The Bombay High Court on Monday refused to grant ad-interim relief to disqualified Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) trusteeship contestant Dr Zuleika Homavazir, who had moved it in February to ascertain why her candidature was disqualified for the March 14 election.
Homavazir’s nomination had been rejected by the BPP on the basis that her proposer, Rustom Nanabhoy Jeejeebhoy, was a Christian though his name appears in the electoral rolls. In order to be a voter or to nominate someone, he/she has to be actively practise Zoroastrianism.

In her plea to the court, Homavazir had raised the question as to whether the defendants i.e. the Parsi Punchayet Funds and five of its trustees had “wrongly rejected” her nomination by disregarding the provisions of Rule 3(e) and Rule 124) of the Scheme of Election under which the only criteria for eligibility for casting a vote is the reflection of the name of the person in the General Register maintained by the defendants 60 days immediately preceding the date of the scheduled trustee election—a condition that Jeejeebhoy had fulfilled.

Justice AK Menon ruled that given the “factual aspects and the obvious reluctance of the plaintiff to obtain confirmation that Jeejeebhoy continues to profess the Zoroastrian faith… I am of the view that no case is made out for interference at this stage.” Refusing to grant ad-interim relief, the court ruled that any additional affidavit-in-reply had to be filed within a period of four weeks, and a rejoinder, if any, within four weeks thereafter. Dr Homavazir said, “This is the first time in the history of BPP that two factions have come together to achieve a common goal: prevent me from contesting the election.”

“The trust (BPP) had nothing against Dr Homavazir. We received some complaints that Dr Homavazir’s proposer had embraced another religion. The trustees took all steps to ensure fairplay and transparency. We took legal opinion and wrote multiple letters to both the candidate and the proposer. We asked for a simple declaration or an affidavit which they could not and did not give,” said Kersi Randeria, BPP trustee.