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PUBLIC TRUST – TRANSPARENCY IN ITS ADMINISTRATION STRESSED – INTEREST OF PUBLIC IS PARAMOUNT – 2011 SC

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JUSTICE R.V. Raveendran, JUSTICE A.K. Patnaik in Trambakeshwar Devasthan Trust & ... vs President Purohit Sangh & Ors. Decided on 13 October, 2011 “By the very nature of the activities in a place used as a place of public religious worship and dedicated to or for the benefit of or used as of right by the Hindu community or any Section thereof, it is antithesis to a private and closed door management of its affairs. On the other hand there has to be complete openness and transparency in its administration and above all by observing democratic values or principles. To put it differently, it is public trust for the community, by the community and of the community or any section thereof. If such is the purport of the Trust then diversified representation and involvement of all concerned or the section of the pubic who have interest in the Trust and in particular associated with the day to day activities of the temple of the devasthan is inevitable - and the most appropriate step to further and promote the objectives of such a Trust…………………. A person can be said to be disqualified or would render himself unfit for being appointed as the trustees only when he has direct interest in the trust or the devasthan and is hostile to the affairs of the Trust and his object is to see that the Trust is destroyed. To put it differently, there is a perceptible difference between person having interest in the trust and person having conflict of interest. The former is the quintessence for being eligible to be considered or for being appointed as the trustee……………… Law is however well settled that the interest of the public is paramount in any religious public trust.”

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