Mumbai: HC give state two weeks to set up new panel for Shirdi trust

The Bombay high court bench of Justices Sanjay Gangapurwalla and Shrikant Kulkarni at the Aurangabad seat on Tuesday granted a last chance to the state government to appoint a full time committee to look into the affairs of the Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust in Shirdi. The bench said that if the state fails to appoint the new committee within two weeks then it would issue contempt proceedings against the government.

The bench has further asked the present ad-hoc committee to sit and discuss on various issues pertaining to the maintenance of the two super speciality hospitals run by the trust.

The bench was seized with a clutch of petitions and civil applications filed by and against the trust.

The issue of the Sansthan’s administrative committee has been in the news since 2004, after which a proper committee was formed by replacing the Bhakt mandal-led trust. The committee is to be formed for a period of three years.

Currently, the committee is headed by Kanhuraj Bagate and the other members are Shrikant Anekar, the principal district judge, Ahmednagar and also the representatives of the commissioner of Shirdi municipal corporation and the district charity commissioner.

However, there has been a dispute between Bagate and Anekar, said advocate Pradnya Talekar. The advocate further said that the state had made a statement in March this year that it would appoint a proper committee to the Trust within two months. "However, much time has passed. Now they must appoint a committee at the earliest," Talekar told the bench.

D R Kale, the acting government pleader told the judges to grant some more time as the committee couldn't be appointed owing to the pandemic.

Having heard the contention, Justice Gangapurwalla said, "The pandemic is much under control now. You (State) could have made the appointments. We give you a last chance for two weeks."

"Either appoint the committee at the earliest or we will issue contempt proceedings," Justice Gangapurwalla remarked.

The judges granted two weeks time to the ad-hoc committee to sit and discuss all these issues.

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