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Shivnarayan Sarupchand Vs. Bilasrai Juharmal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Case NumberO.C.J. Appeal No. 33 of 1941 and Suit No. 1265 of 1939
Judge
Reported inAIR1942Bom208; (1942)44BOMLR466
AppellantShivnarayan Sarupchand
RespondentBilasrai Juharmal
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
charity-court-jurisdiction-charity functioning in foreign state-property within british india-steps to prevent its misappropriation-change of name of charity -whether such change amounts to breach of trust.;the administration of a charity depends upon the law, and is controlled by the court, of the country where the charity is conducted.;the high court of bombay has no jurisdiction to remove trustees of a charity functioning in an indian state and to appoint new trustees.;where, however, immoveable property belonging to a charity in an indian state but situated within the jurisdiction of the high court is being misapplied, the high court can interfere to protect that property by granting an injunction, restraining misappropriation of the property or by appointing a receiver to hold the..........aside a sum of one lakh of rupees for establishing and maintaining a hospital at bagar, a town in jaipur state, for providing free medical relief to the poor. that sum has subsequently been largely increased, and we are told that defendant no. 1 has altogether contributed something like eight lakhs to this charitable purpose, on april 26, 1926, defendant no. 1 and others, who, i suppose, were acting as trustees, executed a declaration of trust agreeing to apply the trust funds in their hands in establishing and maintaining a hospital or hospitals in bagar, and clause 3 provides as follows :the said trust moneys, securities, investments and the properties forming part of the trusts shall be called shivnarayan juharmal bagar hospital trust fund and the hospital or hospitals established by.....
Judgment:

John Beaumont, Kt., C.J.

1. This is an appeal from an order of Mr. Justice Chagla, and, in my opinion, it is quite impossible to support the order.

2. The plaintiffs' case is this. Defendant No. 1, in 1926, set aside a sum of one lakh of rupees for establishing and maintaining a hospital at Bagar, a town in Jaipur State, for providing free medical relief to the poor. That sum has subsequently been largely increased, and we are told that defendant No. 1 has altogether contributed something like eight lakhs to this charitable purpose, On April 26, 1926, defendant No. 1 and others, who, I suppose, were acting as trustees, executed a declaration of trust agreeing to apply the trust funds in their hands in establishing and maintaining a hospital or hospitals in Bagar, and Clause 3 provides as follows :

The said trust moneys, securities, investments and the properties forming part of the trusts shall be called Shivnarayan Juharmal Bagar Hospital Trust Fund and the Hospital or Hospitals established by the trustees out of the trust funds shall be called Shivnarayan Juharmal Bagar Hospital or Hospitals.

3. Now, it appears that Juharmal, referred to in those titles, is the brother of defendant No. 1, and the brothers have quarreled. Defendant No.1 says that Juharmal was going to put up an equal amount of money to that contributed by himself, and that he never did so, and, therefore, his name ought to be removed from the title of the fund, and accordingly he and the other trustees have commenced calling the trust fund 'Shivnarayan Chiranjilal Hospital Trust Fund' and calling the hospital 'Shivnarayan Chiranjilal Rungta Hospital.' The plaintiff's case is that that change in the names of the fund and the hospital is a breach of trust of so serious a nature as to justify the removal by the Court of the trustees, and the learned Judge has accepted that view, and has made an order removing the trustees of this charity, and appointing new trustees in their place.

4. Now, this charity, as appears from the plaint, is a foreign charity. It conducts a hospital in Jaipur State, and it is a well established principle that the administration of a charity depends upon the law, and is controlled by the Court, of the country where the charity is conducted. In my opinion, there is no jurisdiction in this Court to remove trustees of a charity functioning in Jaipur State, and to appoint new trustees of that charity. We have no more jurisdiction to do that than the Jaipur Court would have to remove trustees of a hospital in Bombay, and to appoint new trustees in their place. The ground on which the learned Judge justified his order is this. It appears that an immoveable property situate in Bombay has been acquired on behalf of this charity as part of its endowment, and undoubtedly, if it be proved that property within the jurisdiction of this Court belonging to a charity is being misapplied, this Court can interfere to protect that property. The Court could grant an injunction restraining misappropriation of the property, or could appoint a receiver, and then hold the property subject to the orders of the Court having jurisdiction to administer the charity. But no misappropriation of the Bombay property is suggested other than applying the property for the benefit of the charity under its altered name.

5. Now, apart from the fact that this Court has no jurisdiction to interfere with the administration of a foreign charity, there is this further difficulty. The only breach of trust relied on is the change in the names of the fund and the hospital ; but whether that is a breach of trust or not depends on the law of Jaipur State, and there is no evidence as to what is the law of Jaipur State. So far as British India is concerned, it is, I think, the law that trustees would not be justified in changing the name of a charity without the permission of the Court. It might be permissible to assume that the law of Jaipur State would not permit an act contra bonos mores, but we cannot assume without evidence that that law does not permit trustees of a charity to change its name. It appears that defendant No. 1 and the other trustees have actually presented a petition to a Court in Jaipur State asking for permission to change the name of this charity, and that petition appears to be pending. Mr. Justice Chagla considered that the presentation of that petition was an act in defiance to this Court; but I am quite unable to take that view, because it seems to me that the Jaipur Court is the only Court which can sanction the change of the name of this charity.

6. In my opinion, the plaintiffs have not proved that any breach of trust in relation to the Bombay property of the charity has been committed. I would add, however, that, in my view, even if this was a Bombay charity, the trustees, merely by changing the name of the charity, have not committed such a serious breach of trust as to justify their removal. The learned Judge says that the' Shivnarayan Chiranjilal Rungta Hospital' is not the same charity as the 'Shivnarayan Juharmal Rungta Hospital.' But a charity does not change its nature merely by changing its name. The hospital is to be carried on in exactly the same manner in the changed name as in the former name. It is not suggested that there has been any misapplication of the charity funds in the ordinary sense of the term. Assuming that the trustees ought not to have altered the name, their error can be very easily remedied by restoring the old name. If this Court were administering the trust, this Court might impose upon the trustees the obligation of restoring the old name as a term of remaining trustees, and, of course, if they refused to accept the terms of the Court, then there might be a ground for removing them. However, that is an academic matter. In my opinion, the learned Judge had no jurisdiction to remove the trustees of a charity functioning in a foreign State. The appeal, therefore, must be allowed with costs. Plaintiffs' suit dismissed with costs.

Somjee, J.

7. I agree and have nothing to add.


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