“Out with draconian laws”

Further to Burjor Antia’s response to Rayoman Ilavia’s critical references to the Surat Parsi Panchayat (SPP) and Properties Fund in his letter ("Out with draconian laws,” Readers’ Forum, Parsiana, January 21-February 6, 2022), we would like to bring the true facts to the notice of the community. For this, it is imperative to turn back the pages of history. A devastating fire ravaged Surat in 1837, making the lives of its citizens miserable. The benevolent Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy (Sir J. J.), First Baronet, raised funds from the "Mahajans” of Bombay to alleviate the distress of the citizens of Surat. After their......

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of their assets accumulated through
public donation and gifts.
Hence, I request all the SPP and PSCF Trustees
to clarify why the decisions like selling of trust
properties or lands or making long term lease/rent agreements for it or any other policy
making decisions were / are being taken
without following general norms like placing it
before a General Body Meeting of all members
of the trust. i.e., Surat’s entire Parsi community
members by them?
We Surat’s Parsi community members would
like to know “Whether SPP and PSCF Trustees
are authorised with powers higher than
honorable Supreme Court of India?”
SPP and PSCF Trustees may answer all the
above queries of Surat’s Parsi community in
Surat’s Samast Parsi Anjuman General Body
Meeting. We Surat’s Parsi community members
are well eager to hear the scheduled date, time
and venue for it.
- Rayoman Sorabji Ilavia
- 24-Feb-2022

Out with draconian laws”
In continuation with details given by the Trustees
appointed lifetime at Surat Parsi Panchayat and Properties
Fund (Reader’s Forum, Parsiana February 21, 2022) on my
letter “We Surat's Parsi community need support from
all the citizens of democratic India to remove
"colonial mindset” in Surat's Parsi Panchayat and Properties Funds and request them to help in
preserving our democratic rights to elect our
Trustees at Surat Parsi Panchayat and Properties
Funds as described in an historic judgment of
Honourable Bombay High Court issued in the year
1908.” my reply is as under.
As mentioned in Parsiana a sum of Rs.50000/-
was set aside for the welfare of Parsis, under the
Constitution of Parsi Surat Charity Funds in 1841
headed by Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy and 6 trustees
residing in Bombay while having links with Surat.
Hence PSCF Trustees are having absolute right to
look after this fund at Surat Parsi Panchayat.
No one from Surat’s Parsi community had given
them right to govern SPP and its associated
institutes registered at Surat under Gujarat Public
Trusts Funds Act.
In the latter half of the 1600s, Bombay had still
not reached prominence it held in later years. At that
period in history Surat was the chief trading port of
Gujarat. The size of the Zoroastrian population of
Surat at its peak in the beginning of the 19th century
and it can be judged by the stated population of
“20000 Zoroastrian families in Surat only.”
(Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Part 18 by
James Hastings quoting Forbes)
Surat Parsi Panchayat was “not at all”
established from the funds of PSCF in 1841.
Nanabhai Punjibhai was a community leader, a davar
(meaning bearer of justice) i.e. President of the Surat
Parsi Panchayat and Properties Funds in the year
1600. One of his many services to the community for
which he is remembered, was the building of a
dakhma, a tower of silence in Surat. Nanabhai passed
away in 1667.
Hence SPP and PSCF Trustees should stop
fooling entire Parsi community that SPP was
established on 1-1-1841. It is information technology
era and all the Parsis are learned people since
SPP and PSCF Trustees have described all the
good works they are doing in Surat Parsi Panchayat
in their replies. But some matters they have skipped
or ignored to mention in Parsiana which I describe
here and request them to reply truthfully in next
edition of Parsiana magazine without any prejudice.
(1) Where were all the SPP and PSCF Trustees
when Surat’s poor Parsis were dying in
absence of hospital beds during COVID-19
(2) Why they had denied Surat’s Parsi patients to
admit them or to isolate them in Surat Parsi
General Hospital (absolutely vacant hospital
having RMO and nursing staff on payroll)
during COVID-19 pandemic?
(3) What are their games behind illegal
encroachment on Surat’s Parsi Trust lands worth Rs.280 crores by antisocial elements
from our own community and others too?
(4) What are the hidden reasons to keep idle our
Trust lands at Surat for decades allowing
antisocial elements to make it nuisance spots
or illegal encroachment on it?
(5) What are their games not to arrange a single
General Body Meeting of Surat’s entire Parsi
Anjuman during last 30 years?
I would like to mention here the recent
observation came in a judgement concerning
the sanction for disposal of the property of trust,
Parsi Zoroastrian Anjuman, Mhow. Honourable
Supreme Court of India in its judgement Dt.28-
01-2022 observed that any organization which is
self-governed cannot be subjected to
overarching state control if its decisions are well
informed and the interest of the trust are those
defined by its members. But the judgement
from honourable Supreme Court of India Dt.28-
01-2022 made it clear that the Public Control of
religious endowments is essential to prevent the
- Rayoman Sorabji Ilavia
- 24-Feb-2022


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