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“Court stands by Ashram Trustees”

January 7, 2016


The Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside an order of the Madras High Court upholding the permission granted by a trial  court to some devotees to file a suit for removal of the Trustees of Puducherry Aurobindo Ashram  for not banning an objectionable book written by an inmate.

A Bench of Justices  Madan B. Lokur and S.N. Bobde said failure to take steps to ban a book that is critical of the philosophical and spiritual guru of a Trust would not fall within the compass of administration of the Trust. It might  be an omission of the exercise  of proper discretion on the part of the trustees, but certainly not an omission touching upon the administration of the Trust.

The Bench said  “We are not in agreement with the High Court that the failure of the appellants (Aurobindo Ashram and others) to take the initiative in banning the objectionable  book gives rise to a cause of action for the removal of the trustees of the Trust and settling a scheme for its  administration. The trustees of a trust are entitled to a wide discretion in the administration of a Trust.”

Writing the judgment and allowing the Ashram’s appeal  Justice Lokur said a disagreement with the exercise of the discretion (however passionate the disagreement may be) does not necessarily lead to a conclusion of maladministration, unless the exercise of discretion is perverse. In our opinion the High Court ought to have allowed the application made by the appellants for the revocation of leave granted to the respondents to initiate proceedings under Section 92 of the Civil Procedure Code, in the facts of this case.


Deccan Chronicle

Court stands by Ashram Trustees_Deccan Chronicle_2016_01_06



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