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CHENNAI, DECEMBER 19, 2019 01:39 ISTUPDATED: DECEMBER 19, 2019 01:39 IST Mohamed Imranullah S. HC orders constitution of 5-member panel to advise board In a significant verdict aimed at “better and desirable” management of the renowned Pachaiyappa’s Trust, the Madras High Court on Wednesday modified its scheme of administration and ruled that henceforth the president of the trust board shall not be elected from among members and instead appointed by the High Court from time to time. Justice R. Suresh Kumar held that only a retired judge of the High Court would be eligible to be appointed as the president. Such a person could hold office for a period of two years and would be eligible for reappointment for one more term. The honorarium, perquisites and other facilities to be provided to the president shall be fixed by the High Court. The judge also ruled that there shall be a five-member advisory committee to aid and advise the trust board. One of the members of the advisory committee should be a former vice-chancellor of any university, the other an officer of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department and the third should be an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary to State government. Further, a designated Senior Counsel to be nominated by the Advocate General and an auditor to be appointed by the president of the Trust Board shall be in the advisory committee. The modification would come into effect immediately, the judge ordered and appointed the incumbent Interim Administrator of the trust board P. Shanmugam as its president. In his 150-page judgement on the issue, the judge traced the historical background of the trust and recorded with awe as to how philanthropist Pachaiyappa Mudaliar, who lived only till the age of 40, was born in a poor family in 1754 but earned huge amount of wealth through trade due to his ability to speak multiple languages including English, Spanish and French. He had bequeathed most of his properties for religious purposes. However, George Norton, a celebrity Advocate General of Madras Presidency during the British era, had in 1841 obtained a decree from the erstwhile Supreme Court of Madras for setting apart funds for educational purposes too and utilised the money to establish colleges and schools. As on date, the trust was running six colleges and six schools. Twenty three other trusts and charities too had entrusted their properties to Pachaiyappa’s Trust for management. The trust operated 44 bank accounts and maintained 19 fixed deposits for a sum of ₹27.92 crore. It also owned 242 buildings and 132 vacant sites. Nevertheless, the monthly income from the properties was just ₹3.49 lakh since the rental was fixed 10 to 15 years ago at rock bottom rental value which was far from market value.