Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON Bangalore to go on appeal

Battles may be lost but war for Srila Prabhupada will be won Bangalore, 23 May 2011. The divisional bench of the High Court of Karnataka gave its verdict on the appeal filed by ISKCON Mumbai. Honorable Justice H M Nagamohan Das and Honorable Justice Arali Nagaraj today gave their verdict on appeal filed by ISKCON Mumbai and set aside the Civil court’s judgement.
However, ISKCON Bangalore will pursue its case within the legal framework and will appeal against this decision in the Supreme Court. We have full faith in the judiciary of our country and are confident that we will be able to present the case in our favor.
It may be recalled that the City Trial court of Bangalore had given a judgment on April 17, 2009 stating that ISKCON Bangalore is the absolute owner of Sri Radha Krishna temple on Hare Krishna Hill. The Honorable Civil Court judge had also declared that ISKCON Bangalore is an independent legal entity and further restrained ISKCON Mumbai, their agents or representatives from interfering in the affairs of ISKCON, Bangalore by granting a permanent injunction.
Annexure 1(1)

Annexure 1(2)
Unfortunately, the Honorable High Court today set aside this 350 page judgement and gave its verdict overruling the earlier order.
The genesis of this dispute between ISKCON Mumbai and ISKCON Bangalore is related to the spiritual succession of the movement founded by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada had taught from the Vedic literatures that an Acharya plays a prime role in the development of Krishna bhakti in the heart of a disciple. In order to play that role of an Acharya, one must have extraordinary spiritual qualifications and purity.
Just months before his physical departure from this world Srila Prabhupada instituted a rtvik system of initiation thro' a written directive sent to all its GBC's and Presidents on July 9th 1977.
Annexure 2(1)

Annexure 2(2)

He made it clear in this written directive that he remained the diksa guru or the acharya of ISKCON and that his disciples acting as his representatives or rtviks would initiate new disciples as disciples of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. ISKCON Mumbai which is predominantly controlled by foreigners who are themselves voted in unauthorized gurus has disregarded this particular instruction and has manufactured its own system of succession. ISKCON Bangalore on the other hand tries to follow this and many other directives of the founder and acharya of ISKCON Srila Prabhupada strictly.
The ISKCON Bangalore society was registered by one of the pre-1977 disciples of Srila Prabhupada named Shankabrit Dasa in the year 1978 as per the Karnataka Societies registration act 1960. Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa later on in 1984 took over from Shanka Brit Dasa as the President of ISKCON Bangalore and under his leadership the temple complex on Hare Krishna Hill was built and inaugurated in 1997. In 2001 some of the fanatic disciples of ISKCON Mumbai physically stormed the temple of ISKCON Calcutta. Sri Adhridharan Dasa the President of ISKCON Kolkata was ousted from his services as he was a strong proponent of the rtvik system of initiations.


Knowing that the fanatic followers of the unauthorized gurus will try to similarly storm the temple and harass the devotees and disturb the various initiatives of ISKCON Bangalore, we discussed with legal experts and concluded that legal recourse was unavoidable and only solution for protecting the legacy of Srila Prabhupada and his movement from these gurus and there fanatic followers.
ISKCON Bangalore (registered in 1978) approached the courts to restrain ISKCON Mumbai from interfering in the affairs of ISKCON Bangalore. The then Honorable Judge of the High Court Justice A M Farooq gave his verdict on the interim application and passed interim order restraining ISKCON Mumbai(registered in 1971) from interfering with the affairs of ISKCON Bangalore on April 20th 2002. In his order he said “ There shall be an order of temporary injunction as prayed for by the plaintiff(ISKCON Bangalore)the respondent defendants (ISKCON Mumbai)… are hereby restrained from interfering with the plaintiff’s peaceful possession of the suit properties…”

ISKCON Mumbai went on appeal against this interim order to the Supreme Court, which gave its verdict that it will not interfere with the High Court’s order and that it will maintain the interim order. Honorable Justices VN Khare and Ashok Bhan said in the verdict “In view of the fact that the interim injunction has been passed pending hearing of the suit we are not inclined to interfere in the matter.”



The City Civil court later heard the main civil suit on a day to day to hearing and perused close to 700 documents submitted by both parties and gave it final verdict on April 17, 2009 stating that ISKCON Bangalore is the absolute owner of Sri Radha Krishna temple on Hare Krishna hill. The Honorable Civil Court judge also had opined that ISKCON Bangalore is an independent legal entity. The civil court had further restrained ISKCON Mumbai or their agents or representatives from interfering in the affairs of ISKCON, Bangalore by granting a permanent injunction.
(Annexure 1(1) – copy of the order, Annexure 1(2)– copy of the order ).
Today the divisional bench of the High court, presided by Honorable Justice Nagamohan Das and Justice Arali Nagaraj, after hearing the various arguments about the city civil courts’ orders by both sides gave its final verdict and set aside the civil court’s order April 17th 2009.
For ISKCON Bangalore, this is not a fight for properties but a sincere effort to re-establish Srila Prabhupada as the sole acharya or diksha guru of ISKCON. We are confident that truth will prevail and by the mercy of Sri Radha Krishna-chandra, our services to Their Lordships will continue unhindered.

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