ARCHIVES:DISMISSED ACCOUNTS CASE AGAINST AUROBINDO ASHRAM

Everything is for history to judge.In one’s lifetime we  cannot expect justice.Hence we  leave it in our archives for historians and  researchers to evaluate our times. We lost the case  after  first lawyer became judicial magistrate and withdrew, and three more lawyers either on our request  or on their own after they accepting  briefs from respondents  in different cases, with drew. We appealed for in media to any lawyer  to come forward, one came,  handled sometime and threw the towel. So our case was dismissed. Let historians  study the issues raised…. N.Nandhivarman

Ev

IN THE  COURT OF PRINCIPAL DISTRICT JUDGE

AT PONDICHERRY

O.P. NO. 22/97

 

Between:

1.      N. Nandhivarman,

General Secretary, Dravida Peravai,

69, Rangapillai Street,

Pondicherry – 605 001

2.      D.K. Ramnujam, Ex. M.L.A.,

17, Pillayar Koil Street,

Thengaithittu,

Pondicherry – 605 004                                                                                                                                                                      …. Petitioners

 

Vs.

 

1.      Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

represented by its Managing Trustee

Mr. Harikant C. Patel,

Sri Aurobindo Ashram  Main Building,

Marine Street,

Pondicherry – 605 002

2.      Mr. Manoj Das Gupta,

Trustee,

23, Saint Louis Street,

Pondicherry – 605 002

3.      Dr. Dilip Datta,

Trustee,

45, Lally Tollendal Street,

Pondicherry – 605 002

4.      Mr. Ved Prakash Johar,

Trustee, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Dining Hall,

8, Rangapillai Street,

Pondicherry – 605 002

5.      Mr. Albert A. Patel

Trustee,

15, Calve Subbaraya Chetty Street,

Pondicherry – 605 001                                    ….RESPONDENTS

 

PETITION UNDER SECTION 3 OF THE CHARITABLE AND RLIGIOUSTRUSTS ACT, 1920 (CENTRAL ACT NO. 14 OF 1920)

1)     The first petitioner is the son of Late R. Nagarathinam, Hindu, aged about    49 Years, residing at No.69, Rangapillai Street, Pondicherry – 605 001.

The second Petitioner is the son of Late Krishnaswamy, Hindu, aged about 76 years, residing at 17, Pillayar Koil Street, Thengaithittu,         Pondicherry- 605 004.

The  address for service of all process and summons of the petitioners is that of their counsel.

P. U. Chemmal, B.A., L.L. M.,

Advocate,

Ignacy Maistry Street,

Pondicherry – 605 001.

 

2)     The first respondent is a charitable trust created by Late Madame Mira Alfasa and managed by respondent 2 to 5 for the time being.

The second respondent is the son of father name not known to the Petitioner, aged 62 years and residing at 23, Saint Louis Street,  Pondicherry –605 002.

The third respondent is the son of father name not known to the Petitioner, aged 68 years residing at 45, Lally Thollendal street, Pondicherry-605 002.

The fourth respondent is the son of father name not knownto the Petitioner, aged 69 years, residing at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Dining Hall,                   8 Rangapillai street, Pondicherry – 605 002.

The fifth respondent is the son of, father name not known to the Petitioner, aged 73 years, residing at 15, calve subbaraya Chetty street,       Pondicherry – 605 001.

The address for service of all purposes and summons of the respondents is as given above.

 

3)     The petitioner submits that the first respondent trust is a charitable trust created for the benefit of the disciples, devotees  and  inmates of                   Sri Aurobindo Ashram and of the schools conducted by the said Ashram.  The trust was created by a Declaration of Trust made by Late Madame Mira Alfasa who was known as the Divine Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, by a deed of declaration of trust executed on 1.5.1955 and registered as document No.1823 of 1955 in Book-1. Vol. 402, pages 273 to 287  in the Office of the Sub-Registrar of Vanur.  The Trust deed was subsequently registered on 28.3.1964 in the Enrigistrement Bureau in Pondicherry.  Thereafter the declaration of trust was further transcribed in Bureau Des Hypotheque, Pondicherry on 25.5.1964 in R.V. 90 as No.22.

