Indian Court Holds Radha Damodar Rent in Escrow
Posted July 7, 2011
In response to Sri Nirmal Chandra Goswami's complaint ("ISKCON vs. Radha Damodar Mandir"), although I have not been involved with the Krsna Balarama Mandir management for the past couple of years, my understanding is as follows:
ISKCON is the tenant which is occupying the two rooms where Srila Prabhupada was residing at Sri Radha Damodar Mandir. ISKCON has installed Srila Prabhupada's murti and is continuing the daily seva for one month, and then Radha Damodar performs the seva daily for one month. Devotees are allowed to visit anytime that the mandir is open.
The compromise offer from Radha Damodar is that ISKCON pay a monthly amount which is 20 times the amount that we were giving just a few years back. In our understanding, Malai Goswami from Jaipur claims that he is the rightful owner of the building at Radha Damodar where Srila Prabhupada's rooms are. According to Malai Goswami, the courts decided that he was the rightful owner, and this was documented in 1992.
Several years back when the renovation of the rooms began and Radha Damodar management locked out ISKCON from the rooms, ISKCON stopped paying the rent. ISKCON then tried to send the rent again, but to my understanding Nirmal Chand Goswami would not accept it, so ISKCON paid it to the court instead, along with all due back rent. The rent money is there in court escrow, and ISKCON is waiting to see the outcome of the case in which Malai Goswami is claiming that he is the rightful owner.
Although ISKCON did agree that we want to settle this case, the amount that is being demanded — not only rent, but a large amount to settle the relationship — is a big concern for ISKCON because we are not receiving legally indisputable rights of tenancy without future disturbance and conflict. ISKCON is ready to pay a reasonable rent and even to give some security deposit, but now there is a legal case between the rightful owner Malai Goswami and Nirmal Chand Goswami. Until there is a clear court settlement as to who is the owner, we will continue to pay the rent to the courts while being ready to settle out of court if we can come to mutual agreement.
I look forward to a quick and fair settlement in this matter. Again, ISKCON has never claimed to "own" the rooms; we only want to have legal protection so that there is no further interruption in our worship and in our maintenance of the rooms.
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