Mumbai: High Court hands school for underprivileged a ray of hope
The Robert Money technical high school and junior college saw several protests following a controversial agreement entered into by its landowners
The Christian Reform United People Association (CRUPA), which has been fighting to keep the 180-year-old Robert Money school for underprivileged children on Friday saw the Bombay High Court pass an interim order directing Chankya Gyan Kendra — a public charitable trust, to pay the Court Receiver (Court appointed receivers to take custody, manage, and preserve money) R33 lakh per month as a 'royalty' starting from January 1, 2020.
The Robert Money technical high school and junior college saw several protests following a controversial agreement entered into by its landowners — the Bombay Diocesan Trust Association (BDTA) and the governing institution of the school, the Bombay Diocesan Society (BDS) — with Chankya Gyan Kendra.
In 2012, the BDTA's Reverend P B Amolik and BDS's Bishop Prakash Patole were accused of 'parcelling off' the church property to Chankya Gyan Kendra to set up Edubridge International school at the same spot.
However, in 2017, the Charity commissioner held fresh elections to undo the illegality by Amolik and dismissed its earlier body by forming a new one. The newly formed BDTA body later filed a suit in which a Notice of Motion was filed against Chankya Group, Bombay Diocesan Society, Amolik and others.
The newly formed body told the court that the initial agreement along with BDS was illegal since there were no requisite permissions from the charity commissioner at the time. It also termed the initial tenancy agreement as 'fraudulent and illegal'.
"At the time, they (earlier BDTA body) and BDS did not have legal permissions from the charity commissioner. They were fooling people by saying that it was a 'tenancy agreement' whereas actually, they had given the land as perpetuity for lease and stamp duty had also been paid on the land," said Cyril Dara, CRUPA secretary.
On November 29, High Court judge, Justice BP Colabawala observed that initial tenancy agreement cannot be treated as a genuine monthly tenancy agreement With Edubridge International school functioning with over 300 students in it, the court asked Chankya Gyan Kendra to pay a royalty of Rs 33 lakh per month which would start from January 1, 2020.
Also, in its order, the court observed that if in any event Chankya Gyan Kendra committed any two defaults in the payment, then the Court Receiver shall take physical possession of the suit premises (including the structures standing thereon) as well as the suit open ground at the end of the school academic year in which the default has been committed.
"The payment of royalty shall start from 1st January, 2020. The money deposited by the 1st defendant with the Court Receiver (as royalty) shall be invested in a Nationalized Bank and shall be subject to further orders passed by the Court," the order said.
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