14 Jul 2121

The main objective of the Maharashtra Public Trust Act 1950 is to regulate and make better provisions of administration of public religious and charitable trust which the Joint Charity Commissioner should consider while making decisions - Bombay High Court

Case : Avinash S/o. Ganpatrao Shegaonkar, Vs. The Joint Charity Commissioner, Nagpur Writ Petition No. 5321 of 2017

Court : Bombay High Court

Bench : Justice Sunil B. Shukre and Justice Anil S. Kilor

Decided on : 14 Jul 2121

Relevant Statutes

Section 50 (A) (i) of the Maharashtra Public Trust Act 1950

Clauses 4, 5, 7, 9, 12, 16(a) and 21 of the Scheme of the Trust ‘Shri Saibaba Seva Mandal, Nagpur Trust”.

Brief Facts and Procedural History

1. One of the Misc. Application No. 247 of 2015 in which the objections were taken by the petitioner on the fact that the employees of the trust could not be admitted to the membership as they being the employees of the Trust or regarding the acceptance of the application which was made by different persons including the employee of the trust for the membership which was rejected by the order dated 23.11.2015. In Misc. Application No. 248 of 2015, It was stated that there were differences in the number of the applications which were actually made and the applications shown in the public notice related to which the objections were invited and clarification regarding the exact membership which were received. But this application was rejected on the ground that the objector had not raised any objection regarding the membership applications.

2. In the Third  Misc. Application 249 of 2015, The issue was raised about the grant of the further time for raising an objection by the public notice dated 29.10.2015  which invites the objections, which was also rejected on the ground that the objector had not paid the copying fees. The legality and the correctness of these three orders passed dated 23.11.2015 in three Misc. Civil Applications No. 247 of 2015, 248 of 2015 and 249 of 2015 were questioned. 

The Issue of the Case

Whether admitting a single person as a member of the Trust in different categories would adversely impact some aspects of the scheme or employees of the trust can be admitted to the membership as they being the employees of the Trust?

The Observations of the Court

1. The Honourable Bombay High Court held that a Writ Petition can be disposed of by issuing necessary directions which will be easier for rehearing of the objections in a proper way and the petitioner is permitted to take the inspection of the entire record of the proceedings in respect of membership applications. If the application is made for a grant of the copy of any document then it shall be permitted on payment specified in the rules and in case if there are no rules then charges will be levied according to the Civil Manual Applicable to the District Courts.

2. The Honourable Bombay High court observed that there was non –application of the mind in various provisions made in the scheme made for better and efficient management of the trust i.e. “Shri Saibaba Seva Mandal, Nagpur Trust” by the order dated 30th July 1996 under Section 50 (A) (i) of the Maharashtra Public Trust Act 1950. The Honourable Bombay High Court stated that the Learned Joint Charity Commissioner has to consider the consequences of the application as this decision of granting for the membership of the trust for the employees would adversely affect the discharge of the confidence reposed in the trustees. He is the officer who is entrusted with the task of ensuring the proper and efficient management of the trust by exercising his supervisory powers.

3. The Honourable Bombay High Court referred one of the judgments i.e. Administrator of Shringeri Math vs. Charity Commissioner Bombay, 1962 Bom. L.R. 457), it was held that the main objective of the Maharashtra Public Trust Act 1950 is to regulate and make better provisions of administration of the public religious and charitable trust and the Joint Charity Commissioner has to be considered as pater de trust and he has the duty to confidence reposed in trustees is not betrayed. The Honourable High Court directed for the remand of the case and the Joint Charity Commissioner has to apply his own mind for such objections.

The Decision Held by the Court

The Writ Petition is allowed and the impugned order dated 23.11.2015 was passed in each of the proceedings in Misc. Civil Application No. 247 of 2015 and 248 of 2015 with all the consequential acts are set aside and quashed.

The Honourable Bombay High Court directed that the fresh decision shall be taken according to the learned Joint Charity Commissioner within three months from the date of the appearance of the petitioner and the parties present before this court and i.e. 26th  July 2021. The petitioner is granted to take effective steps for ensuring the service of notice upon unserved members and the petitioner is granted to seek interim relief before the Subordinate forum.

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