[NGO Operation Asha] Delhi High Court grants leave for suit alleging underlying corruption in foreign funds meant for Tuberculosis Treatment in India

Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court: An application was filed under section 92 read with section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 (CPC) by Dr. Shelly Batra, co-founder of Operation ASHA (society) (defendant 1) and was the President of the Board of Management of the society seeking leave to institute the present suit in relation to alleged breach by the defendants of an express or constructive trust in relation to the management and affairs of Operation ASHA along with directions for proper administration of the trust and for other reliefs contemplated under section 92 CPC. Anup Jairam Bhambhani, J., held that all elements and ingredients of section 92 CPC are satisfied and therefore, the plaintiffs are entitled to grant of leave to institute the present suit under section 92 CPC.

The case at hand involves a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, which was established with the primary objectives of providing health services, particularly focusing on underprivileged sections of society, and specifically addressing tuberculosis. The society’s operations were managed by an Executive Committee entrusted with raising funds through various means for the fulfillment of its objectives. Over time, concerns arose regarding the financial affairs and administration of the society. Allegations surfaced regarding mismanagement, improper utilization of funds, and the lack of appropriate representation in society’s governing body. The plaintiffs, who were intimately associated with the society, took issue with these alleged discrepancies and sought to address them through legal recourse.

Counsel for the plaintiffs, co-founders and long-time members of the society, brought forward their grievances through a suit under Section 92 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC). Their submissions primarily focused on the following points:

  • The societal objectives were not being met effectively due to mismanagement.

  • There was a lack of proper representation in the Executive Committee.

  • Funds were allegedly misappropriated or not utilized in accordance with society’s objectives.

The Court meticulously analyzed submissions made by both parties, considering the legal framework provided by Section 92 CPC and relevant judicial precedents. It delved into the nature of trusts, distinguishing between express and constructive trusts, and assessed whether the society in question qualified as a charitable trust under the provisions of Section 92.

The Court observed that the Society’s objectives are aligned with charitable purposes, particularly in providing healthcare to underprivileged sections of society. The plaintiffs’ allegations regarding mismanagement and improper utilization of funds were substantiated by audit reports and other evidence. The Court emphasized that the dominant purpose of the suit, as inferred from the allegations in the plaint, determined whether leave should be granted under Section 92 CPC.

The Court remarked that the IFAR as well as the multiple audit reports submitted in relation to the administration and financial affairs of the society, including under the chairmanship of Justice Easwar, clearly disclose that the manner in which the affairs of the society are being run, requires closer consideration and scrutiny.

Thus, the Court held that the Society in question qualified as a charitable trust under Section 92 CPC. The allegations of mismanagement and financial irregularities warranted judicial intervention. The plaintiffs were granted leave to institute the suit under Section 92 CPC, allowing for further examination of the claims and evidence presented.

[Dr. Shelly Batra v. Operation Asha, 2024 SCC OnLine Del 3166, decided on 03-05-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Jai Anant Dehadrai, Mr. Martin G. George, Mr. Md. Tasnimul Hassan and Mr. Siddharth Sharma, Advocates for plaintiff

Ms. Pinky Anand, Senior Advocate with Mr. Ankur Mahindro, Mr. Rohan Taneja and Mr. Asjad Hussain, Advocates for D-1. Mr. Dushyant Manocha, Ms. Anannya Ghosh and Mr. Brian Henry Moses, Advocates for D-9.

Must Watch

maintenance to second wife

bail in false pretext of marriage

right to procreate of convict

Criminology, Penology and Victimology book release

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.