Punchayet can sell Panthaki flats at market rates: Court

The Bombay high court on Thursday set aside the joint charity commissioner’s (CC) order preventing the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) from selling the flats it has built in Panthaki Baug in Andheri. The Baug has two buildings comprising 108 flats, of which 74 are yet to be sold. The BPP had planned to sell these flats at market rates to cross subsidise housing for needy Parsis.

The joint charity commissioner in November last had revoked the permission to sell the flats given earlier by the commissioner’s office on the grounds that the Punchayet had concealed facts. The order decreed that the flats should now be either sold to poor Parsis at susbsidised rates, or be leased to them. It said that Parsis would be selected by a representative of the BPP, and if not, by the commissioner himself.


Setting aside this order, the division bench of Justice D Deshmukh and Rajesh Ketkar on Thursday directed that the proceeds from the sale be utilised to construct new flats for poor, needy or deserving Parsis. Deshmukh said, "The Punchayet has to construct 300-400 flats in the next two years from these proceeds." The Punchayet can now sell the flats at Rs2,400 per sq ft.

"Our policy [of cross subsidy] has been upheld by the court. We are happy with the decision," said chairperson of the BPP, Dinshaw Mehta. Kersi Randeria, who had challenged the commercial sale, was also satisfied with the order. "They (new BPP trustees) haven’t constructed flats for poor Parsis in a long time, and now they will be forced to construct 300 of them as per their admission made to the court."

SC judge to review 104 pending allotments

The division bench on Thursday also directed that a retired Supreme Court judge be appointed to review the 104 housing allotments cleared by the previous board of trustees for needy Parsis, but which the new board has so far failed to honour.

A section of Parsis had approached the charity commissioner’s office after waiting for years to get houses from the Trust. The joint charity commissioner had asked the BPP trustees to make these allotments. When the Punchayet said it had only 74 residential flats readily available, the commissioner had asked the Trust to reveal the total number of houses in its possession.

After the Punchayet did not comply, the commissioner had stayed the sale of the 74 flats, and had threatened the Trust with annulment. The BPP then filed a writ petition against the order in the high court in March.

Justice Deshmukh said, "The appointed judge will review all the 104 cases and allot houses to the poor, needy or deserving Parsis in accordance with the merit rating scheme of the Punchayet, and his decision will be binding on both the parties." The court has set a time limit of six weeks for thereview, which will be conducted by JusticeB Srikrishna.

  • Firoze Hirjikaka

    The real sufferers in this battle of egos and personalities are the scores of poor Parsis who are currently living in pathetic conditions and for whom proper flats would be a real boon. The real irony is that the principals in this sorry affair – as they continuue to occupy their spacious flats – are least affected and had nothing to lose except a blow to their prestige. All they achieved was an avoidable delay in alloting flats to deserving candidates.
    Also this Pyrrhic victory may prove to be costly in the long run. The Charity Commissioner is not going to take kindly to having his order overturned by the High Court. And don’t forget that the other matter of the exorbitant audit of the BPP’s accounts is still pending with him.

  • Siloo Kapadia

    Why must there be any “Parsi” flats, or “Hindu” flats or “Muslim flats,” etc. Why can’t anyone be allowed to buy a flat in a building? So if a non-Parsi wants to buy a flat, they should be made to pay the market rate. In fact, if a Parsi of wealth also wants to buy a flat in that building then they too should be made to pay the market rate. Only the poor Parsis should get subsidized housing.

  • Behram Dhabhar

    In that case there would be no Parsi colony left.

  • Siloo Kapadia

    Behram: Good! Why must we have these “colonies” in the first place? Imagine having areas like that in many other countries! Why must we isolate ourselves?

  • farzana

    Its Ghetto mentality..

    Siloo, it dates back to afghan invasions of northern iran around 10th century …when insecure zoroastrian peasants started living in ghettos called mohallahs.

    Well lets be realistic, ghetto mentality is not resticted to Parsis alone. So even if Parsi baugs are opened for all… it will still get plagued with ghettos of communities that own maximum flats. For example -Dalal Estate, which was once Parsi ghetto… now its muslim ghetto…

  • rustom jamasji

    Parsis living in Parsi colonies isolating themselves?..Most zoroastrians living in Zoroastrian colonies have non zoro friends, work in a cosmopoltian work area, live in a secular country and mingle about freely..also that statement shows that visonories that built such colonies were fools and wanted to isolate zoroastrians..

    It also shows that muslims, sindhis, catholics, jains etc etc living in their own areas especially in India want to isolate themselves…or the jews who prserve israel or the palestanians who are seeking world support are isolating themselves.

    I am a fan of John Lenin and his imagine..yet i see no contradiction of living in a zorostrian colony (especially as we are very minuscle in a large, varied, multifaith, yet ferociausly religios based society) to intermingling and being in multicultural social circles..

