Decided on March 15,2007

UNION OF INDIA Respondents


SWATANTER KUMAR, J. - (1.) Mr. K.N. Valsakumar, the General Secretary of the Employees' Union of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (hereinafter referred to as the 'IGNCA') and who is also an employee of the said organization, has approached this court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for issuance of a writ of mandamus or certiorari thereby quashing the order dated 2.2.2005 issued by the Union of India nominating and appointing respondent No. 3 Dr. (Mrs.) Kapila Vatsyayan as a member of respondent No. 2- Trust and further directing respondent No. 1 to hold an enquiry by an independent agency into the financial irregu rities of the affairs of the Trust.
(2.) To substantiate the prayer, the petitioner has averred in the writ petition that IGNCA was set up on 24.3.1987 to serve as a major resource centre to promote preservation and development of arts for which a deed of declaration was made and a resolution was issued by the Govt. of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development on 19th March, 1987 and the Trust was thus set up on or about 24.2.1987. The deed of declaration giving its objects, functions and clauses in relation to appointment of trustees and office bearers of the Trust, has been placed on record as Annexure P1 to the Writ petition. According to the petitioner, a Trust which was established to realize all-round cultural enrichment of India and to create inner resources of human beings, has become a place for personal promotion and patronage and even the Government of India is not granting the requisite funds to the Trust. Respondent No. 3 had been appointed as Member Secretary of the IGNCA Trust initially for a period of one year in the year 1990 which was extended for two years w.e.f. 1.4.1991. With effect from 1.4.1993, she was appointed as an Academic Director for a period of five years. However, before expiry of the said period on 9.2.1994, she relinquished the charge of the said post and was appointed to continue as a Trustee being one of first seven trustees of the Trust. In a special meeting of the Trustees, certain amendments were made in the deed of declaration and she was made Life Trustee on 18.5.1995. This amendment was impermissible and appointment of respondent No. 3 as a Life Trustee was contrary to Clause 7.1 to 7.4 of the Deed of Declaration as the tenure of the Trustee is 10 years. The amendment was made as a result of vested interests. The petitioner had earlier filed a writ petition being CW No. 4305/1998 challenging the validity of the amendments and the said petition was dismissed in default. It is also the case of the petitioner that during the pendency of that petition, the Government of India issued order on 7.1.2000 cancelling the amendments and it directed that clauses of the original deed of declaration would continue to be in force and the amendment of 18.5.1995 would be ignored. The Government of India on 7.1.2000 also ordered to retire 12 of 19 trustees including respondent No. 3. The order of the Government was also based upon and refers to the clauses of the original deed which restrict the tenure of a member of the trust to ten years and whereafter member trustee cannot continue in office.. However, the Government of India reappointed respondent No. 3 as Member of the Trust on 2.2.2005. Publication to that effect was made in the Extra Ordinary Gazette of India and whereafter on 27.6.2005 she was nominated as member of the Executive Committee of the Trust and thereafter was elected as Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Trust on 30.7.2005. According to the petitioner, she has misappropriated the funds of the Trust thereafter. She planned construction and executed a monstrous construction of nearly a hundred crores through an American Architect, private contractor and Chairman, Building Committee. The respondent No. 3 misled the then President of IGNCA, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi on various issues. The respondent No. 3 appointed a Superintendent Engineer and elevated him illegally to the position of Additional Secretary to the Government. The persons holding high offices have vested interests and they want to manage and control the Trust as it has 24.7 acre of prime land in the heart of Delhi and has even other assets worth more than 100 crores and has also 10 acres of prime land in Bangalore which again is being misused. There are massive financial irregularities and illegalities which have been committed during her term and her continuation in Trust is not in public interest. On these grounds, the petitioner has questioned her appointment as Member of the Trust and the subsequent orders passed by the Trust and the UOI, renominating and appointing her as President of the Executive Committee.
(3.) The petitioner claims to have a locus standi to file the present writ petition as according to him he has sufficient interest in maintaining the present case before the Court being an employee as well as the General Secretary of the Union of the employees of the Trust. According to the petitioner, this petition is not motivated and in view of the principles enunciated in the cases of Dr. (Mrs.) Meera Massey, Dr. Abha Malhotra, Dr. S.C. Bhadwal and Ors. vs. Dr. S.R. Mehrotra and Ors. JT 1998 (1) Supreme Court 470, Dattaraj Nathuji Thaware vs. State of Maharashtra and Ors. 2005 (1) SCC 590 and Confederation of Ex-Servicemen Associations and Ors. v. Union of India (UOI) and others AIR 2006 SC 2945 and for bonafide reasons, he is entitled to maintain this petition before this Court. (i)The main plank of submission on behalf of the petitioner is that in terms of the clauses of the original Trust Deed dated 24.3.1987, the age of retirement of every trustee is 10 years, thus, appointment of a life trustee is violative of the terms of the Deed. (ii)There was no amendment, as the amendment itself was opposed to the terms of the Trust Deed and any amendment contrary to the original Deed would be impermissible. Even if it is assumed that the amendments could be made, the same were withdrawn and nominations were cancelled by the Government of India, as such the appointment of respondent no.3 ipso facto would come to an end. (iii)Even the concept of reappointment in the case of her Member of the Trust is foreign to the provisions of the Trust Deed as wherever the framers of the Trust intended to use the concept of reappointment, they specifically provided for the same. Reference is made to Clause 8 relating to appointment/reappointment of the President of the Trust. The expression 'new trustees' used in relation to appointment and term of Members of the Trust cannot be equated or treated interchangeable to the expression 'reappointment'. It is further stated that in any case, for the irregularities committed by the respondent no.3 she cannot continue to be involved in the affairs of the Trust and proper investigation should be made in that regard.;

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