(Prayer: Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, praying for the issuance of a Writ of Certiorari calling for the records relating to the order passed by the 1st respondent in Na.Ka.No.54405/2009/G2 dated 07.12.2009 and quash the same in so far as the petitioner concerned.)
Prayer: Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, praying for the issuance of a Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus, to call for the records pertaining to the proceedings of the 1st respondent dated 07.12.2009 passed in Na.Ka.No.54405/2009/G2 and quash the same as illegal and further directing the 1st respondent to restore the patta Nos.1457, 1458, 1459 and 1460 in the name of the petitioners.
Prayer: Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, praying for the issuance of a Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus calling for the records relating to the proceedings in Na.Ka.No.54405/09/G2 dated 07.12.2009 on the file of the 1st respondent herein and quash the same as illegal and void, consequently directing the 1st respondent to pass orders in the light of the order made in W.P.No.33163 of 2002 dated 13.08.2004, on the file of this Court.)
1. In view of the fact that the issue involved in all the three writ petitions is one and the same, these writ petitions are taken up together and disposed of by a common order.
2. The writ petition in WP(MD)No.1978 of 2010 has been filed challenging the impugned order of the District Revenue Officer, Madurai, first respondent herein dated 07.12.2009 passed in Na.Ka.No.54405/2009/G2 insofar as the petitioner is concerned.
3. The writ petition in WP(MD)No.2472 of 2010 has been filed challenge the impugned order of the District Revenue Officer, Madurai, first respondent herein, dated 07.12.2009 passed in Na.Ka.No.54405/2009/G2 and for a direction to the first respondent to pass orders in the light of order made in W.P.No.33163 of 2002, dated 13.08.2004.
4. The writ petition in WP(MD)No.2554 of 2010 has been filed to challenge the impugned order of the District Revenue Officer, Madurai, first respondent herein, dated 07.12.2009 passed in Na.Ka.No.54405/2009/G2 and for a direction to the first respondent to restore the Patta Nos.1457, 1458, 1459 and 1460 in the name of the petitioners.
5. The brief facts of the case pleaded in WP(MD)No.2554 of 2010 are as follows:
The property comprised in S.Nos.25/3, 25/5, 35/1, 35/2, 35/4, 34/1, 38/5 and 39/2, 39/48, 51/2, 51/4, 63/8, 64/13, 118/6, 118/10 and 118/48 situated at Madurai North Taluk, Vandiyoor bit is belonging to a private trust called Vandiyoor Nacharammal Kattalai. The said trust was founded by Nacharammal @ Vellaiammal, Ammapillai @ Rakkayee Ammal and Seeniammal @ Andathaiammal under a settlement deed dated 23.04.1923 to perform the Mandagappadi to Sri Lord Kallalagar during Chithrai festival and to do poojas. Originally, five trustees was appointed and one senior Muthusamy Pillai and Junior Muthusamy Pillai was appointed as hereditary trustees to perform the Mandagappadi. Thereafter, for the administration and management of said trust, a scheme was framed by Deputy Commissioner (H.R.andC.E.) in O.A.No.111 of 1953 dated 13.11.1953 and the same has been modified by the order of Deputy Commissioner (H.R.andC.E.) vide proceedings dated 04.04.1967 in O.A.No.3 of 1967 whereby, the aforesaid hereditary trustees had been performed the said Mandagappadi. While so, during 1975, by alleging mismanagement, the Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment had appointed Executive Officer took possession of the trust and its properties. During the tenure of Execute Officer, due to mismanagement, the tenants who were in possession of the trust properties had not paid rents and the administration also had not taken any steps. Hence, one of the hereditary trustees M.P.Anandhampillai has filed a Writ Petition in W.P.(MD)No.33163 of 2002 for removal of Executive Officer and for management of trust and for possession of trust properties. The said writ petition was allowed and the Writ Appeals filed by the Secretary to Government, Tamil Development and Culture and the Writ Appeal filed by the Executive Officer of Sri Kallalagar Temple in W.A.No.8 of 2005 and W.A.No.433 of 2004 respectively also dismissed by confirming the order passed in WP(MD)No.33163 of 2002. In due compliance of the order passed in WP(MD)No.33163 of 2002, the Executive Officer of Sri Kallalagar Temple has handed over the charge and management of the trust as well as possession of trust properties and at present, the hereditary trustees viz., Dhatchinamoorthy, Mathavan, Pappa @ Parvathi, Chandran, Logambal @ Pitchaiammal, Muthusamy and M.Thiruppathy and one Veluchamypillai are managing the trust and doing Mandagappadi.