  • Siloo Kapadia

    Farzana: Thanks for the info. Yes I see, it is a ghetto mentality.

    Rustom Jamasji: No one said that what others in India are doing is correct. Also, for your information, Palestinians are a nationality, not a race or religion. You can be a Christian Palestinian or a Muslim Palestinian, but you are still Plestinian.

    As for Jews, they wanted their own country, but they have other faiths residing in Israel as well.

    It is also interesting that Parsis (among others, I am sure) must live amongst our own kind in India/Pakistan, but we have no qualms about living with others anywhere else in the world.

  • Sillo,
    In Mumbai to -day, it is difficult if not impossible to purchase a flat in any new up coming building even if one has financial means.The first barrier is -are you a Jain or not. If not then the doors of society are closed on your face.Even existing socieities create hurdles if the purchaser is having non -veg background. These are ground realities.

  • Behram Dhabhar

    Silloo :-“Why must we have these “colonies” in the first place? Imagine having areas like that in many other countries! Why must we isolate ourselves?”

    I am not aware about you, but I do stay in a Parsi Colony and I can vouch that there are ample advantages of staying in one.

    Firstly the camaderie existing is of a one big happy family. There are social activities, sports, games, picnics that get people together and develop friendship. Many such friendships turn into marriages. Children play in the colony compounds safely without fear of being kidnapped or molested. School, college students exchange notes, study together and more often than not there is a tution class in each colony.

    Most important there is “Parsipanu” something that money cannot buy even in niche environments. This ensures that children are brought up with proper Zoroastrian values, religion being ingrained in them through Navjote classes held in almost all colonies. When residents fall ill, are hospitalized or pass away,so many Parsis come together to help or offer condolences.

    Jashans, religious lectures are arranged to keep the Zoroastrian tradition alive and thriving. Some colonies also have Agyaris where people visit daily or on special occasions and have ceremonies of their dear departed performed.

  • farzana

    Moderators, plz delete the duplicate post of mine posted at 10:35 pm. thank you

    i understand what you are trying to say… I was not brought up in a parsi colony… nor do i live in one…My outlook is vastly different from my friends who come from parsi colonies.
    In my personal view, living in a Parsi colony has its pros and cons…Pros is its a clean, comfortable and large incubator for community to live amongst their own … develop strong sense of community and interbreed …
    Cons is, all the comfort and readymade launchpads for youth makes them mickanglas…subdues their aggressiveness and entrepreneurship to pursue goals …and over the period… community may loose its edge… becomes too laid back … and eventually die out from the social scene.
    Frankly How many soli sorabjis or nani palkhiwalas do you see these days in younger generation churning out from colonies…

  • Frazana, I beg to differ.I see many prosperous and well settled Parsi youth clamouring for accomodation in Parsee Baugs. Not all youngsters living in Parsee Baugs are maikanglas. Even to-day we have budding professionals seeking accomodation in Parsee Baugs or having been brought up in Parsee Colonies.It is the
    upbringing and more importantly the upbringing of the parents themselves. After all as Harold Laski said education is a consequence of parental circumstance.

  • piloo

    For that matter how many advanced souls like Dastoorji Kukadaroo or
    Er. Nadirsha Aibara can we see these days? No doubt there is no dearth of self styled scholars who refer to European authors though such European authors would not have seen anything beyond the portico of Fire Temples.Such “Scholars” suffer from slavish mentality or inferiority complex.

  • farzana

    Haaahaaa truee truee…Piloo, you really have the art of rubbing in beautifully…:)))

    Anti-Dhongidox, i may be completely off the mark … i ve never lived in a parsi colony so i dont have any first hand experience… I rested my opinion on bawas i have as friends and relatives… So i regret if i wrote something that was not right…And ofcoz i didn’t mean to paint all colony bawas with the same brush… But i regret hurting your sentiments anyway.

    Piloo, Siloo, Anti Dhongi, R&R i wish to invite you to Ustate Book – a face book for Zoroastrians worldwide…If you are not already a member there and would like to be on UB … plz send me a mail to frzana@gmail.com

    Rustom is already a member …and Behram is a self appointed policeman.

  • Aban Jussawalla

    Behram Dhabar’s comment dt. 23rd Oct. is the most sensible comment. There are many advantages of staying in a Parsi Colony. He has already mentioned all the advantages, and above all, Parsis get the houses in these colonies at a cheaper rate than the market rate. Even if the flats are allotted to middle class Parsis, who can afford slightly higher price, those flats too will remain with the Parsis only forever, and therefore such sale by the Trustees should be encouraged.

  • Moderator,
    It is my suggestion for an Article on the Topic “Should Trustees of Charitable Trust be allowed to be beneficiaries of Trust Properties”.

