Temple dispute ruling

2008-09-04 00:00

The president of the Shri Vishnu Temple in Pietermaritzburg, Dayal Harry Persad Nagasar, who was expelled in August 2007, is to be reinstated after the high court in the capital ruled in his favour yesterday.

No opposition papers were filed on behalf of the temple’s executive when the case came before court for argument yesterday.

Judge Ron McLaren refused an application for the further postponement of the dispute and ruled in Nagasar’s favour.

Nagasar applied to the high court in July this year to review and set aside the decision taken by the temple and its executive in August 2007 to expel him as a member and president.

In his court papers, Nagasar also disputed the findings of an auditor’s report requiring him to explain “certain missing monies”.

Cited as respondents were the joint secretaries of Shri Vishnu Temple, Vikesh Maharaj, S. Harridave and newly elected president B.N. Maharaj.

Nagasar challenged his expulsion on several grounds.

These were that the executive meeting and the executive who expelled him were not correctly called nor constituted correctly and that the meeting was allegedly not minuted correctly.

He also maintained he was not given an opportunity to present his “side of the story”, was never charged with any offence and his alleged misconduct was never made known to him.

Nagasar submitted that in the circumstances the requirements of “natural justice” and fairness were not applied.

He further alleged that he was expelled due to a “one-sided” report by the auditors without being given a fair hearing.

He said further that he had obtained an independent analysis of the auditor’s report, the basis for his expulsion, and said his own accountant had questioned the findings of that report and set out the shortcomings in the auditor’s report.

The leadership dispute in the temple first made the news last October when trustees Haripal Maikoo and council member Chan Bridgemohan applied to set aside the election of new office-bearers.

They claimed that proceedings at a special general meeting called in September had been irregular and invalid.

In replying papers, then interim president Bhairo Maharaj alleged that Nagasar had been expelled from his position due to overwhelming evidence of “discrepancies in the manner in which the financial affairs of the temple was being conducted” and said criminal charges had been laid with the SAPS.

He alleged the court case had come about through the efforts of Nagasar’s allies, who wanted to have him reinstated as president of the temple. This was denied.

The case was later settled out of court and in April new office-bearers — including new president B.N. Maharaj — were elected.

In July, Nagasar applied to the high court to review and set aside his expulsion.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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