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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Refrain from policy decisions till further orders, HC tells state-appointed panel for Shirdi Sansthan Trust

The petitioner argued that the state government could not appoint such a committee without permission or approval of the HC, as per earlier orders.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: September 22, 2021 9:54:30 pm
The court will next hear the case on the appointment of a new committee at the Shri Sai Baba Sansthan, Shirdi, on September 23. (Source: Wikimedia Commons, File)

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the new committee at the Shri Sai Baba Sansthan, Shirdi, which was recently appointed by the State Government, to refrain from taking policy decisions, sanctioning expenditures, making appointments or inducting new members till further orders.

A division bench of Justice Ravindra Ghuge and Justice Sanjay G Mehere was hearing a civil application in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by petitioner Uttamrao Shelke.

Shelke informed the HC that the state government had appointed a new managing committee for the Sansthan chaired by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Ashutosh Kale through a September 16 order, and the said committee took charge on September 17.

Shelke argued that as per earlier orders, the state government could not appoint such a committee without permission or approval of the HC.

Advocate Pradnya S Talekar, representing Shelke, referred to an October 9, 2019 HC order, which noted that the court in 2012 had appointed a committee to supervise, monitor and look after financial affairs of Sansthan. The committee comprised the principal district judge, the collector of Ahmednagar, chief executive officer of the Sansthan, and a delegate not below the rank of the Assistant Charity Commissioner, Nashik.

Additional Government Pleader (AGP) S G Karlekar for the state government and advocate A S Bajaj for the Trust sought time to file replies to the civil application, which the HC accepted.

The bench noted that the new committee could not have taken charge without its approval. “When we had brought a committee into existence (2012) and had empowered it to function and administer the Sansthan, prima facie, no other Managing Committee could have dislodged the Committee that we had constituted, on the plea of the Government having declared the formation of the new Committee. In short, the new Committee could not have taken charge without obtaining orders from this Court as we would then be required to discharge the Committee that we had constituted,” the order stated.

The court posted further hearing on the plea to September 23, Thursday, and noted, “Until then, the new Committee, which is alleged to have taken charge by dislodging the Committee that we had constituted, shall refrain from taking any policy decision, sanction expenditure, and shall also refrain from making any appointments or inducting new members, if any, until further orders.”

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