Monday, March 28, 2011

Gujarat Public Trusts Bill, 2011

Govt passes Bill to form trusts tribunal ,It Will Hear Cases Against Charity Commissioner
Gandhinagar:In a move of farreaching significance for nongovernment organisations (NGOs), Gujarat state assembly passed a Bill authorising the state government to constitute Gujarat Public Trusts Tribunals with powers to hear appeals against the charity commissioner, the joint charity commissioner or the assistant charity commissioner.

Called the Gujarat Public Trusts Bill, 2011, it replaces the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950. While other parts of the Bill remain the same, the proposed tribunal (or tribunals, as decided by a government notification later), will be headed by a person who is qualified to be district judge. It will also have other members as senior civil judges, whose number will be decided by a government notification.

The Bill, passed in the House on Monday, says, that the tribunal will have the same powers as are vested in the civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, when trying a suit, in respect of “enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath; compelling the production of documents and material objects; and issuing commissioners for the examination of witnesses.”

The Bill says, “Every inquiry or investigation by the tribunal shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of the sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code.” It adds, “The decision of the tribunal shall be final and no suit shall lie in any civil court in respect of the matters decided by it.” All NGOs are registered with the charity commissioner, who today is empowered to hear all cases.

The state government has decided to sanction Rs 9.23 crore in order to set up the new tribunal. Senior state minister Dilip Sanghani, who introduced the Bill in the House, said that the amount will be made available from the budget immediately but will be duly reimbursed during the year from the Public Trusts Administration Fund.

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