In an embarrassment for Maharashtra government, the Aurangabad bench of Bombay high court on Friday granted interim stay to the appointment of members of the newly-constituted board of Shri Saibaba Sansthan (trust), which governs the famous shrine of Saibaba at Shirdi.
The division bench of justice Bhushan Gawai and justice Sunil Deshmukh asked the government to frame rules for the appointment of chairman and members, and said the stay would continue until the rules are in place.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Shailendra Desai, a resident of Kopargaon in Ahmednagar district.
The high court also constituted a three-member committee to look after the affairs of the trust in the meantime. The committee comprises district collector of Ahmednagar, district judge, and the chief executive officer of the trust.
The state government, on March 27, renominated Jayant Sasane, former Congress MLA from Srirampur, as the chairman and also appointed new trustees.
Petitioner claimed that six of them were from the Congress and nine from NCP, and these persons were appointed to the board only to "rehabilitate" them politically.
Petitioner's lawyers T M Shah and Siddheshwar Thomre said the new board of trustees should be disbanded, because there were no rules for appointment.
While staying the appointments, the high court also asked government lawyer Sunil Kurundkar to file a reply in two weeks.