High Court of Karnataka Refuses to Expunge “Fraud” Decision Against Bangalore Leader Madhu Pandit Das
The Division Bench of the High Court of Karnataka passed an order dismissing applications filed by Madhu Pandit Das and his family members praying that the HC expunge remarks of Fraud made against them in the Judgment dated 23 May, 2011 passed in RFA 421 of 2009.
In doing so, the High Court affirmed that its earlier decision, wherein the High Court had determined that Madhu Pandit Das has committed “fraud” in trying to usurp the temple of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) into the control of his self and his family.
“Society being non living person cannot act on its own and therefore Madhu Pandit Das cannot escape responsibility for his actions by hiding behind the mask of the Defunct Society” said Sri D. R. Ravishankar, the advocate of ISKCON registered at Mumbai.
“The High Court has rightly held that the remarks about Madhu Pandit Das are essential as without considering fraudulent actions of Madhu Pandit Das proper justice could not have been done.” added advocate Ravishanakar.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupada, the founder of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), established ISKCON in India as a Society registered at Mumbai. Under the leadership of Srila Prabhupada the ISKCON registered at Mumbai established many temples in India and one such a temple was established at Bangalore in 1977. In July 1984, Madhu Pandit Das was appointed as the president of the Bangalore Temple of the ISKCON registered at Mumbai.
In 2001, Madhu Pandit Das, operating outside the specific order and leadership system of ISKCON registered in Mumbai, tried to usurp the Bangalore Temple of ISKCON by fraudulently reviving a defunct entity having exactly the same name as the ISKCON Society registered at Mumbai. He inserted names of himself and his family members as trustees of this defunct society. He fabricated documents, manipulated accounts and falsely and fraudulently claimed the control of the defunct Society and through that Defunct Society he falsely and fraudulently claimed the ownership of the Bangalore Temple of ISKCON registered at Mumbai.
The above can be ascertained by an excerpt from Judgment given in the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore in RFA 421/2009. On page 77, Para no. 70, it is held that,
“Further, Madhupandit Das, his wife Bhakti Lata Devi Dasi, his co-brother Chanchalapati Das, his wife’s sister Chamari Devi Dasi and other close associates cooked up reports specifying the names of these persons as elected office bearers of plaintiff society and filed the same in the office of Registrar of Societies for the first time on 21.08.2001 for the entire period of 12 years from 1989 to 2001. As already stated these reports are cooked up for the purpose of giving life to the defunct plaintiff society.”
On May 23, 2011, the Karnataka High Court ruled that the ISKCON Temple Complex situated at Hare Krishna Hills, Rajajin Nagar Banglaore belongs to ISKCON registered in Mumbai and Madhu Pandit Das was managing that Temple as the Temple President on behalf of the ISKCON Society registered at Mumbai.
They also determined that Madhu Pandit Das, by manipulation of Accounts and Govt. records, fabrication of antedated documents etc. tried to usurp the Bangalore Temple from ISKCON Registered at Mumbai. For example, In Para 67 the High Court Judgment states “Under these circumstances, Madhupandit Das and his associates conspired to claim right of ownership not only over the income, but over the idol, the deity of the temple and the entire assets of the temple.”
Aggrieved by the order, Madhu Pandit Das, in the name of the Defunct Society, moved the apex court by way of a Special Leave Petition (SLP).
Madhu Pandit Das, in his personal capacity also filed a separate SLP praying that the Supreme Court to expunge such remarks made against him in the above Judgment. On 2nd Sept. 2011 the Supreme Court dismissed this SLP but at the instance of Madhu Pandit Das’s lawyer gave him the liberty to approach the High Court of Karnataka with a prayer to expunge such remarks from the Judgment.
On 31 August 2012, the Division Bench of the High Court of Karnataka passed order dismissing Applications (4) filed by Madhu Pandit Das , his wife Bhakti Lata Devi Dasi, his wife’s sister Chameri Devi Dasi and his brother in law Chanchalapati Das. Madhu Pandit Das and his 3 family members had filed 4 separate IA (Interlocutory Application) praying that High Court expunge remarks made against them in the Judgment dt. 23 may, 2011 passed in RFA 421 of 2009.
The matter was heard at length in July 2012 and was reserved for Orders. On 31 August 2012, the Division Bench of the High Court of Karnataka comprising of Justice Nagmohan Das and Justice Bopanna dismissed all the four Applications.
The High Court has confirmed that the important issue in this matter is the conduct of Madhu Pandit Das who has acted in breach of trust. Presently, the original SPL filed by Madhu Pandit Das in the name of the Defunct Society against the order of the High Court of Karnataka is pending in the Supreme Court. The matter is scheduled to come up for hearing in the near future.
Members of ISKCON registered at Mumbai welcomed the judgment passed by High Court of Karnataka.