It appears that the wait for Parsi families to move into Bombay Parsi Punchayat (BPP) flats just got a little longer. Justice (retd) B N Srikrishna, who was appointed to verify the eligibility of members of the Parsi-Irani community last year, has resigned.
The former judge of the Supreme Court, who was appointed by the Union government in February to head a committee on the Telangana issue, said in his resignation letter that he found it impossible to complete the proceedings in the BPP flats case within six weeks as directed by the high court.
Dinshaw Mehta, chairman of the BPP, and four other trustees have now filed an application before the high court requesting it to modify its October 2009 order setting a six-week deadline for the one-man committee. This would allow Justice Srikrishna to complete the inquiry, the plea said. "Eighty-nine flats are available for allotment to needy, deserving Parsi-Zoroastrian families in Mumbai and are lying vacant,” said the application by Mehta, adding that starting the process afresh would result in further delay.
The other side, including persons who were in the earlier flat allotment list and Noshir Dadrawala, a trustee of the BPP, have opposed any modification to the six-week deadline. In their affidavits, they have sought that the time-frame should be strictly adhered to as many families are waiting to move into their flats.
The over 350-year-old BPP, which looks after the welfare of the Parsi-Irani community, controls around 5,000 flats in Mumbai. Many buildings are located in prime areas of the the city including Cusrow Baug at Colaba, Rustom Baug at Byculla and Godrej Baug at Nepean Sea Road. Well-to-do members of the community can lease the flats at premium prices from the BPP. The remaining flats are allotted to members from lower-income groups and couples about to get married who do not have a home. According to the BPP, it has a waiting list of 1,200 families seeking allotment of flats.
The present case deals with 104 flats located across Mumbai that have been allotted. On a recommendation by former trustees of the BPP, in January 2009, the charity commissioner had passed allotment orders for the flats. The newly elected BPP trustees, however, moved the HC alleging the allotments were made out of turn and in violation of rules. Last year in October, the two opposing sides reached a settlement, whereby the charity commissioner’s order was set aside. Justice (retd) Srikrishna was appointed to inquire and verify the 104 allotments.
The following hearing of the case is scheduled before the high court on August 16.