Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

BPP Chairman Responds to Reforming Parsi Matrimonial Law

The below is a response from Mr. Dinshaw Mehta, Chairman of the Bombay Parsi Panchayat.

 

This is in response to an Article to ‘OVERHAUL MATRIMONIAL LAW’ appearing in your esteemed newspaper dated 17th June, 2012.

In the context matter, I would like to clarify certain points as the picture given in the above referred Article is detrimental to the functioning of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet indicating a lackadaisical attitude both of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet Administration as well as the Board of Trustees which is far from the truth. The Administration had taken a proactive step way backin the first week of February 2008, by placing a Note to be discussed in Bombay Parsi Punchayet’s Board Meeting for the change of procedure to be adopted for the delegates of the Parsi Chief Matrimonial Court (PCMC) that is from earlier election procedure by the then 2000 strong Anjuman Committee to a selection procedure; the selection to be done of the delegates by the Bombay Parsi Punchayet Board of Trustees.

The then Board of Trustees of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet discussed the matter in the Board Meeting dated 19th February, 2008 and understood the practical difficulty for electing the delegates for PCMC under the Universal Adult Franchise electorates and agreed for a change in procedure from election of the delegates by the Anjuman Committee to selection of the delegates by the Trustees.

In the Article referred to in the ‘Parsi Tari Arsi’ Column, it is interalia mentioned "… so the existing delegates are merrily continuing beyond their term. …". This is not correct.

Apparently there is a misconception as out of 19 delegates, 12 delegates term would be expiring in the last week of October 2012, hence at no point of time, presently, the earlier appointed delegates are merrily continuing beyond their term.

In fact in anticipation of the October 2012 deadline, in the last week of March 2011, the Trustees had approached The Under Secretary to the Government of Maharashtra, Law and Judiciary Department, Mantralaya. The same has been followed up with reminders on 31st August, 2011 and 10th October, 2011, subsequently, followed by a personal visit by the undersigned together with the Sr. Executive (Welfare), to Mantralaya.

Not only the above, but the Bombay Parsi Punchayet had constituted a Committee of Parsi Divorce Lawyers to ascertain their views on various aspects affecting the speedy disposal of contested cases of Divorce leading to trauma to the families concerned. The 1st meeting of the Committee was attended by Lady Parsi Lawyers, Mrs. Armaity S. Khushroshahi, Prof. (Ms.) Frahnak D. Contractor, Mrs. Mera P. Shroff and Mrs. Taubon F. Irani, on 1st February, 2012, where the present jury system for the Parsi Matrimonial Divorce cases was deliberated upon. The proposal whether to continue with the jury set up was vividly discussed and there was no unanimity on the issue. It was decided to approach the Hon’ble Bombay High Court to have more sittings of the Parsi Matrimonial Court and to prevail upon the Chief Justice not to allow delaying tactics of adjournments.

A separate appointment of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court was sought on March 22, 2012.

Unfortunately till date, there is no response either from the Law & Judiciary Department, Mantralaya, nor from the Hon’ble Bombay High Court and, therefore, it has been contemplated to hold very shortly another Meeting of the Divorce Committee to discuss the pros and cons and in the present circumstances to consider as to whether the present jury system for the Parsi Matrimonial Divorce cases to be continued or to opt for a change to the Family Court contested divorces as is being followed by the other communities.

From the above, I trust you will appreciate that the Trustees have been seized of the matter and have been taking action in the larger interest of the community.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,

sd/-

(Dinshaw R. Mehta)

Chairman