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

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


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