 

4)     The petitioners submit that as it could be seen from the said deed of declaration of trust, the trust is possessed of extensive lands and buildings and the sale proceeds and benefits arisen out of the books,  periodicals, manuscripts and writings of Sri Aurobindo have also been made over to the trust for the sole benefit and use of the disciples, devotees and inmates of Sri Aurobindo Ashram.  It is also manifest on the trust deed that the properties of the trust shall be in use for the residence of the inmates of Sri Aurobindo Ashram and for various other purposes, industries and undertakings connected with the Ashram and for the extensive benefit and use of the disciples, devotees and inmates of the Ashram.  The properties are also to be put to use for the spiritual education and enlightenment of mankind generally on the ideal and philosophy of Sri Aurobindo.

 

5)     The petitioner submits that the first petitioner hails form a family of
Sri Aurobindo’s disciples and has immense interest in the study of the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Divine Mother.  The first petitioner therefore has lot of concern over the proper management and administration of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust and in ensuring that the properties of the trust and its incomes are not exploited for personal ends.  The second petitioner is a freedom fighter and a social activist concerned about the charitable activities of a trust functionary in
Pondicherry soil and its proper use for benefiting local populace and all.

 

6)     The petitioner submits that the trustees for the time being of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust  have been vested with the absolute management and entire control of the trust properties for the purposes of the trust deed for execution of the trust.  The trustees shall be at liberty at any time to sell or let out any house, land, tenements, hereditaments and premises and any motors, pumps, fixtures or fittings, books and other movable properties subject to the trust with power to buy or resell the same. and all moneys that arise form such transactions shall be deemed to be part of the trust property.  The petitioner submits that the trust has also been registered as public charitable trust under section 80 G of the Indian Income Tax Act. 1961.

 

7)     The petitioner submits that while it was so the respondents 2 to 5 who are for the time being the trustees of the first respondent trust have been making misuse of the funds of the trust for their personal ends.  Therefore a demand was made from among the inmates for particulars about  the management of the trust and its accounts.  The respondents 2 to 5 have been functioning in an autocratic manner keeping away all the inmates and have refused to render accounts to them.  Consequently there was a move to form an association called Sri Aurobindo Ashram Inmates Association and the respondents 2 to 5 exercising their influence with official machinery took steps to thwart the association from being coming into existence.  A few of the promoters of the association have filed a civil suit praying for an injuuction to the  Registrar of the societies to register the Association . The said suit is disposed (O.S. No.12/97)  on 21.4.97 by the court of III ADM.  As a retaliation to the move adopted by a section of the inmates to form an association, the respondents 2 to 5 sought to expel a few identified persons who are inmates of Sri Aurobindo Ashram form the Ashram community, of flimsy grounds.  This triggered another round of litigation lodged by the four expelled inmates which were taken on file as original suits No.88/97, 89/97, 90/97, 91/97 on the file of the court of III ADM at Pondicherry.  The latter batch of suits has however ended in a compromise  under which the expelled members were unconditionally taken back to the fold of the Ashram.

 

8)     The petitioners respectfully submits that the respondents 2 to 5 have thus converted the whole trusts to own their benefits and do not render any account to anyone.  on the other hand there is a vast extent of movable and immovable properties for the trust and a number of industrial undertakings are being owned and conducted by Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust.  The trust also received quite on amount of public contribution from the devotees and the disciples of Sri Aurobindo.  The respondents do not appear to have rendered proper accounts and any move made by the inmates to look into the management of the first respondent trust by the respondents 2 to 5  only results in victimisation of the worst degree, including physical manhandling.

 

9)     The petitioners submit that in the Trust deed created by The Mother, the intention of the trust, the beneficiaries, the maintenance and utilisation of Trust funds and all other connected and incidental matters have been clearly delineated but the Deed of Trust does not contain any provision for removal of  Trustees in case of mismanagement, misconduct and misappropriations.  The Deed of Trust, the petitioners submit, does not contain any provision for the continuing trustees to oust any trustee even if one of them have committed misappropriation of trust funds or any other breach of  trust .  No trustee or majority of the trustees have any power to expel any other Trustee.  The Deed of Trust does not mention the period for which appointed trustees should hold office. The petitioners submit that if the trustees are to hold office throughout their life time, then there is danger of mismanagement due to their  old age incapacity of performing their duties towards the execution of the trust.  The petitioners state that the chances of the management  indirectly falling into the hands of undesirable and incompetent persons looms large.  The lack of accountability, transparency and democracy coupled with the ambiguous provision of the trust deed has resulted in Sri Aurobindo Ashram “falling from grace”.

