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Sale to non-Parsi stokes society’s 25-yr legal battle to expel member

A cooperative housing society formed exclusively for Parsi community members in Sanjan town of south Gujarat has been fighting a legal battle for more than 25 years to expel a member. The main grouse against the member, fellow Parsi E E Sabawala, being that he sold society’s property to non-Parsi people.

imageThe dispute erupted between Mazda Rise Cooperative Housing Society and one of the flat owners, Sabawala, after he built five shops in his apartment on the ground floor and sold two of the shops to Hindus – Umesh Patel and Jaysinh Anna More.

The moved led to the society passing a resolution to expel Sabawala for using society’s land for commercial purpose, for not paying maintenance and for selling the property to non-Parsi. This, the society resolved, was against the byelaws of the cooperative. Sabawala was sought to be expelled for “activities detrimental to the interest of the society”.

Since the dispute erupted in 1993, the legal battle was waged at myraid platforms– the civil court, the cooperative registrar, the district registrar, the state government and finally landed with the Gujarat high court.

The government held that Sabawala’s act of selling shops to non-Parsi was not against the interest of the society. A single-judge in the HC upheld the government’s stand, but a division bench ordered the government to reconsider the issue.

The government authority stuck to its decision and the issue landed back in the high court in 2015. The case was heard by Justice J B Pardiwala, who in an order released on Monday, upheld the government’s order that selling to non-Parsi was not against interest of society.