In the last Parsi Junction issue of 9-10-22, we had reported the sequence of the hearing of the Election Petition from July 2022 upto 7-10-22 when the Court of his Honor Judge Manish Pitale has listed the matter for hearing on 14-10-22.

On 14-10-22 the counsel for the Petitioners apprised the Hon’ble Bench that as per the Report of the Ld. Prothonotary, the captioned matter pertains to the Bench of Justice R.I. Chagla, however, when the matter was mentioned before His Lordship on October 14, 2022, he recused himself from hearing the captioned matter and therefore, the captioned matter is being mentioned before Justice N.J. Jamadar, being the alternate bench for Justice R.I. Chagla’s court. Upon hearing the same, the Hon’ble Court indicated that they shall verify internally about the assignment, with the Registry and granted liberty to the Petitioner to mention the matter again tomorrow for circulation.

The captioned matter was mentioned on 15-10- 22 by the Advocate for the Petitioners before His Lordship the Hon’ble Mr. Justice N.J. Jamadar, when DSK team remained present on behalf of BPP and its Trustees. Counsel for other Respondents were also present.

The Advocate for the Petitioners apprised the Hon’ble Court with the brief facts of the matter and further apprised that the captioned matter has been previously listed High on Board on all occasions and therefore a short date may be granted. The Advocate for Respondent No. 2 then submitted that there is no urgency in the matter and also his Senior Counsel is not available this week. However, the Hon’ble Court was pleased to grant a circulation for tomorrow. Accordingly, the captioned matter will be listed for hearing on October 19, 2022.

On 19-10-22, the captioned matter was listed for hearing before His Lordship the Hon’ble Mr. Justice N.J. Jamadar, when Counsel Mr. Firoz Bharucha along with Adv. Nirav Shah and DSK team remained present on behalf of BPP and its Trustees. Adv. Rohan Savant appeared on behalf of the Petitioners. Adv. Luckyraj Indorkar, Adv. Mayur Khandeparkar and Adv. Bindi Dave also remained present for Respondent No. 2, Respondent Nos. 3 to 11 and Respondent No. 27, respectively.

When the matter was called-out for hearing, Mr. Sawant for the Petitioners, apprised the Hon’ble Court with the detailed facts of the case and made his legal submissions. After hearing his submissions, the Hon’ble Court was of the view that no ad-interim reliefs can be granted in the captioned matter and there is no urgency in the same. Accordingly, the captioned matter is now scheduled to be listed for hearing on November 17, 2022.

Further, it is to be noted that on the earlier occasion the Hon’ble Court had requested that the Election Report submitted to the Trust by Respondent No. 27, i.e., Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP (“Deloitte”) to be kept ready in a sealed envelope, so that the same can be submitted whenever the Hon’ble Court demands.

In view of above stand of the Court it is unlikely that the Election Petition will be heard expeditiously leave alone decided soon.

Hence the dreams of Kersi Randeria and Kaikhushru Irani for re-election will probably be shattered for the time being and they will have to wait till 2027 for their dreams to become a reality.

What is unfortunate is the lakhs of rupees of legal costs which the BPP (in spite of its stringent financial condition) and hence the community will have to incur because of the ambitions of these two Trustee aspirants. What is more galling is that the legal costs of the 9 Petitioners is being funded by the film shooting being carried out at the premises of Parsi Lying in Hospital belonging to BPP but whose income is siphoned off by the Managing Committee instead of forwarding to BPP. On top of that complaints have been received from film shooting staff in writing that cash under the table is being collected by Kaikhushru Irani, similar to how he was defrauding his own sister of her charity doles. Thus they have to spend nothing from their own pockets towards their legal costs.

At this stage it is worth analyzing the motive of the 9 Petitioners viz. Kaikhushru Irani, Arzan Ghadially, Sharukh Billimoria, Vispi Irani, Farrokh Kolah, Neville Zaveri, Aspi Tantra, Yasmin Mistry and Noshir Dadrawala, (all known motley supporters of Kersi Randeria, who have been rewarded in some way or the other for supporting him).

The 9 Petitioners are all lackeys of Kersi Randeria, under whose instruction this Petition has been filed as openly confessed and admitted by one of the Petitioner himself when accosted to give his reason for filing this Petition.

