Plea seeks removal of Nusli Wadia as administrator of Malad property.
In an appeal filed by the Ferani Hotels Private Limited (FHPL), a company controlled by the Gopal Raheja Group, seeking the removal of industrialist Nusli Wadia as the sole administrator of an over 600-acre property in Malad, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday said it may appoint a commissioner to record the evidence of Raheja to determine whether or not he was aware of 15 documents supporting his case prior to filing the appeal.
FHPL had filed a plea seeking the revocation and annulment of an order of November 2003, permitting Wadia to continue as the administrator of Eduljee Framroze Dinshaw estate in Malad, estimated to be worth Rs 22,000 crore. Upscale malls like Hypercity and Inorbit are located on the property.
Last year, a single judge of the High Court had dismissed the plea, holding that the application seemed to be mala fide and was filed to counter another suit filed by Wadia against Raheja. In June this year, a division bench admitted FHPL’s appeal against the single judge’s order.
At the stage of appeal, Raheja has sought the court’s permission to produce 15 documents to support his case against Wadia.
Wadia’s counsel Navroz Seervai said there is no provision in law that permits FHPL to place documents on record at the stage of appeal. “Ferani has the audacity to say they got to know (about the documents) only in 2010?” Seervai said. He then said that Gopal Raheja should come to the witness box and be willing to be cross-examined if he says he was not aware of the documents earlier. Seervai added that the court, only if it feels necessary, can suo motu ask for documents to be produced at the stage of appeal and FHPL did not have the right to do it otherwise.
Justice D Y Chandrachud said, “We can appoint a commissioner to record Mr Raheja’s evidence.” He said the High Court, which is already saddled with a number of cases, cannot be recording evidence. Evidence is, in most cases, recorded at the stage of trial and not appeal.
Justice Chandrachud added, “It’s too premature for the court to say that some documents need to be produced without substantive hearing of the appeal.”
E F Dinshaw — a Parsi who died in USA in March 1970 — left behind the sprawling estate for his