 

10) The petitioners also submit that the Government of Pondicherry under the administration of the then Lt. Governor Cheddilal wrote three times to the trustees of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Sri Aurobindo Society and other units of Sri Aurobindo Ashram soliciting information regarding accounts. The petitioners state that there was a CBI raid on 13th September 1976 on  Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Sri Aurobindo Society and other units. These incidents, the petitioners submit is clear cut proof of the reluctance of   Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust to comply with the laws of the land.  It is to be noted that this defiance or refusal to show accounts at the time of emergency resulting in CBI raids will have to be taken note of by the Honourable Court in evaluating the proper functioning of the trust and  petitioners’ prayer for accountability.

 

11)The petitioners submits that the accounts of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust and its subsidiary business trusts including Sri Aurobindo Udyog Trust are written in a centralised manner.  and of late there has been large  scale shifting of deposits/accounts from Nationalised Banks of repute like State Bank of India to other banks, for no rhyme or reason, other than creating cloud of suspicion over the pecuniary benefits accrued to the prime movers of this “deposit transfers” .

 

12) The petitioners submits  that the registered office of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust and its  trustees, parties to this suit and witnesses reside within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court.  The Trust deed which was originally registered in Vanur, was subsequently registered on 28.3.1964 in the enregistrement Bureau in Pondicherry as well as transcribed in Bureau Des Hypotheque Pondicherry on 21.5.1964 in R.V. 90 as No.22. The Petitioners submit that it  is clear as whole of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust and its properties, trustees, witnesses, office, registered office, commercial establishments etc are situated all within the areas of the jurisdiction of the Honourable Court.

 

13) The first Petitioner submits that the first petitioner is a native of Pondicherry and comes from a family that was close to Sri Aurobindo  and is an ardent admirer of his global vision and philosophy.  Both the petitioners understand that the respondents 2 to 5 are converting to their own benefit the properties of the first respondents trust  and income of the said trust.  There are also indications that respondents 2 to 5 are entering into shady deals involving sale of the properties of  the  first respondent trust in which lot of money is being passed under hand to be secreted and pocketed by the respondents 2 to 5 to their own persons.  It is therefore just and necessary that the respondents are directed to furnish to the petitioner with particulars as to  the properties and the income of the first respondents trust and application of those income in the matter of execution of the trust and also a direction be issued that the accounts of the trust shall be examined and audited for  a period of three years prior to the date of this petition.  Hence this petition.

 

14) The petitioner pays a court fee of Rs.10/- as per the provision of  schedule II under article 10 (2) of the Pondicherry Court Fees and suit Valuation Act, 1972.

 

15)The petitioner therefore prays that this Honourable Court may be pleased to pass an order and decree:

 

a)      directing the respondents 2 to 5 to furnish to the petitioner with particulars as to  the details of immovable, movable  properties of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, the income of the trust form those properties and from contribution made to the trust by the public and devotees and disciples of Sri Aurobindo Ashram and application of those income in the matter of execution of the trust;

b)      directing that the accounts of the said trust shall be examined and audited by an independent auditor for  a period of three years prior to the  filing of this petition;

c)      awarding the costs of this petition;

d)      granting such further or other order or orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit in the facts and circumstances of the case and thus render justice.

 

Dated at Pondicherry this the 24th day of June, 1997.

 

              Sd/-                                                                       Sd/-

COUNSEL FOR PETITIONERS                         PETITIONERS                               

VERIFICATION

We, the petitioners herein do hereby declare that what is stated above are true to the best of our knowledge, belief and information.

Dated at Pondicherry this the 24th day of June, 1997.

                                                                                                            Sd/-                                                     PETITIONERS

List of Docutment filed

Photo copy of the extract of the book.  The Life of Sri Aurobindo(1872-1926) page 233 to Prove the first petitioners family  is Sri Aurobindo’s disciples.

Pondicherry                                                                    Sd/-                         

Date : 22.7.97                                                  COUNSEL FOR PETITIONERS

 

//TRUE COPY//

 

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