The main complaint of the Petitioners is that the malfunctioning of some EVMs was not attended and rectified by the Election Commissioners which led to votes not being recorded correctly and hence seek Re-election.

It is ironic that when the new Scheme was under consideration before the Division Bench in January 2022, the Trustees led by Mrs. Tirandaz, Viraf Mehta and Xerxes Dastur implored to the Division Bench not to allow voting by EVMs due to possibility of rigging and restore voting by Ballot paper but Kersi Randeria, Noshir Dadrawala and a host of Intervenors including Kaikhushru Irani convinced the Division Bench to have elections only by EVMs and now the same persons are complaining against the malfunctioning of EVMs. The BPP and Trustees representing the community will have to pay legal costs of crores if the matter is admitted and argued aside from further Rs. 50 lakhs as cost of holding another election if the Petition succeeds. Already Kersi Randeria during his seven year rule has brought BPP to bankruptcy with his twisted policies leading to BPP not able to pay salary on time to its staff-both office staff and Class IV staff.

It is ironic that though the Petition of Kaikhushru Irani and others on behalf of Kersi Randeria is basically filed against the 10 Election Commissioners so proudly appointed by the Division Bench of the High Court, their legal cost will be nil as several Parsi counsels and Advocates have come forward to represent them free of all legal charges i.e. pro bono and the biggest financial loss will be to BPP and BPP alone.

None of the Petitioners will also have to bear any legal costs as Kaikhushru Irani and Kersi Randeria make lakhs of rupees by hiring out the Parsi Lying in Hospital premises for film and advt. shooting from which large part is taken in cash from the film shooters as per a written confession given to us by one of the film shooter which will be published in the next issue of Parsi Junction. In fact most of the Managing Committee members are not even aware how and when Kaikhushru Irani was appointed as Manager of PLIH at Salary of Rs. 25000/ pm plus 15% commission from income from film shooting which at a conservative estimate amounts to around Rs. 1 Crore per year.

Kaikhushru Irani, a dubious character who swindled his own sister of her charity funds as reported in the Parsi Junction issue no. 145 of 11th Sept 2022, is most unfit to be the Manager of PLIH but since Kersi Randeria arbitrarily appointed him, neither Maneck Engineer nor Noshir Dadrawala have had the courage to oppose Kersi Randeria though both of them were informed by Jamshed Sidhwa, a film shooter himself of the cheating being done by Kaikhushru Irani by taking cheque of Rs. 1 lakh per day and pocketing cash of Rs. 30,000/ per day to be shared with his partner.

It is likely that with the above disclosures, Kersi Randeria and Kaikhushru Irani will again try to pressurize the police to file a charge sheet against Viraf Mehta as a co-conspirator with Dinshaw Mehta in the Musharaf Kader Dady House case.

The community will recall that a few months back Kersi Randeria along with Kaikhushru Irani , Arzan Ghadially and Sharukh Billimoria had tried to pressurize the senior police officers by harassing them every day to file a chargesheet against Viraf Mehta. To avoid this, meetings were held around January 2022 in the office of Jimmy Mistry at Dadar Parsi Colony and thereafter at residence of Farokh Wadia of Rustom Baug to settle the matter but Randeria’s demand was that neither Armaity Tirandaz nor Viraf Mehta should contest the fresh BPP Trustee elections, scheduled for May 2022.

However this was not acceptable and thanks to Arzan Ghadially and Sharukh Billimoria who felt that police chargesheet would affect the job credentials of Viraf Mehta and agreed not to take their complaint further.

This was a big relief and in the May 2022 elections, the community elected Viraf Mehta but rejected Kersi Randeria due to which this Election Petition has been filed. We are further informed by one of Randeria’s previous supporter who no longer supports him that this time Kersi Randeria has paid lakhs of rupees to Mehernosh Fitter, the police khabri of Dadar Parsi Colony to get the police to file charge sheet against Viraf Mehta in the 10 year old Musharraf Kader matter of 2013.Time will show whether Randeria succeeds or not.

At the outset, the Petition hopelessly fails to disclose any cause of action whatsoever and is devoid of any merit whatsoever on fact and law and is based purely on conjecture and surmise. Under no circumstances can the result of a valid election be set aside merely on conjecture and surmise. The Petitioners have approached this Hon’ble Court with unclean hands. Petitioner No. 1 (Kaikhushru Irani) himself chose to contest the elections but only succeeded in securing a mere 418 votes from electorate when a total of 7364 persons cast their respective votes. By virtue thereof Petitioner No. 1 stood at 15th Position (last).

