now allowed himself to be a party to resolution of banning of  two priests and even agreed to go in Appeal against the judgment of High Court, Mumbai if he believed that Priests should not be in charge of religious matters as recorded in Parsi Voice?
     In days to come I am disseminating similar double talk of many such persons  recorded in archives to let the thinking sections know the true character of those who swear by Orthodoxy and that would include the clergy labelled HIGH, as well.

  • Rathestar.

     I  have archives of all those wise men have uttered over the years and I share the same with others to expose pretentitious  Orthodox. I am reproducing relevant para  on page 3 of  the Parsi Voice of Sept 2005 which would be of immense interest to all those who  claim Highness of our Priests.  Reproduced as under: Young Jimmy Mistry who came up with ideas and schemes
    for maintaining and upgrading our fire-temples and
    improving the economic status of our mobeds, was given
    some sound advice by Khojeste Mistree. When the younger
    Mistry said he did not agree that priests should be in
    charge of religious matters, Khojeste advised that just
    as other professionals have the last word on matters
    concerning their profession, priests should have the final
    say on issues concerning religion. He also informed Jimmy
    that there were many learned scholar Dasturs and mobeds
    available even today. We hope the passionate young
    Turk takes this sound advice to heart and moves in
    the right direction, taking guidance from our learned
    scholar priests. Unquote
    How come this  Jimmy now allowed himself to be a party to resolution of banning of  two priests and even agreed to go in Appeal against the judgment of High Court, Mumbai if he believed that Priests should not be in charge of religious matters as recorded in Parsi Voice?
     In days to come I am disseminating similar double talk of many such persons  recorded in archives to let the thinking sections know the true character of those who swear by Orthodoxy and that would include the clergy labelled HIGH, as well.

  • Ervard. Athornan

    We have reached a very peculiar stage. Mediation seems to heading nowhere. By adopting ‘in camera’ proceedings, the community is being kept in the dark and rumourmongering with selective leaks is keeping ever  Parsee guessing. Such rumours abound that one precondition of a ;solution’ is that the solitary priest who had defied the ban is being cajoled and coerced into giving an Affidavit on lines given two years back that he to accepts the ban on the most ridiculous ground of  ‘preventing’ further loss of charity finances on lawyer’s fees. Then, why on earth the community subjected to litigation expenses till this date? Who is accountable. Time has come to nip in the bud the tendency of litigating mentality of  some highly placed Parsees who use process of law for their selfish personal agenda.
    It is on record that many Parsees heralded the Bombay High Court judgement as  ” a masterpiece… Its logic fulfils the desire of
    Zoroastrians to practice religion without undue interference of those having no
    authority”.
    Now will these Sunday Lawyers justify  a 90 degree turn around. remains to be seen. Fiasco it will be.

  • Ervard. Athornan

    We have reached a very peculiar stage. Mediation seems to heading nowhere. By adopting ‘in camera’ proceedings, the community is being kept in the dark and rumourmongering with selective leaks is keeping ever  Parsee guessing. Such rumours abound that one precondition of a ;solution’ is that the solitary priest who had defied the ban is being cajoled and coerced into giving an Affidavit on lines given two years back that he to accepts the ban on the most ridiculous ground of  ‘preventing’ further loss of charity finances on lawyer’s fees. Then, why on earth the community subjected to litigation expenses till this date? Who is accountable. Time has come to nip in the bud the tendency of litigating mentality of  some highly placed Parsees who use process of law for their selfish personal agenda.
    It is on record that many Parsees heralded the Bombay High Court judgement as  ” a masterpiece… Its logic fulfils the desire of
    Zoroastrians to practice religion without undue interference of those having no
    authority”.
    Now will these Sunday Lawyers justify  a 90 degree turn around. remains to be seen. Fiasco it will be.

  • Ervard. Athornan

    We have reached a very peculiar stage. Mediation seems to heading nowhere. By adopting ‘in camera’ proceedings, the community is being kept in the dark and rumourmongering with selective leaks is keeping ever  Parsee guessing. Such rumours abound that one precondition of a ;solution’ is that the solitary priest who had defied the ban is being cajoled and coerced into giving an Affidavit on lines given two years back that he to accepts the ban on the most ridiculous ground of  ‘preventing’ further loss of charity finances on lawyer’s fees. Then, why on earth the community subjected to litigation expenses till this date? Who is accountable. Time has come to nip in the bud the tendency of litigating mentality of  some highly placed Parsees who use process of law for their selfish personal agenda.
    It is on record that many Parsees heralded the Bombay High Court judgement as  ” a masterpiece… Its logic fulfils the desire of
    Zoroastrians to practice religion without undue interference of those having no
    authority”.
    Now will these Sunday Lawyers justify  a 90 degree turn around. remains to be seen. Fiasco it will be.