The Office Of Charity Commissioner Maharashtra State
Maharastra Public Trust Act 1950
Registered Head Office
Hare Krishna Land, Juhu, Mumbai-400049, India
Registered under the Maharashtra Public Trust Act 1950
vide Registration No. F-2179 (Bom)
The original members were:
- Jayapataka Swami
- Tamal Krishna Goswami
- Bhavananda Goswami
- Lokananth Swami
- Giriraja Swami
- Gopal Krishna das Adhikaray
- Yasomatinandan das Adhikary
- Swarupa Damodara dasa Brahmacari
Registered Document (03/05/1988)
1-International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Bangalore (for short hereinafter referred to as ISKCON, Bangalore’), a Society registered under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960 filed a suit against ISKCON Bombay and others, in O.S.No.7924/2001 on the file of the IX Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge, Bangalore, for a declaration that ISKCON, Bangalore is the absolute owner of Item No.1 of A’, B’ &C’ Schedule properties, as an independent legal entity and for a decree of permanent injunction and for other consequential reliefs. After the contest, the suit was decreed in part. Defendants 1 to 4 preferred R.F.A. No.421/2009 before this Court on 20.04.2009 challenging the said judgment and decree. [High Court Of Karnataka vs Sri Jai Chaitanya Dasa – KHC 16 April, 2015 ]
2-The facts of the case, as stated by the plaintiffs, was that in the year 1965, Shri A.C. Bhakthi Vedanta Swami Prabhupada, (Hereinafter referred to as ‘Shri Prabhupada’, for brevity ) had traveled to the United States of America, when he was aged 70, and within a year he is said to have established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) at New York. The object of ISKCON was to spread and propagate the Krishna Consciousness Movement ( Hereinafter referred to as the ‘Movement’, for brevity). Within a few years, the Movement is said to have spread to many countries of the world.
It is stated that Shri Prabhupada established temples in Mumbai initially and later in other cities and towns in India, to initiate the Movement in India. In the year 1971, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, (ISKCON), Mumbai, was said to have been registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and as a Trust under the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950 (Hereinafter referred to as the ‘BPT Act’, for brevity). He is said to have been the first Chairman of the Governing Body Commission.
The first and the second plaintiffs claimed that they were ordained into the religious order by Shri Prabhupada and that he had given them their religious names. They were, as his disciples, missionaries entrusted with the task of spreading the Movement in India.
The first defendant was also said to be an initiate of Shri Prabhupada. It was acknowledged that he was one of the first missionaries to organize activities in furtherance of the Movement, in Bangalore. The first and second plaintiffs claim to have supported him in his endeavours. The activities were said to have been guided by the ISKCON Bureau or the Governing Council, an unregistered body established under the Chairmanship of Shri Prabupada at Mumbai and the Governing Body Commission, an over arching body, also unregistered, said to have been established by Shri Prabhupada, to supervise and manage the Movement, worldwide.
On the demise of Shri Prabhupada, in November 1977, it is said the activities continued in Bangalore. In May 1978, it is claimed, that the first defendant had persuaded the plaintiffs 1 & 2 to establish a Society for Krishna Consciousness at Bangalore. And that he had taken the initiative of preparing the draft Memorandum of Association and the Rules and Regulations to form a Society under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960, and is said to have persuaded one Bhaktha Dasa Brahmachari, one Bharati Devi, the plaintiffs 1 to 3 along with the second defendant himself, to subscribe to the Memorandum of Association as the founders and the same was said to have been registered before the Registrar of Societies in Karnataka. Thus, the Society under the name and style of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, with its registered office at 39, Crescent Road, Bangalore, had been established. The said Society was arraigned as Plaintiff no.6.
The first Managing Committee of the sixth plaintiff is said to have consisted of the following , Plaintiff nos. 1 to 5, Defendant nos. 1 to 10 and 7 others, who were not parties to the suit. The first Defendant was said to be the President and the second plaintiff the Vice-President, the first plaintiff – Secretary and the third defendant, the Treasurer and the remaining were said to be members of the Governing body.
It is stated that in their enthusiasm to establish the sixth plaintiff, they had not obtained prior permission of the ISKCON Bureau and the Governing Body Commission. The third plaintiff claims that he had no reason to believe that anything was amiss, on the assurances of the first defendant who was leading the group.
It is stated that notwithstanding, the registration of the sixth plaintiff, the first defendant continued the activities at Bangalore without involving the sixth plaintiff or its governing body in the same. The group raised funds, enrolled life members and carried on other activities as per the directions of the ISKCON Bureau and was regularly said to be submitting accounts to it. This group, it was claimed became the Bangalore branch of ISKCON – Mumbai. It was stated that for purposes of raising donations, ISKCON – Mumbai had permitted the Bangalore branch to utilize the exemption granted to ISKCON- Mumbai under Section 80 G of the Income Tax Act, 1961 ( Hereinafter referred to as ‘the IT Act’, for brevity). The Bangalore branch is also said to have had its bank accounts and the first defendant was said to have been operating the same as the President, ISKCON, Bangalore. According to the plaintiffs, the said defendant was only acting as the President of the Bangalore branch of ISKCON – Mumbai.
It is claimed that sometime after the registration of the sixth plaintiff, since it was not at all functioning as a body, as no meetings were conducted or any decisions taken, it is said that some leaders of the Movement had advised Plaintiffs 1 & 2 that it was not a good idea in the sixth plaintiff having been established as an independent entity, as such existence would affect a cohesive growth of the Movement. It is claimed that it is only then that the second defendant and plaintiffs 1 and 2 had realized the impropriety in having established the sixth plaintiff. And that this realization had resulted in the sixth plaintiff remaining a Society only on paper. And that it was never allowed to function as an entity. [Shamsundar L Asrani S/O vs Shankha Brita Das KHC 9 April, 2015]