Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Karnataka High Court order ensures that Sri Naganand as well as Sri Gangadhar Bhat and Sri Krishna Bhat remain as Loka Seva Trust trustees until further orders!

Given below are some key statements from the order of Karnataka High Court which seems to have been issued on 14-Mar-2017 and corresponds to the hearing on 8-Mar-2017 related to Writ Petition challenging illegal Loka Seva Trust Board of Trustees reconstitution in end Jan. 2017. The 14 pages of the order are shown as pics in this Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/shubha.kumar/posts/10158095784810538.

Note the following:
Petitioner (plaintiff): Sri S.S. Naganand
Respondent 3 (defendant 3): Mr. U. Gangadhar Bhat
Respondent 4 (defendant 4): Mr. Krishna Bhat
[The above three persons DO NOT SUPPORT Muddenahalli group.]

Respondent 1 (defendant 1): Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust

Respondent 2 (defendant 2): Mr. B. N. Narasimha Murthy
Similar to respondent 2, respondents 5 to 10 are of Muddenhalli group, with respondent 9 being Madhusudan Naidu.

---- start extracts of Karnataka High Court written order issued on 14.3.2017 ----

5) Sri K.G. Raghavan, learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioner pointed out that the impugned order passed by the trial court suffers from non-application of mind and the trial court failed to consider the fact that the defendants have unilaterally without issuing notice to the plaintiff, have removed the petitioner from the post of Trustee of the defendant - Trust. The same came to the knowledge of the plaintiff only when he received letter dated 27.1.2017. He further contended that the trial court failed to appreciate the fact that there is a grave imminent threat from the defendants and they are interfering with the plaintiff's right to discharge his duties as a Trustee of the 1st defendant Trust and there is no provision in the original Deed of Trust or amended Deed of Trust for removal of any Trustee, muchless the removal of a person appointed and named as a Life Trustee. Moreover, by law, there being no provision for decision by the Board of Trustees by the majority, all decisions had to be unanimous and obviously and apparently neither the plaintiff nor defendants 3 and 4 have given consent for the alleged decision to remove them from the office of the Trustees.
...

7) Sri Chandranath Ariga, learned counsel for Respondent no. 3 and Sri Seshagiri Rao, learned counsel for Respondent no. 4 also contended that the 1st defendant has no right to remove the petitioner or the respondent nos. 3 and 4. Therefore the alleged meetings held on 21.1.2017, 22.1.2017 and 23.1.2017 are ab initio void and also contended that absolutely the removal of the petitioner by the 1st defendant is unilateral without issuing notice. Therefore they sought to support the case of the petitioner.
...

10) ... (omitted initial parts; This point seems to deal with court order/decision on 28-Feb-2017). This court considering the arguments of both the sides held as under:
"The observations made by the Apex Court in Para No.15 of the said judgement are not applicable to the facts of the present case, as this Court has not granted any ex parte temporary injunction. This Court by an order dated 14.2.2017 while issuing emergent notice to the respondents, has kept in abeyance the resolution of the 1st respondent dated 21, 22 and 23 of January 2017 for a period of 15 days, which is only a temporary measure.

With regard to the fact that the respondent No. 1 has removed the petitioner from the Board of Trustees unilaterally, Sri Venkatesh, learned counsel for respondent Nos. 1, 2, 5 to 10, is not in a position to justify the unilateral decision taken by respondent no. 1 and is unable to show that any of the conditions in the Trust Deed provides for removal of the petitioner without notice.

After hearing both the learned counsel for the parties and in the absence of any power to respondent no. 1 to remove the petitioner unilaterally, this Court is of the opinion, at this stage, this interim order should be continued till the next date of hearing.

In view of the same, interim order is continued till the next date of hearing.

Call on 8.3.2017."

11. When the matter posted today for consideration of I.A No. 1/2017 for vacating stay, the learned counsel for Respondent nos. 1, 2 and 5 to 10 was not in a position to show the power of the 1st respondent/1st defendant to pass a removal order against the petitioner/plaintiff unilaterally. Even in the application for vacating stay, the respondents have not pointed out the power of the 1st respondent to remove the plaintiff/petitioner from the 1st defendant - Trust except making some bald allegations against the petitioner and alleged procedural lapse by this Court. Even today while arguing in support of the application for vacating stay, Sri Venkatesh, learned counsel for Respondent Nos. 1,2 and 5 to 10 is not in a position to justify the unilateral decision taken by the 1st defendant/1st respondent and is unable to show any of the conditions of the trust deed pertaining to power for removal of the petitioner, who is the trustee for life of the 1st defendant, even without notice. Hence the action taken is in utter violation of the principles of natural justice.

12. In view of the aforesaid reasons, when the respondents are not in a position to show the power of the respondents for removal of the petitioner as Life Trustee of the 1st defendant - Trust unilaterally, question of vacating stay does not arise.

13. Accordingly, I.A. No.1/2017 for vacating stay filed by Respondent Nos. 1,2,5 to 10 stands rejected. Consequently, the interim order granted earlier by this Court is made absolute and extended until further orders.

---- end extracts of Karnataka High Court written order issued on 14.3.2017 ----

Ravi: My layman reading of this Karnataka High Court order, especially the above extracts of the order, is that it ensures that Sri S.S. Naganand continues as Life Trustee of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust. Sri B.N. Narasimhamurthy, Madhusudan Naidu & others of Muddenahalli group have NO POWERS to remove Sri S.S. Naganand as trustee of Loka Seva Trust.

Further, as the reconstitution of Loka Seva Trust board done in end Jan. 2017 is stayed until further orders, my layman reading is that Sri U. Gangadhar Bhat and Sri Krishna Bhat also continue as trustees of Loka Seva Trust until further orders of Karnataka High Court!

What a great victory for re-establishing Sathya & Dharma in Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust in general and in particular in Alike school of Loka Seva Trust!!! I congratulate Sri S.S. Naganand, Sri Gangadhar Bhat, Sri Krishna Bhat and their counsel (lawyers) for this great court victory.

I also would like to say that all Sathya Sai devotees interested in re-establishing Sathya & Dharma in Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust, should provide full support to Sri S.S. Naganand, Sri Gangadhar Bhat and Sri Krishna Bhat, and their legal teams. I certainly do. I further pray to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to continue to shower His Grace on them.

Sathyameva Jayate! Jai Sairam!

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