CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has lamented the ill-treatment by the other trustees of P T Lee Chengalvaraya Trust to Justice AK Rajan, who was appointed chairman of the trust. Justice Rajan resigned from the post on January 12, 2016, unable to bear the humiliation any longer.
When a division Bench of Justices S Tamilvanan and G Chockalingam contacted him with a request to continue till the tenure was over, Justice Rajan had categorically stated that he did not wish to continue in the post any more. “I want to maintain my self-respect,” the judge had added.
“We feel sorry to hear that,” the Bench observed. “We are of the view that there should be no harassment or ill treatment to any chairman, being a respectable former judge appointed by this Court. It is also brought to our notice that the former chairman, Justice P Thangavel of the Vanniyar community was also not happy with the treatment by some of the Board of Trustees. Hence, we are of the view that the alleged ill-treatment should not be meted out to the chairman, merely because he happened to be from a non-Vanniyar community. It is an admitted fact that only a respectable former judge of this court alone is appointed as Trustee-cum-Chairman and accordingly, Justices Rajan, Thangavel, M Thanickachalam and A Thangamani and other judges had been appointed as the Trustee-cum-Chairman earlier,” the Bench said.
It also appointed the Administrator General and Official Trustee (AG & OT) of Tamil Nadu to administer temporarily the Board of PT Lee Chengalvaraya Trust, after the resignation by Justice Rajan.
The AG & OT shall take over the administration and take immediate steps to pay the salary to the staff and employees, including teachers, and attend to the day-to-day administration of the trust. He shall also verify the assets and liabilities and statements including cash on hand and cash in banks and also income and the expenditure account.
The Bench was passing interim orders on a civil miscellaneous petition from the trust praying for the appointment of a chairman to the trust after the resignation by Justice Rajan. The Bench also directed the AG & OT to take appropriate steps in advance, giving 21 days notice to the public, to place advertisements in two popular Tamil and English dailies, stating the required qualification for the appointment of fresh trustees, as per the guidelines of this court given pursuant to the scheme decree. The applications must be placed before this court.
The Bench noted that the term was not over for the existing trustees. Hence, without going into the allegations raised by the staff association, the Bench made it clear that the earlier trustees were also eligible to be considered by the High Court for appointment as trustees based on merit.
The AG & OT should scrutinise all the applications and place the same with a detailed report before this Bench for appointment.