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By Maharashtra Bureau

MUMBAI

The Bombay High Court ruled out the judgment that trusts cannot make their own rule and sell valuable property to members of any specific communities. Justice R D Dahanuka dismissed a petition filed by the Shree Gujarati Mochi Gnyati Navnat Trust to sell the prime property in Walkeshwar for re-development to members of its own community. The judge said that the competitive bids open to all would ensure that the trust cannot be allowed to be sold only to members of a particular community. He said, that the trusts have to receive the best available price according to the market value of the property.

In my view, use of the properties of the trust for the benefit of the members of a particular community has nothing to do with the sale of the property to an outsider at the best price.

The court said that if it were to approve a change in the trust rules to allow the sale of the property to members of the community, it would give blanket authority to the trustees to sell the properties of the trust to a member of their own community.

The Gujarati Trust which was set up in the 1930s has ample properties available over 606 sq metres on Walkeshwar Road, Malabar Hill with a member of 1 lakh. Trust generally sells their properties within the community or any other community if there is no buyer only then it sells to the outsider.

Though the members appeal to the court for changes, the court said, they did not have the permission from the charity commissioner for applying for changes in rules.