One crore rupees election corpus



A one crore rupee (USD 133,877) election corpus will be donated to the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) by jurists Darius Khambata and Berjis Desai, the Bombay High Court was told by Desai this Friday morning, February 4. A division bench of Justices Sharukh Kathawalla and Milind Jadhav were hearing virtually the third day of arguments on the modification/amendments to the BPP election scheme. The hearing in Chambers dragged on for four hours as some points agreed on yesterday were once again gone over as the three majority trustees changed their minds.
They said they were not agreeable to the chairperson losing her/his casting vote should the number of trustees drop below seven. This clause was introduced to avoid midterm elections being held every time a trustee exited from the board. "If the casting vote remains, then hold midterm elections,” to avoid a majority-minority tussle, said Kathawalla.
"Today you are a majority, if tomorrow a minority what will happen? All of you are thinking of yourselves, not the community.” The notice period for holding elections was reverted to 60 days from the 40 or 45 days agreed upon Thursday. The majority trustees who had agreed to EVMs (electronic voting machines) being used once Khambata and Desai stated they would subsidize the additional cost over and above paper ballots, now said they wanted paper ballots for this election. Similarly the trio opposed any upper age limit for holding office.
Kathawalla was annoyed with the BPP’s solicitors for writing directly to the amicus curiae, Sharan Jagtiani, instead of the court regarding modifications. "You don’t have the guts to address the Court,” he commented angrily. When BPP trustee Viraf Mehta tried to intervene, Kathawalla shut him up and inquired from DSK Legal partner Nirav Shah, "Do you guide your clients or do you let your clients tell you what to say?”
On another issue where Mehta kept going over a point, Kathawalla again told the majority trustees' lawyers that it was for them to speak up and explain to their clients what the situation was rather than the Justices having to do it. "Clients get emotional, you should use your brains.”
The discussions on the code of conduct that went on for two hours decided no freebees were to be given to voters as an inducement to vote for a particular party or individual. A candidate could spend upto Rs 5,00,000 (USD 6,694) for her/his candidacy. The Parsi Press was instructed not to carry "anything that is defamatory” about a candidate or his family and to shun publishing personal attacks. This applied to online publications as well. Poll Khol, Sacchu Bol editor Kaikhushroo Irani assured the court he would observe the guidelines. When Mehta was initially asked to give an undertaking for Parsi Junction (PJ) he replied, "I have nothing to do with Parsi Junction.” He admitted he wrote articles for PJ but they were on issues, not personal attacks. He referred the Court to Kersi Sethna who is the editor of PJ. Sethna was phoned by Kathawalla and an assurance taken from him that he would adhere to the guidelines. "I agree your honor,” Sethna replied.
All campaigning has to stop 24 hours before the polling. Kathawalla said CCTVs (closed circuit television cameras) should be installed in all the five polling booths.
Advertisements will be placed in the Parsi Press announcing the scheme and objections invited from community members within 15 days. After hearing the intervenors, the scheme will be finalised and dates announced for the holding of elections.
Parsiana

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