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Shankar Bharati Svami Vs. Venkapa Naik - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1885)ILR9Bom422
AppellantShankar Bharati Svami
RespondentVenkapa Naik
Excerpt:
math - liability of savasthán of math for money borrowed by the swami. - section 31(4) (since repealed) :[tarun chatterjee & h.l.dattu, jj] jurisdiction of high court - respondent, a government company, chartered appellants vessel to carry rock phosphate from togo to west coast india - dispute arose between parties - under agreement, respondent had chosen mumbai as port of delivery vessel carrying rock phosphate was delivered at port of bombay - application filed by respondent earlier before delhi high court for appointment of certain individual as arbitrator had become infructuous because of his demise held, high court of bombay, is not correct in rejecting arbitration petition filed by appellant on ground of lack of jurisdiction. .....serious objection, which has been taken to this decree on appeal, was that, as the bond was a mere money bond, and did not, in terms, make the loan a charge on the savasahan of the math, although the loan might have been for the purposes of the math, it could only be enforced against vidyashankar personally, and not against the savasthan. the case was said to be similar to that of an executor contracting a loan for the purposes of the estate by english law-see farhall v. farhall 7 ch. app. 123; or that of the manager of a charitable institution incurring a liability for the purposes of the institution-strickland v. symons l.r. 26 ch. div. 245. it is sufficient for the present case to say that those decisions are, in our opinion, inapplicable to the case of the svami of a math, who.....
Judgment:

Charles Sargent, C.J.

1. This is an action on a money bond alleged to have been passed to the plaintiff by one Vidydshankar, the guru of the defendant, and his predecessor in the office of svami of the math Kudalji, by which the plaintiff claims to make the defendant liable as the heir of Vidyashankar, and also to enforce the bond against the savasthan of the math. The Subordinate Judge hell the bond to be proved; that the money mentioned in it was paid by the plaintiff; that it was required for the purposes of the math; and that as the plaintiff honestly bettered it was so required, he was under no obligation to show how the money was spent; and ordered that the plaintiff should recover Rs. 14,400 from the property of the Kudalji savasthan.

2. The only serious objection, which has been taken to this decree on appeal, was that, as the bond was a mere money bond, and did not, in terms, make the loan a charge on the savasahan of the math, although the loan might have been for the purposes of the math, it could only be enforced against Vidyashankar personally, and not against the savasthan. The case was said to be similar to that of an executor contracting a loan for the purposes of the estate by English law-see Farhall v. Farhall 7 Ch. App. 123; or that of the manager of a charitable institution incurring a liability for the purposes of the institution-Strickland v. Symons L.R. 26 Ch. Div. 245. It is sufficient for the present case to say that those decisions are, in our opinion, inapplicable to the case of the svami of a math, who presumably has no private property, and must, therefore, be assumed to be pledging the credit of the math when he borrows money for the purposes of the math. That being so, the bond was binding on the savasthan, if the loan was for the purposes of the math, or the plaintiff had bond fide reason to suppose it was intended for such purposes.

3. It appears that a dispute had arisen between Vidyashankar and Narsinhbharati for the 'holy throne of Kudalji' on the death of the previous svami, which lasted from 1875 till 1878, when an arrangement was come to between them; and Vidyashankar, who had been nominally installed in 1875, was again installed and became the undisputed svami of the math. It would appear from the evidence that, during the rivalry of the contending svamis, the immoveable property of the math was attached by Government, and that Narsinhbharati had possession of the moveable property. Moreover, it was a season of famine, and the lands of the math yielded little or no profit. Under these circumstances it is highly probable that Vidyashankar should have incurred liability during the period of disputed authority, whether for his own expenses or the wages of the servants of the establishment. Further, the arrangement entered into by him with Narsinhbharati shows that the latter had pledged the sacred vessels of the math, and that they were to be redeemed by Vidyashankar. It was, therefore, to be expected that 'Vidyashankar would be obliged to contract a loan to meet the above claims against him when he was ultimately installed as the undisputed head of the math. This may show that the necessity for the loan was in great part due to the conflict for the headship of the math. But the entire administration of the establishment was vested in Vidya shankar as the presiding svami when the bond was passed: see Steel's Hindu Law and Customs, Appendix, p. 436, and the case of Samantha Pandara v. Sellappa Chetti I.L.R. 2 Mad. 175 ; and there is no evidence in the case to justify the conclusion) that a loan effected under such circumstances to meet the exigencies of the presiding svami and to restore tranquillity to the math, would, according to the custom and usage of the math in question, be regarded as improperly contracted.

4. The defendant himself, it is to be remarked, only disputed the genuineness of the bond, alleging that he knew nothing about it, and has himself recognized the obligation to pay a bond of Rs. 6,000 contracted by Narsinhbharati during the dispute. But, in any case, we think that, having regard to the authority vested in the head svami of a math, the plaintiff was fairly entitled to assume from the statement of vidyashankar, when he applied for the loan in 1878, that it was required for the bond fide purposes of the establishment. The decree must, therefore, be confirmed, except as to interest on the bond, which, as the respondent contends should be given up to the date of the decree, with interest at six per cent. on the judgment debt, till payment. Defendant to pay plaintiff his costs of this appeal.


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