BPP Elections To Be Held On 23rd May, 2021
The appeal filed by BPP Trustees Kersi Randeria and Noshir Dadrawala, against the order passed by Hon’ble Justice Menon, was upheld by the bench of Justice Shahrukh Kathawala and Justice Vinay Joshi.
Community members will recall that on 9th March, the three majority trustees – Armaity Tirandaz, Viraf Mehta and Xerxes Dastur – had, out of the blue, decided to postpone the elections by a majority vote of 3:2. The mala fide of this resolution, passed by the three of them, was challenged by Trustee Randeria and Dadrawala before the Hon’ble Justice Menon, via an application for ad-interim relief, which was rejected last evening, 11th March, 2021. The two Trustees then filed an appeal before the bench of Hon’ble Justices Kathawala and Joshi.
The drama unfolded in Courtroom No. 21, at 11:00 am on 12th March, 2021, when Justice Kathawala, seeing the urgency of the matter, refused to keep back the appeal till afternoon and suggested that the matter be heard immediately. However, as the counsel for the majority trustees was not available, and in fact, could not make it till after the lunch break, the matter was finally heard only in the afternoon session.
Both sides argued their cases and during the argument, amidst the questions asked by the Hon’ble Lordships, it became obvious that holding the elections now on Sunday (14th March) would not be advisable, given the amount of confusion that had already been created, as regards whether the elections were to be held or not.
Justice Kathawala then asked both counsels, whether both sides were amenable to holding fresh elections within the deadline set by the Hon’ble court, without any further delay. On both sides agreeding to an immediate, fresh election, the Hon’ble Justice Kathawala directed them not to leave the courtroom premises and to sit together in the courtroom and finalize the date for the elections. After settling on the dates off elections, the Hon’ble Judge asked the Trustees to give an undertaking that no such postponements will be sought in the future on the grounds of COVID, etc., and that the elections would be held as per the new schedule, subject only to the lockdown, if at all, imposed by the Govt.
Trustee Randeria, who was in court, on behalf of the petitioners, told Parsi Times, that even though all three majority Trustees were present in court, not one of them played any role in deciding the dates. In fact, sadly, added Trustee Randeria, “Even in the High Court, as it is in the day-to-day running of the Trust, it was Dinshaw Mehta, who was involved and taking the lead in the discussion and dictating terms to the other side, through his other son, Hormuz Mehta.”
It had become obvious to those in the know, that the three trustees, controlled by Dinshaw Mehta, intended to continue the unfortunate stranglehold that they have been able to get on the trust, due to the passing of bhathena and Desai, till the next elections of October 2022. The Parsi pundits had laid their money on the three Trustees postponing the elections through one excuse or another and then under the guise of saving the election expenses, finally postpone the elections till 2022. Now that the majority will have to adjust to the deadline fixed by the court for elections to be held on 23rd May, 2021, the nightmare will finally come to an end when the BPP Board will once again, be at its full strength, comprising 7 Trustees.
The majority trustees, who had conveniently not approached the Hight Court for extension, as they were required to do as per Clause 16 of the Scheme of Elections, were asked by the Hon’ble judge to follow the due process and seek an extension. The trustees, will, therefore move the Hon’ble High Court seeking an extension, towards the end of next week. The new Election Schedule will then be published next weekend. The date of elections is now frozen as the 23rd of May, 2021, and the entire process will now be followed with new nominations being invited for the elections.
The same Hon’ble bench, had earlier in the day, also upheld Dr. Zuleika Homavazir’s appeal, and asked the BPP to allow her candidature in the elections. However, given this order, all candidates will have to file fresh nomination forms.
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