BPP election hearing tomorrow

Following a two and a half hour hearing on the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) election scheme, Bombay High Court Justices Sharukh Kathawalla and Milind Jadhav adjoined the hearing to 9.15 tomorrow, Friday, February 4, as BPP trustee Viraf Mehta said he required more time to study the scheme. His request was supported by BPP chairwoman Armaity Tirandaz. Kathawalla said the impression being created was the majority trustees were trying to delay the election process as they wanted to remain in power. "I detest this conduct,” he commented angrily. When Mehta explained that he being in a stock brokering firm with the budget being announced, he was preoccupied. Kathawalla retorted that a trustee had to devote time to the public cause. "Nobody asked you to become a trustee,” he observed. One did it out of a sense of duty. He noted all the trustees were busy people but managed to study the scheme. He rued that Mehta was creating more work for the amicus curiae, Sharan Jagtiani, who had redrafted and slightly modified the suggestion put forth by the majority’s trustees lawyers. "We are causing harassment to Mr Jagtiani,” commented Kathawalla. The idea of holding the hearing today, Thursday February 3, was so that the approved scheme could be advertised in the Press over the weekend as a Public Notice. Mehta said that he had not had the opportunity to discuss the changes with his two co-trustees. But BPP trustee Kersi Randeria said several drafts had been submitted and discussed, meetings held with lawyers, etc. Randeria also assured the Court that even if the Public Notice advertising the scheme and inviting objections was given by Friday evening, he would see it was published over the weekend
A discussion whether to use paper ballots or EVMs (electronic voting machines), which were said to be costly, was set to rest by jurists Darius Khambata and Berjis Desai offering to donate money to create a corpus to help fund the election expenses.
It was also decided that people who donate Rs 10 lakhs to the BPP without any quid pro quo would get two votes in a BPP election instead of one. If the donation was given for a transfer of property, then the person would not get an extra vote.
If for any reason the trust functioned with six trustees instead of the required seven, decisions would have to made by a four to two majority without the chairperson having a casting vote. If a three to three tie occurred the decision could be "differed,” suggested Kathawalla, or a Judge in chambers could be approached. If only five trustees are on the board as is the case today, a three to two majority would be required without the chairperson having a casting vote.
Regarding sale of property there was a concern that if the vote was taken by a majority instead of unanimously, the interests of the trust maybe compromised. But it was pointed out there were safeguards. Th Charity Commissioner would have to give his consent after a public notice for the sale was published and the aggrieved party could move the appropriate courts thereafter.
It was also decided that if a person becomes a trustee of another trusts on virtue of his/her being a trustee of the BPP, his/her term would end on the other trusts once he or she ceases to be a BPP trustee.
Photo: A Savin / Wiki Commons