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Nagpur: Do not donate if you have doubts, says HC while rejecting PIL questioning PM CARES fund

The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court, on August 26, rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by city-based advocate Arvind Waghmare, who questioned the operation of PM CARES Fund and sought declaration of details of receipts and expenditure from the PM CARES Fund on its official website. 

Waghmare had approached the court asking it to issues directives to PM CARES to immediately appoint/nominate three other trustees on the fund, with at least two of them belonging to opposition members of Parliament to have proper check and balance,to strengthen the confidence of public and for transparency. 

Apart from the appointment of SARC Associates as auditors, advocate Waghmare requested appointment of independent auditor only after formation of full board trustees, as per guidelines. Waghmare, who claimed to be a donor to the fund, submitted that the scheme of fund itself required PM Modi to nominate three eminent persons in the field of research, health, science, etc, as other trustees, but no appointments were made in terms of the trust deed. He also questioned the validity of decisions, which have been taken by the fund so far. 

The court dismissed each petition filed by Waghmare and later advised him or any other donor to any public charitable trust to choose the discretion like John Falstaff, a cowardly Shakespearean character, to not donate if they have any doubt about its proper utilisation.

Additional solicitor general Anil Singh strongly opposed the PIL claiming that it was more of a publicity interest litigation with underlying political agenda. Citing the fact that Waghmare had contributed an amount of Rs 1,001 to the fund on May 8 and filed the PIL on May 9, claiming to be a contributor, Singh questioned the intentions of petitioner. 

Waghmares PIL was dismissed by a bench compromising Justice Sunil Shukre and Justice Anil Killor on the grounds that the fund was a public charitable trust and was governed by its own registered deed of trust, which does not receive any government fund or budgetary support. 

The will of the founding trustees and not the wishful thinking of the outsiders in such a case is what matters, is what prevails over desire of strangers and is what will receive reverence from law as long as the will is expressed by the trustees in tandem with law about which there can be no dispute here, the bench said. 

There is yet another perspective to look at the prayer. The contributions, which are to be made to the fund are voluntary in nature and there is no compulsion for anyone to donate. If any person has any doubt about the application of the money, he intends to donate, may we remind such person of the words of Falstaff, a cowardly character portrayed by William Shakespeare in his play Henry IV that, The better part of Valour is Discretion; in the which better part, I have saved my life. Here ?life? can be taken to be money. So, such a person would well be within his right to not donate his money to the fund. From this perspective also no insistence can be made by a person donating his money in his discretion upon making of public disclosures of utilisation of the fund money on a public platform, bypassing the proper platform provided under the Trust Act applicable to a charitable trust like the PM CARES Fund.

As rightly submitted by Additional Solicitor General of India (Anil Singh), this relief (public disclosure of receipts and disbursement of funds money) is already adequately taken care of by the provisions made in the Registration Act and Trust Act applicable to the fund. The real question is why the public disclosure and why not the public disclosure. Proper utilisation of the fund money sourced from proper persons can be seen to be more than fulfilled in the present case by registration of fund as charitable trust and appointment of a chartered accountant who would be bound to balance and audit accounts of the funds in accordance with the provisions in the Trust Act, the bench further said, adding, In the Trust Act, there is already provided an effective mechanism for achieving the purpose for which the public disclosure (about receipts of and disbursement from the fund money), has been sought. Any person having interest in the trust is free to resort to that mechanism for redressal of his grievance.

The petitioner contends that as three trustees haven’t been nominated, the present board is incomplete and as such it is incapable of taking any decision. So, the decision to appoint the CA firm is without the wisdom of the board. The power of the honourable Chairperson of the fund to nominate three eminent persons as trustees is enabling in nature, not mandating him to nominate them always and at all times. That being so, no writ can lie to compel the authority to exercise the discretion and that too the way it is desired by a party. Decision of the board of trustees to appoint M/s SARC Associates as CA is taken in its wisdom and knowledge and upon application of mind and therefore can’t be assailed, the bench further added. 


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Nagpur News

RMBRCN celebrates Charter Presentation & Installation, Rina Sinha becomes Charter President

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The Rotary Means Business chapter of Rotary Club Of Nagpur (RMBRCN) celebrated their Charter Presentation and Installation of Board on September 17, 2023 in a crisp official ceremony at Hotel Centre Point, Nagpur.

Rotary Means Business encourages Rotarians to support the success of their fellow Rotarians by doing business with them and by referring others to them.

Charter President Past President Rtn Rina Sinha presided over the ceremony. Renowned entrepreneur and Rotarian Aspi Bapuna, Chairman of Bapuna Group, was the Chief Guest and  Rtn Namita Sharma, President of RCN, was the Guest of Honour.