  • Farzana,
    My sentiments were hurt not in the least. There are pros and cons of living in a Colony.
    Every Colony has good human beings, career professionals,genuine, silent Social workers who shun publicity, crooks, gamblers and drunkards.
    Not ALL residents are good and so too not all are Maikanglas.Thats all I wanted to convey.BTW I do not reside in any BPP/Wadia owned Baug.

  • rustom jamasji

    On the typical ‘Frankly How many soli sorabjis or nani palkhiwalas do you see these days in younger generation churning out from colonies…’..

    Well how many ladies deny a normal life of being maried to an armed forces personnel, or that of the police, or that of the normal shop owner or how many have the wisdom not to deride a Zoroastrian butcher/baker or one who owns a garage…or works in the Railways …how come such apathy from parents and ladies that show that they are living in a modern world, is displayed when it comes to going hand in hand in building a relationship and economics rather than wanting it free and better than theirs owns pa..

    The wisdom also shows the lack of strength to walk the walk whilst a Jeejebhoy or a Jamshedji Tata is in the making ,
    It perhaps boils down to pseudo modernity that makes one FORGET THAT THEIR LADIES were at their side when they started from scratch with nothing and from nothing….instead of hunting such down only after them suceeeding!!!

    Thus today Many a Zoroastrian boys who have to tide against job reservations and college reservations and influence step down from marrying a zoroastrian girl due to such arrogance of wanting the best without lifting a finger!!

    Many boys claim they are better off looking for a mistress who wud leave them on a friendly note!!! when the chips r down instead of looking for n then sheltering a partner whose main skills come from showing off the charitable baug her parents were settled n thus she stays or pseudo secularism of deriding normal hardworkng boys.. and no hobbies apart from ‘ i listen to music'(without being able to differentiate Bach from Mozart or Tcahkosky from the local bollywood flick)!
    …and then have to go thru a emotional problem when n if the chips slope downwards and the wifey fools her self towards the birthright of being pampered from being divorced from ground reality n thus should leave the hubbies…

    Well how many Ratattanbai Bamji who apart from many selfless charities done endowed the Deolali Tower Of Silence are present today?,
    or Hama Mehta who was one of the 1st lady motorist and worked towards Parsi charities or Din Petit , or Motlabai Wadia who built the Obsteric ward in Mumbai,

    or how many are following the footsteps of Goolchere Golwala , the first Indian woman to swim, or Khurshed Golwala who was first Indian to recieve a bronze medal of the RLSS n the 1st lady member of the LGC

    How many Zoroastrian ladies know and try to follow examples of Dosi Dasturna who was an authority of her ancient religion’s history and tradition
    ( many now delink tradition to the ancient religion whilst denouncing the faith’s rituals yet demanding a change in them)

    Navajbai Dstur Kumana who again was an authority on Zoroastrianism and rituals..(who didnt know english nor dislayed an unnacounted accent and thus had to have a translator whilst being interviewed by foreighners ) or Dhun Shroff who solved the probem of supplying pure milk to the city..are seen today

    The list goes on and it is befitting here to add the many unkown Zoroastrian ladies that stood stead fast with their husbands who were part of the great war and then ww2 . how many zoroastrian ladies think like their own great great grannies who had the wisdom to recognise a man’s potential rather than judge his stature whilst shying away from her ignorance

    Also one can look for the ladies who would follow suit in the footsteps of the Zoroastrian ladies who fought the invaders at Variava or against Taimur in Shiraz to preserve their faith and traditions..

    My take is this all boils down not to Boys and Girls but to the arogance of the older generation who have also succeded in weakening Zoroastrian systems due to apathy and a false sense of modernity…and now that is on its way sliding down to the younger ones….
    yet God willing my 2 little princess will be able to recognise the greatness of their faith, work towards strenghtening it and also maturing with their partners aiding the progress of their families…rather than living in a fools paradise such pseudo- ness

  • rustom jamasji

    @ Siloo Kapadia..
    On your information for my infomation regarding Palestinians are a nationality, and several faiths being resent in Israel..
    Well in no way did i mention nor imply in other way…and Well that does not in any way contradict the ideology of grouping nor me stating that the Jew n Israelis and the palestanians by grouping themseles are in no way isolating themselves .

    Infact your point only strengthens mine. Grouping,clanning or staying together is a fact relevant not only to Zoroastrians in India Pak or Iran but to every facet including communities,groups , states and Countries. Actually it furthers to group of countries and also larger areas..like Group of African countries or Orgabnisation of Islamic countries or ASEAN….or the E.U.

    Thus the importance of demography change or harbouring your own to keep the demography intact..again very important as shown by world politics and individual groups maintaining their demography in a particular area..