6. Thereafter, due to poor administration of the Katalai by the Executive Officer, the Kattalai has sustained huge loss. The tenants have completely stopped payments of rent to the trust. Though the Trust has landed properties, there is no regular income from the said lands to do the Kattalai in accordance with the trust deed. Hence, the said trustees passed a resolution authorising one Dhatchinamoorthy to sell the properties and to buy income yielding properties so as to enable the trust to perform the obligations as set out in the trust deed dated 23.04.1923. Accordingly, the said trustees executed General Power of Attorney dated 31.08.2007 in favour of one Murugesan by authorizing him to sell the said properties. Further, after ascertaining the fact that the said trust is a private and family trust and charges have been handed over by the H.R.andC.E. Department, the petitioners have purchased the said properties under a registered sale deed dated 18.10.2007 for valuable consideration. Thereafter, based on the said sale deeds, the petitioners have applied for patta in their name and patta also mutated in favour of the petitioners under Patta Nos.1457, 1458, 1459 and 1460 and the petitioners have been in peaceful possession and enjoyment over the said properties. While so, the second respondent has preferred an appeal against the mutation of patta before the Revenue Divisional Officer and the said authority vide proceedings dated 11.06.2009 in Ne.Mu.No.10804/2008/(N), confirmed the order of North Tahsildar, who mutated the patta in the name of the petitioners. Against the said order, the second respondent preferred a revision before the first respondent in Na.Ka.No.54405/2009/G2 and the first respondent vide order dated 07.12.2009, without issuing any notice and giving any opportunity to the petitioners has cancelled the mutation of patta granted in the name of the petitioners. The fist respondent in the impugned order dated 07.12.2009, has framed six issues and by answering the same, cancelled patta issued in the name of the petitioners. Further case of the petitioners is that under Section 13 of Patta Pass Book Act, before passing any order in the revision, the revisional authority has to issue notice to the persons concerned who are likely to be affected by the order and afford a reasonable opportunity to make their representation and only thereafter, the authority has to pass any orders in the revision. But, in the present case, the impugned order was passed without giving any notice or opportunity to the petitioners. That apart, the first respondent, who is a Quasi Judicial authority, is not empowered to decide the title. Challenging the said, the petitioners are before this Court.
7. The first respondent filed a counter affidavit stating that the disputed property involved in the impugned proceedings belongs to Sri Nacharammal Vagaiyarah Specific Endowments, Kattalai Trust, situated at Vandiyoor, Madurai North Taluk, Madurai District founded by one Tmt.Nacharammal alias Vellaiammal, Tmt.Ammapillai, Rakkayee Ammal and Seeniammal alias Andathayammai through Registered Settlement Deed Document No.1922 of 1923, dated 23.04.1923 and who set apart properties for the performance of eternal and perpetual religious charities, kattalais and endowments for attaining of salvation and spritual benefits to their husband when Lord Kallalagar comes to and return from Vandiyoor, Madurai.
