'Iskcon Mumbai owns City arm'
High Court says its president, Madhu Pandita Das forged documents
In a verdict that puts an end to a decade-old feud, the High Court of Karnataka on Friday ruled that the entire property of Bangalore’s International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) belongs to the Iskcon Mumbai.
Hearing a petition by Iskcon Mumbai, the Division Bench comprising Justices Nagamohan Das and Arali Nagraj said that since the administration of Iskcon Bangalore happens from Mumbai, the plaintiff society cannot interfere in the administration of Mumbai.
The Court also restricted any organisation claiming to be from the plaintiff society in Bangalore from interfering with the affairs of the local branch of Iskcon.
“Any organisation claiming under Bangalore plaintiff is restrained from interfering with the affairs of the Bangalore branch of Iskcon registered at Mumbai.”
Stating that Iskcon Bangalore has no legal existence, the Bench upheld the Iskcon Mumbai’s claim that the plaintiff society was defunct.
“There is no legal existence to the Bangalore society. By falsifying accounts, president Madhu Pandit Das has conspired to breathe life into the society.”
Pointing out that Madhu Pandit Das’ statements in earlier litigations that Iskcon Bangalore is a branch of Iskcon Mumbai, the Bench said the property of Iskcon Bangalore is the contribution to original branch at Mumbai.
Stating that none of the documents produced by Madhu Pandit Das show that the property belongs to the plaintiff society, the Bench said that even the tax is paid by the Mumbai organisation.
The court further observed that Das fabricated the documents and the tampered accounts with fabricated papers was disbelieved by the Court. However, the court said that Das and other officers will continue as officer-bearers as per the bye-laws of Mumbai.
However, the Iskcon Bangalore sought to stay the order as they were approaching the Supreme Court. The Bench directed Iskcon Mumbai to file objections on Tuesday.
Iskcon Bangalore, which was established in 1978 by Iskcon Mumbai had selected Madhu Pandit Das as President of the new branch in 1984.
Das functioned under the directions of Mumbai and would send annual audit report as per the bye-laws of Iskcon Mumbai.
However, the process ran into rough weather when the Mumbai organisation found differences in the audit report and deviation from philosophy of Iskcon Mumbai.
A series of legal battles continued until the IX Additional City Civil Court ruled in favour of Bangalore in 2009 and the Mumbai organisation approached the High Court in the year 2011.