The Board of Directors of RMBRCN include Rtn Navneet Jain, Vice President, Rtn Mohammed Master, Honorary Secretary, Rtn Sanjay Aggarwal Treasurer, Rtn Rakhi Bhatia Director Chapter Service, Rtn Rahul Shrivastava, Director Vocational Service, Dr Ruchi Choudhry, Director Membership Development, Ranjana Duseja, Director Attendance.

Past Rotary District Governor (PDG) Shabbir Shakir, Past Presidents- Bharat Goenka , Khushnoor Chugh, Sanjiv Chugh, Akhtar Parvez, Tejinder Singh Rawal, Alok Goenka,  Jerestine Watchmaker, Sandeep Dhodapkar, Sanjay Arora, President RMB Nagpur, and Behram Patel and Amitabh Sinha were present.

President Rina Sinha informed that within a short period of its formation already 48 members representing various businesses  have joined the chapter and the numbers are increasing . The Chapter has already crossed 5 crores of business amongst their members and RMB will further strengthen Rotary in membership growth and retention .

Chief Guest Rtn Aspi Bapuna lauded the chapter’s success and reiterated that its comfortable and safe to do business among fellow rotarians as all follow the Four Way Test of Rotary. Jerestine introduced President Rina. Aspi Bapuna  presented the charter and installed President Rina Sinha . Rtn Namita congratulated the RMB chapter and informed that this is the new initiative at RCN.The Board was installed by Rina Sinha and all members were installed by the Past Presidents. An exclusive digital Monthly Magazine ‘Growth Engine’ was launched by Editor Niharika Chugh Vali.

 Navneet Jain and Rahul Choudhry conducted the referral and thank you session where enthusiastic members informed about their successful business details. Nishchay Sinha launched the social media and MYRMB app which connects members to other chapters digitally, Treasurer Sanjay Agarwal gave treasurers report, Rtn Rakhi Bhatia managed the event. Rtn Parag Datey and Niharika were the Masters of Ceremony (MOCs). Secretary Mohammed Master proposed the formal Vote of Thanks .

Also read: Jayaswal Neco group celebrate BL Shaw’s 90th Birthday, 50th Founder’s Day in a huge gala event in Nagpur

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Nagpur News

Nitin Gadkari inaugurates double-decker electric bus availed for senior citizens in Nagpur

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Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, on Saturday, inaugurated the double-decker electric bus designed for senior citizens in Nagpur. The initiative has been undertaken in association with Ashok Leyland’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Committee and Jyeshtha Nagarik Pratishthan.

Executive President of Jyeshtha Nagarik Pratishthan Datta Meghe, Vice Chairman of Ashok Leyland Limited Yash Sachar, CEO of Switch Mobility Mahesh Babu, and other dignitaries were present during the inauguration.

“I am very thankful to Ashok Leyland’s electric vehicle arm ‘Switch Mobility’ for donating an electric bus for our senior citizens. The bus can hold a capacity of 65 people and will benefit a lot to disabled and senior citizens,” Gadkari said.

“We already have a green Electra bus available to us for the past five to six years. Krishna Reddy has taken the responsibility of repairing and providing air-conditioning to the bus, moreover, he is providing us with one additional bus. A Tata Motor bus will be arriving this month as well, giving us a total of four buses to operate. This will solve the issue of waiting list due to the lack of buses for senior citizens in the city.” he added.

With the help of these buses, senior citizens can avail the benefit of free trips to religious places like Ambhora, Adasa, Shegaon, Mahur, Dhapewada, and Kalamb.

Also read: NMC confiscates 117 PoP idols, collects Rs 10,000 fine from seller

 

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Nagpur News

Nagpur: Married man accused of girlfriend’s rape commits suicide on Facebook live

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A 38-year-old married man named Manish alias Raj Yadav, on Sunday, committed suicide during a Facebook live-stream after allegedly being accused of rape by his girlfriend and her family in Nagpur.

During the live stream, Manish, who was married and a father to three children, stated that his 19-year-old girlfriend, Kajal, along with her family members demanded a sum of five lakh rupees and threatened to press charges of rape if he failed to do so.

On September 6, the situation became grave as the woman’s family accused him of eloping after Kajal went missing from her residence.

The deceased refused the claims of having any sexual relationship with the woman and identified her, her family, and a photo studio operator responsible for his condition. He, then, jumped into the river.

After the live video surfaced online, Kalamna Police launched a search operation and recovered the deceased’s body from the river. Four people have been detained in the case for questioning. Further investigation is underway.

Also read: NMC confiscates 117 PoP idols, collects Rs 10,000 fine from seller

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