8. The founders, testators and executors of the Settlement Deed prohibited alienation of the Kattalai trust properties by any one specifically. Originally, the patta for the said lands endowed by the executors, testators stood in their name in the Revenue Records. It is further stated that from the report of the second respondent, the Kattalai specific endowment is under the supervisory and administrative control of the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, as per the provisions available under the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, XXII of 1959 and a scheme of administration was settled to the above said Kattalai specific endowments by the authorities under the above said Act. Previously, as there was attempt by persons not connected to the Kattalai endowment, claiming as successors to the trustees of the kattalai, on the application made by the Executive Officer/Deputy Commissioner of Arulmigu Kallalagar Temple, Alagarkoil, when he had functioned as the Executive Officer to the above said Kattalai also, patta was transferred in the name of the Deputy Commissioner/Executive Officer of Arulmigu Kallalagar Devasthanam, Alagarkoil, Melur Taluk, Madurai District. Further, the order appointing the Executive Officer to the above said Trust was set aside by order dated 13.08.2004 made in WP(MD)No.33163 of 2002 of this Court and the hereditary trustees shall be allowed to take over the administration of the Kattalai in accordance with law and in terms of the scheme. Pursuant to the orders of this Court, as referred to above, there was some proceedings initiated by the Tahsildar, Madurai North and finally by order dated 14.04.2008 made in R.Dis.1656/2007 patta for the disputed lands now involved herein was granted in favour of private individuals who claims to be trustees of the kattalai.
9. Aggrieved over the said order, an appeal was also preferred by the 2nd Respondent herein before the Revenue Divisional Officer, Madurai to set aside the order of the Tahsildar, Madurai North Taluk and to restore the patta in favour of the Executive Officer / Deputy Commissioner of Arulmigu Kallalagar Temple, Alagarkoil. But, the Revenue Divisional Officer, Madurai after conducting enquiry, finally rejected the appeal by order dated 11-06-2009 made in R.Dis.10804/2008 (N). In the mean time, the patta holders who got orders through the Tahsildar, Madurai North sold their portion of the trust Kattalai property jointly and also individually through power agents, and the subsequent purchasers also managed to get patta transferred in their own names. In such circumstances, with the sole intention to safeguard the valuable properties of the Kattalai trust from unauthoritzed alienation by persons claiming as the trustees of the kattalai endowments, the 2nd Respondent herein, aggrieved over the order of the Revenue Divisional Officer, Madurai passed in R.Dis.No.10804/2008 (N) dated 11-06-2009, preferred an appeal before the first respondent. After conducting such enquiry and hearing all the parties concerned and upon perusing all the relevant connected records, the first respondent finally set aside the orders of the Revenue Divisional Officer, Madurai, passed in R.Dis.No.10804/2008 (N) dated 11-06-2009 and allowed the appeal preferred by the second respondent herein, ordering to revert the patta in the name of the original Nacharammal Hereditary Trust, rather than in the name of the private individuals as ordered by the Tahsildar, Madurai North. Aggrieved over the said order, the petitioners herein who are subsequent purchasers have filed this writ petition. The petitioners as purchaser of the property cannot plead for on behalf of the so-called trustees. The petitioners are neither trustees of the trust endowment nor administrators of the trust and its properties and they had no knowledge about the consequences of the sale transactions. Further, criminal proceedings was also initiated against the sellers of the trust properties who entered into the sale transaction without prior sanction of the authorities under the H.R.andC.E.Act, the Government and the Court. Therefore, he prayed for dismissal of the Writ Petition.
