The Supreme Court of India has stayed a judgment of the Bombay High Court, wherein State of Maharashtra was directed to reconsider appointments to the managing committee Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi.
Justice Ranjan Gogoi passed the order and issued notice in a batch of PILs tagged together, challenging the state government’s notification dated March 27, 2012. The managing committee was constituted through this notification.
Justices SC Dharmadhikari and Mangesh Patil, in a 174-page detailed judgment dated November 29, 2017, had directed the state to reconsider appointments to the said managing committee in two months’ time and laid out guidelines for such appointments in the future.
Appearing for one of the petitioners in this matter, SB Talekar had submitted that the said appointments were made on political considerations and were arbitrary in nature.
Petitioners had alleged that most of the members were appointed on political considerations; they were politicians belonging to the ruling party in Ahmednagar district, it was further alleged that they misused the power.
According to the petitioners, members of the Sansthan were releasing funds of the Sansthan for development of their constituencies or Zilla Parishad circles or Panchayat blocks. They were using the vehicles and other facilities for their personal benefit and to influence and attract the voters in the constituency.
The petitioner submitted that many projects are either implemented or initiated with the funds of Shirdi Sansthan, but such members serve their own interest. The result was these projects caused colossal losses to the Sansthan.
The high court had also directed an independent and impartial body to be set up for reconsideration or reconstitution of a new managing committee and also specified that none of the members of the new body should be carried over from the earlier body that considered appointments to the managing committee.
With the Supreme Court’s stay, the older committee shall continue to function.