Mangaluru, Feb 20, 2018: The St.Antony Ashram in Jeppu Mangaluru, has won a major civil case when a local court ordered a three-star hotel to surrender the building and land within a month.
In the landmark judgment on February 15, Pushpalatha, the third additional senior civil judge of Mangaluru civil court, also directed the hotel owners to pay compensation and interest to St Antony Charity Institutes for continuing to occupy the property even after the expiry of the lease period.
St Antony Charity Institutes manages an ashram for the poor, downtrodden, destitute and orphans. It provides free food, shelter, clothing and medicines for the ashram residents.
It had on September 23, 1961, leased out 1 acre and 70.5 cents of land for a period of 50 years on an annual rent of 852 rupees with a condition that the lessee is entitled to put up structures but liable to surrender the property together with buildings or other improvements after 50 years.
It also contained a clause that “lease can be renewed for a further period as may be agreed between the St Antony Charity Institutes and the tenant, in case tenant is agreeable to pay fair and reasonable rent.”
Immediately after the lease expired, on October 10, 2011, St Antony Charity Institutes filed the suit for possession. The tenant had filed another suit for the lease renewal for another 50 years promising to pay “reasonable rent” of 50,000 rupees a year.
After the oral and documentary evidences from both the parties, the matter was decided in favour of St Antony Charity Institutes. The court upheld the case of St Antony Charity Institute and dismissed the tenant’s suit.
The disputed property is in downtown Mangaluru, just 2 km from the Mangalore Railway Station. The Moti Mahal Hotel has 90 rooms with multiple Food and Beverage outlets.
Judge Pushpalatha directed the tenant to surrender vacant possession of the property along with the building within 30 days and also directed to pay compensation.
The judgment is set to give a new direction to the Church in India that owns prime properties in most cities in the country. Many have leased out part of their properties to business establishments.
Brief history of St. Antony’s in Mangaluru :
The ’Ashram’ or ’St Anthony’s Charity Institutes’ had a simple start on June 12, 1898. At the Milaagres church (set up in 1680) on June 13, 1898, the feast day, a start was made and the devotion of the people became legendary. Devoted people brought offerings, what was realized from these offerings was distributed among the poor .
In 1911, Rt Rev. Dr Paul Perini S.J. then Bishop of Mangalore, with rare vision and unusual faith in Providence the work became a separate entity, out of the Milagres Parish directly responsible to the Bishop. The “Poor Homes” to shelter the challenged, destitute, orphans and the aged who did not have any one to take care of them materialised with Fr Colaco leasing a plot across the road. He laboured hard for of 31 years honoured with the status of ’Msgr’; before he could retire he passed away on July 20, 1929, his mortal remains are interred in front of the Shrine Altar.
The number of inmates kept shooting up, a bungalow and the surrounding land of 27.36 acres at Jeppu, was acquired in an auction by Rt Rev. Dr Victor R. Fernandes, Bishop of Mangalore. Rev. Charles Lobo’s extraordinary efforts and the Almighty’s plan enabled Rev. Julian Rego, on October 15, 1936 to complete the work of shifting the inmates from Milagres to the new homes at Jeppu, the present site. The diocese of Mangalore will always prize this Ashram as most dear, urging it to strive even more to serve the suffering needy. In the modern era from Year 2000, Fr. Clifford D’Souza; then, late Msgr Fred V. Pereira were Directors; due to age and ill health retirement resulted. For some time now Rev.Onil D’souza has been the Director with Rev Francis D’souza as administrator.
In May 2008, Msgr Denis Moras Prabhu took charge of the Institutes in addition to his position as Vicar General of the diocese, for a while.The present Director Fr.Onil D’Souza along with the the long time Administrator Fr. Francis D’Souza, assistants, staff, volunteers are now doing admirable work. Many generous souls in past decades have contributed and are remembered always. Caring for helpless, gravely ill and physically challenged numbering around 400 day to day, is a task that is possible to human limitations only with the direct grace of goodness, St. Anthony is seen as a positive tool of the powetr of the Almighty.
St. ANTHONY OF PADUA, 1195-1231 A.D.: St.Anthony of Padua, also venerated as Saint Anthony of Lisbon, was born in Lisbon, Portugal, which was then a part of Spain, in 1195 A.D.His life is a legend that can be read in many ways, his extraordinary love for Christ and the poor transformed him to serve all mankind. On June 13,1231, the beloved preacher became ill he died at the young age of 36. His body was buried in a chapel, which is now enclosed by the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua. In 1263, when his remains were transferred to the Basilica, his tongue was found to be still fresh and red in color. Saint Anthony was declared a saint 352 days after his death, by the same Pope Gregory he had met in life. St. Anthony of Padua is one of the most famous disciples of St. Francis of Assisi. He was a famous preacher and worker of miracles in his day, and throughout the eight centuries since his death, he has become known throughout the world as a wonderful support for suffering people.