10. The third respondent has also filed a counter affidavit inter alia stating that as per the settlement dated 28.04.1923 and as per the scheme framed by the Assistant Commissioner of H.R. and.C.E., Madurai, vide order dated 30.11.1955, the Senior Muthusami Pillai and Junior Muthusami Pillai and Sundarrajan pillai managed the properties of the trust viz., Sir Nacharammal Trust. After the demise of Senior Muthusami Pillai, Anandarn Pillai had taken charge to manage the Trust properties as a legal heir of Senior Muthusami Pillai by the order dated 14.4.1967. Anandam Pillai and Junior Muthusami Pillai should manage the trust properties in rotation for each 3 years. The said Anandam pillai has taken charge of the management of the Nacharammal Trust properties only as the legal heir of Senior Muthusami Pillai and not as his exclusive right of Managing Hereditary Trustee. After the demise of Anandam Pillai, one among the legal heirs of Senior Muthusami Pillai should have taken charge of the Management of Nacharamrnal Trust as Managing Hereditary Trustee by resolution of Trustees of the Nachiarammal Trust. But, one A.Dhakshinamoorthy has taken charge of the Management of Nacharammal Trust as his own, as the legal heirs of Senior Muthusami Pillai, without the consent, resolution, decision of the other Hereditary Trustees and one Thirupathy, the managing Trustee, S/o. Junior Muthusami Pillai had also taken charge of the management of Nacharammal Trust. While being so, the Trustee M.Thiruppathy and the said A.Dhakshinamoorthy and other trustees, the brothers and sisters of A.Dhakshinamoorthy colluded and hand in glove with each other had entered into several sale agreements with third parties in respect of the Nacharammal Trust properties by transferring the pattas in respect of the trust properties in their name as they are the exclusive owner of the Trust properties. The said A.Dhakshinamoorthy filed a Trust.O.P.No.7 of 2007 before District Court, Madurai, seeking permission to sell the properties of Nachiarammal Trust not even impleading the other hereditary trustees either as a petitioner or as a respondents. So several Trustees and the agreement holders have filed petitions to implead themselves as party to the Trust O.P. proceedings which is pending. While so, the Writ Petition in W.P.(MD)No.2554 of 2010, filed by the subsequent purchasers of the trust properties, is not maintainable and it has to be dismissed.
11. I heard Mr.C.Vakeeswaran, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner and Mr.K.Guru, Additional Government Pleader appearing for the respondents 1 to 4 in WP(MD)No.1978 of 2010 and Mr.G.Maruthiah, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners, Mr.K.Guru, Additional Government Pleader appearing for the respondents 1 and 2, Mr.S.Ramesh, learned counsel for the respondents 4 and 5 and Mr.G.Mohankumar, learned counsel for the respondents 6 to 12 in WP(MD)No.2554 of 2010 and Mr.G.Mohankumar, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners, Mr.K.Guru, Additional Government Pleader appearing for the respondents 1 to 3 and Mr.D.Nallathambi, learned counsel for the respondents 4, 7 to 9 in WP(MD)No.2472 of 2010.
12. From the perusal of facts of the case and the contentions made in the counter affidavits filed by the first respondent and the third respondent and also the order passed in W.P.No.33163 of 2002, it is very clear that the appointment of Executive Officer was set aside by this Court and the Hereditary Trustees were allowed to take over the administration of the Trust in accordance with law and in terms of the scheme. Pursuant to the order passed in W.P.No.33163 of 2002, the Executive Officer of Sri Kallalagar temple has handed over the charge and management of the trust as well as possession of trust properties and thereafter, the hereditary trustees are managing the trust and doing mandagapadi and thereafter, the patta was also transferred in the name of Nacharammal Trust. While so, the Trustees namely A.Dhakshinamoorthy and M.Thiruppathy, without consent, valid resolution or decision of the other Hereditary Trustees, have entered into several sale agreements with third parties and sold the trust properties, as contended by the third respondent. The purchasers have also got patta in their name from the Tahsildar concerned which was challenged by the second respondent before the third respondent. Even though the third respondent confirmed the order of the Tahsildar, the first respondent after conducting detailed enquiry and hearing all the parties concerned and also upon perusing all the relevant connected records, set aside the order of the third respondent and the Tahsildar, in the revision filed before him. Though the petitioners having participated in the enquiry, they cannot come to the Court with the contention that they have not given sufficient opportunity. Therefore, there is no merit in the writ petition in W.P.(MD)No.2554 of 2010 and the same is dismissed.
13. In view of the order passed in W.P.(MD)No.2554 of 2010, the Writ Petitions in W.P.(MD) Nos.1978 and 2472 of 2010 are also dismissed. However, there is no order as to costs.