The Supreme Court early this week quashed as “infructuous” a running battle between two groups of eminent Parsis raging past five years over a nine-decade old Parsi hospital lying defunct and in a derelict condition in the Flora Fountain area of Mumbai for over four decades.
It dismissed an appeal of Bombay Parsi Panchayet chairman Dinshaw Rusi Mehta and other trustees as “infructuous” since the Krimson Health Venture Private Limited, which was to build a super specialty hospital on the trust land of Parsi Lying-in Hospital (PLIH), has withdrawn from the agreement on November 3, 2015.
In its judgment on Wednesday, the Bench of Justices R K Agrawal and Abhay Manohar Sapre said it was disposing of the appeal without giving any opinion since it became infructuous for all practical purposes. A maternity home for the Parsis was running from the hospital till 1960s.
PLIH counsel wanted heavy cost imposed on the petitioners for dragging their Trust and the trustees in the fruitless litigation, but the Court refused to impose any cost in view of the fact that it had declined to examine the issues on merits.
The Bombay Parsi Panchayet (BPP) trustees had come in appeal against the Bombay High Court dismissing their petition on April 30, 2015 challenging the agreement entered by PLIH trust with the Krimson health service company and approved by the Charity Commissioner.
Some of the BPP trustees entered into the tussle on the strength of the transfer of the lease deed of the land by the hospital trust way back in April 1924, objecting to the new venture on the site without its consent. The Apex Court said no need of deciding legality and correctness since the very agreement, the bone of contention, no longer subsists.
It said the BPP and the PLIH are at liberty to enter into any other agreement or scheme in relation to the land/hospital, after obtaining necessary approval from the Charity Commissioner as required under the Act. It also asked the trustees to take all decisions keeping in view the directions of the (original) author of the trust.
In its observations before parting, the Supreme Court said it is the duty of every trusty to jointly and severally fulfill the object of the Trust as per the directions of its author given at the time of its creation.
Noting that the trustees belong to Parsi community enjoying high status in the society and persons of eminence in their respective fields, the Court said there should be no reason as to why any trustee should try to cause any harm to the interest of the Trust or act prejudicially and against its interest.
It said there may be differences relating to the affairs of the Trust but the uppermost remains “interest of the Trust and the beneficiaries” and that would be every trustee’s “real selfless service to the Trust and its beneficiaries” to bring good to them.
Asking the trustees to keep in mind these observations while discharging their individual and collective duties, the Court said they should ensure that the Trust is able to do charity in letter and spirit for the good of humanity — indeed that being the only wish of the creator/author while forming the Trust.