The Supreme Court (SC) order directing the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) and the Parsi priests – banned for performing ‘non-religious rituals’ -- to settle their dispute through out-of-court mediation has been welcomed by both the parties.
Last month, the Bombay high court had issued a verdict in favour of the priests Framroze Mirza and Khushroo Madon, banned by the punchayet from the Tower of Silence and fire temples for allegedly performing ‘non-religious rituals’ such as inter-faith marriages and burial and cremation ceremonies. Consequently, the BPP had appealed to the SC.
On Monday, the SC not only appointed Chennai advocate Shriram Panchoo as the mediator for the case, but also stated that the community’s high priests would not participate in the mediation.
“If we can work out peace in the community amicably, then that would be ideal,” said BPP chairman Dinshaw Mehta, who, however, added that the views of the high priests should have been considered. “They are like the Pope of our religion, and the Tower of Silence and our fire temples are religious institutions at the end of the day.”
The reformist petitioners, however, are glad that the Special Leave Petition filed by the high priests will be considered by the SC only if the mediation is not successfully concluded by July 19, the appointed date of the next hearing.
“This is a very positive development, as we would certainly like to settle the matter outside court,” said Homi Khusrokhan, one of the petitioners on behalf of the banned priests.