    Thus your point only validates the point of my stating earlier that i see no contradiction of living in a zorostrian colony (especially as we are very minuscle in a large, varied, multifaith, yet ferociausly religios based society) to intermingling and being in multicultural social circles or being secular as everywhere or all subjects be it small as tribes or large as countries tend to focus on their areas, and tastes..without actually isolating themselves from the world

  • Firoze Hirjikaka

    You would have made an ideal case study for Sigmund Freud. Your rambling discourse is so full of self-contradictions that I was actually fascinated. First you come across as a rank misogynist by implying that it is the fastidious Parsi girls today who don’t appreciate the worth of industrious working class Parsi boys (you can find scores of them hanging around inside the baugs, discussing the physical anatomy of gorls passing by).
    On the one hand, you extoll the virtues of Parsi women of yore; and then you complain that it is the arrogance of the older generation that has weakened Zoroastrianism.
    I could go on, but if i start taking you seriously, I may need the services of a psychiatrist myself.

  • No Firoze,
    There is some element of truth in post of Rustom.
    Is a group of boys passing remarks about girls passing by, a phenomenon confined only to Parsi Baugs? Does this not take place outside any College? Is it confined only to boys of our Community?.
    You will surely concede that in 1930 -40’s there was no shortage of housing. Yet Parsi females chose to be choosy and remained spinsters.This is established by Obituary columns where one finds Parsi females – Spinsters (85 plus)who have left for heavenly abode. ARE WE TO ASSUME THAT EVEN 75 years AGO THE THEN PARSI BOYS WERE WORTHLESS? There is definitely an attitudinal problem plaguing the Community.

  • A couple of years back, during the tenure of earlier Board of BPP, all Parsi publications like Avaz, Pukar, Voice, Noise caeselessly criticised the BPP’s housing policy, particularly with regard to construction of Ownership buildings. One has to search for such articles on Google. One example that can be traced is available on http://tenets.parsizoroastrianism.com/ThusSpaketheChiefSomebodyofBPPShriBTDastur.pdf
    Now that their own “Fidel Castro” is on the Board pursuing the same AGENDA more vigorously, these saviours and pillars of the Community do not air any’concern’/ in their publications – Voice/Avaz, Pukar/Noise, particularly about the proposed POSH ownership project in Godrej Baug.
    In Gujarati such elements are known as “Tak Sadhus” i.e. Opportunists who take for a ride simple minded Bawas.

  • Firoze Hirjikaka

    I was not implying that all Parsi boys are worthless. I was merely reacting to Rustom’s convoluted logic that Parsi girls are marrying outside the community in spite of worthy boys, whom he portrays as paragons, being available among Parsi boys. And regarding yr point that Parsi girls have always tended to be choosy, my counter argument is why shouldn’t they? Don’t they have the right to want the best? Why can’t Parsi boys compete with outsiders on an equal basis and win the hearts of Parsi boys on their own merits? Why should they expect preferential treatment?

  • Firoze Hirjikaka

    In my previous comment, the second last sentence should read “Why can’t Parsi boys compete with outsiders and win the hearts of Parsi girls on their own merits. My apologies for the slip.

  • Plioo’s post reminds me of the oft repeated grouse of WAPIZ that Parsee Press does not give space to them to air their views and consequently they are left with no option but to rely on FPJ.
    If indeed WAPIZ is serious in preventing the community from becoming a cause of ridicule in eyes of sister communities, they should ponder over reviving such defunct publications like Pukar/ Awaz. they can give new name to such a publication like WAPIZ Trumpet/ Bugle.

  • Ronny

    Dear Siloo,
    The Colony is of Parsis.
    Let us keep it that way. I want to see one non – Parsi person who would think like you and want flats for all.
    Please understand that these flats are constructed from moneys of Parsis please.
    Warm Regards

  • xyz

    BPP is involved in selling these flats to known people only in Panthaky Baug and that too at vey high prices. They have given 2 flats to somebody retired from government service though he is having third flat on ownership basis just outside panthaki colony. This is a clear case of kettle calling a pot black.

  • xyz

    BPP is involved in selling these flats to known people only in Panthaky Baug and that too at vey high prices. They have given 2 flats to somebody retired from government service though he is having third flat on ownership basis just outside panthaki colony. This is a clear case of kettle calling a pot black.

  • gb

    Many flats are still lying vacant in panthaki baug new building. They are full of termites. Nobody wants to buy them even at a rock bottom price of rs 25 lacs because of various nitty-gritties involved. It is high time BPP trustees gives a clear picture to the community what they intend doing with these closed flats since last 7 years.

  • gb

    Many flats are still lying vacant in panthaki baug new building. They are full of termites. Nobody wants to buy them even at a rock bottom price of rs 25 lacs because of various nitty-gritties involved. It is high time BPP trustees gives a clear picture to the community what they intend doing with these closed flats since last 7 years.