The Bombay High Court has refused to allow an expenditure of Rs. 14.94 lakhs incurred by Saibaba Sansthan Trust in Shirdi towards printing invitation cards and posting them to patrons for the Dussehra function.
The order was passed last week by justices A B Chaudhari and Indira K Jain of the Aurangabad bench of the High Court who heard an application filed by the Saibaba Sansthan Trust through its executive officer.
As the committee, which runs the trust, has been appointed by the HC, the Saibaba Sansthan has to obtain permission for all the major expenses incurred by it.
Sanjay Choukidar, the trust’s counsel, submitted that the invitees are residing in interior parts of the villages and towns and therefore there is a system to send invitation cards by post as they are the patron members of the trust.
Besides, some patrons are residing abroad and they too are required to be invited through invitation cards.
However, the bench noted that the expenditure of printing invitation cards and posting them to patrons was not required in these days of technological advancement, namely SMS, MMS, Internet, publication, television, etc.
“There is no point in spending huge amount as aforesaid (Rs 14.94 lakhs) towards item no 5 and 6 (printing of invitation cards and postage expenses) as given in the expenditure list by the Sansthan. Certainly, the said amount can be saved,” said the Judges in their order last week.
The court further noted, “The counsel of the trust also fairly states that the trust would adopt other ways of inviting the devotees rather than spending huge amount over these two items. We make it clear that in future also if such an application is made, expenditure thereon shall not be claimed on these two items,” the bench further said.
The judges, however, observed that they had perused the details of other expenditure and in their opinion the same should be allowed in view of the function at the Sansthan.
“We, therefore, allow the prayer for making expenditure as per item nos. 1 to 10 except item nos. 5 and 6.
Consequently, the total amount to be spent shall be reduced by Rs 14.96 lakhs,” the judges said in the order.
Meanwhile, RTI activist Sanjay Kane has written a letter to Saibaba Sansthan chairman stating the expenses disallowed by the HC should be recovered from the officers of the trust who were responsible for the same.