Petitioner Nos. 2 to 9 are not even candidates. Petitioner No. 2 (Arzan Ghadially) was the representative of Mr. Dara Patel, Respondent No. 15 herein. It is of utmost importance that Resp. No. 15 has not challenged the election result. It is therefore unthinkable that Petitioner No. 2 who is merely the representative of Resp. No. 15 for the entire election process can challenge the election process in the absence of the candidate himself who he represented, challenging the same. In fact Resp. No. 15 has accepted the election result and consequently his representative has no locus to challenge/question the outcome of the elections. Shockingly, Petitioner No.3 (Sharukh Billimotria) was a representative of Respondent No. 12 (Adil Malia) who himself has been validly elected as a Trustee. Resp. No. 12 accepts not only the result of the election but also the entire electoral process. Having already represented a candidate who was successful in securing enough votes to be elected as a Trustee, Petitioner No. 3 is disentitled from acting in any manner that is prejudicial to the interest of the candidate that he represented.

Petitioner Nos. 4 (Vispi Irani) and 5 (Farrokh Kolah) were not involved in the election process in any manner whatsoever. Apart from adding their names to the Petition as Petitioners, they have done precious little to assail the election process.

Petitioners 6 (Neville Zaveri), 7 (Aspi Tantra) and 8 (Yasmin Mistry)are the representatives of losing candidate Kersi Randeria, Resp. No. 19 herein. In spite of running a rather acrimonious election campaign, Resp. No. 19 himself has accepted the election results and has never even raised a token objection to the election results, in spite of the fact that he was a sitting Trustee until these Respondents assumed charge of the office of the Trusteeship. It is pertinent that Resp No. 19 had projected himself to be a part of a panel of candidates comprising Resp. Nos. 12,15, 16, 18 and Resp. No. 19 himself. It is a matter of record that not one candidate, successful or otherwise, from the entire panel has challenged the election process. In view thereof, Petitioners 6 to 8 have no locus standi whatsoever to enjoin themselves as Petitioners. Petitioner No. 9 (Noshir Dadrawala) himself was a sitting Trustee until the validly elected Trustees assumed charge of their office. Inspite of holding the office of Trusteeship and choosing not to contest the elections, Petitioner No. 9 has never once raised a single Objection to the conduct of the Chief Election Commissioner or the Assistant Election Commissioners. In view thereof, Petitioner No. 9 has absolutely no cause of action to challenge the election process.

It is of utmost importance that the Petitioners have hopelessly failed to disclose the facts set out in paras 4 to 8 above, inspite of obviously being aware of the same. Petitioner Nos. 2,3 and 6 to 9 have projected themselves to have been joined as Petitioners in the present proceedings by virtue of the fact that they are Parsi Zoroastrians and registered voters who cast their votes. Under no circumstances, could they have failed to disclose the above facts especially when they had participated in the entire election process not just as voters but as representatives of successful/ unsuccessful candidates. The above information was not disclosed for obvious reasons, since these facts would have disentitled them from projecting the image of having participated in the elections merely as voters and this Hon’ble Court be pleased to dismiss the Petition on this ground alone. Further, the entire Petition fails to provide a single instance where a vote cast by a voter in favor of one candidate resulted in that candidate not getting the benefit of that vote and/or any candidate whether successful or not deriving the benefit of a vote that was not cast in their favor. In the absence of such information, no reliefs of any nature ought to be granted to the Petitioners.

Inspite of not being able to demonstrate a single instance where either successful or unsuccessful candidate has benefited from the alleged conduct of the Chief Election Commissioner or the Assistant Election Commissioners, the only relief that the Petitioners seek at the ad-interim stage, if granted would result in the Board of Trustees of BPP not being able to effectively discharge its functions as the apex Trust of the Parsi/Irani Zoroastrians.

The Petitioners have not demonstrated a single irregularity that has resulted in a single vote being wrongly attributed to any candidate which vote was not cast in favor of that candidate. In view thereof, the Petitioners have hopelessly failed to make out any case for setting aside the election result.

In view of what is stated above, this Hon’ble Court should dismiss the above Petition with exemplary costs.

Source: Parsi Junction