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S.T. Krishnappa and ors. Vs. State of Karnataka and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberW.P. No. 9134 of 1984
Judge
Reported inILR1985KAR920; 1985(1)KarLJ142
ActsMysore Religious and Charitable Institutions Regulation, 1927 - Sections 5 and 6; Mysore Land Revenue Code, 1888 - Sections 8(2); Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964 - Sections 10(2)
AppellantS.T. Krishnappa and ors.
RespondentState of Karnataka and ors.
Appellant AdvocateS. Hanumanthaiah, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateM.R. Achar, Govt. Adv. for R-1 and 2; ;C.N. Kamath, Adv. for R-4
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....of the assistant commissioner must be subject to the rules. in other words, the power given to the state government to empower the officers to exercise the powers under the regulation itself is subject to the rules. the rules specifically empower the muzrai commissioner in respect of major muzrai institutions and the deputy commissioner in respect of minor institutions to appoint dharmadarshis. not only this, section 6 of the regulation which specifically deals with the appointment of dharmadarshis and nazarins states in clear terms that such power may be delegated to muzrai commissioner or the deputy commissioner. thus, as per the provisions of the regulation., this power of the state government to appoint dharmadarshis cannot be delegated to assistant commissioner-section 5 of the..........institutions. thus, second part of section 6 of the regulation itself determines the power of the stategovernment in the matter of delegation of power of appointment of dharmadarshis and specifically lays down that such power of the state government may be delegated to the musrai commissioner or the deputy commissioner.6. the contention of sri achar, learned government advocate, is that sub-section (2) of section 8 of the mysore land revenue code, specifically empowered the state government to authorise the assistant commissioners to exercise all the powers of the deputy commissioner under any other law for the time being in force. it is submitted that the regulation in question falls within the meaning of the expression 'any other law,' and as such, it waspermissible to the state.....
Judgment:
ORDER

K.A. Swami, J.

1. In this Petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution, the Petitioners have sought for quashing the order dated 11-5-1984 passed by the Assistant Commissioner, Madhugiri Sub-Division, Madhugiri, (Respondent-2) in No. DVS. CR. 129/83-84 (Annexure-A). By the said order, the 2nd respondent has appointed respondents Nos. 4 to 12 as Dharmadarshis of the temple known as 'Shree Kariyamma Devaru' at Sorekunte, Sira Taluk. The 4th respondent is appointed as Convenor of the said Committee of Dharma. darshis. Though several contentions are raised in the Petition including the contention relating to the suitability of the respondents 4 to 12 to function as Dharmadarshis of the temple, Sri Hanumanthaiah, learned Counsel for the Petitioners, has confined the Petition to only one contention viz., that the 2nd respondent is not competent to appoint Dharmadarshis to the Muzrai Institution in question; there-fore, it is not necessary to go into other contentions including the contention relating to the suitability of respondents 4 to 12 for being appointed as Dharmadarshis of the temple in question.

2. The contention regarding the competency of the 2nd respondent to appoint Dharmadarshis to the temple in question, is based on the provisions contained in Section 6 of the Mysore Religious and Charitable Institutions Regulation, 1927 (for short, the 'Regulation'), which is applicable To the temple in question and is in operation in the Old Mysore area; and also Rule 4 of the Rules framed there-under. The contention is that Section 6 of the Regulation empowers the State Government to delegate the power of appointing Dharmadarshis either to the MuzraiCommissioner or to the Deputy Commissioner and not to the Assistant Commissioner ; therefore the notification dated 21st April, 1941 bearing No. 2567-78-Muz. 284-49, in so far it empowers the Assistant Commissioner of the Sub-Division to exercise the power of appointment of Dharmadarshis to the Muzrai Institutions within his jurisdiction, is ultra vires the power of the State Government and as such, it is null and void and cannot at all be enforced.

3. On the contrary, it is contended by Sri M. R. Achar, learned Government Advocate, that Section 5 of the Regulation, read with sub-section(2)of Section 8 of the Mysore Land Revenue Code, which was in force at the relevant point of time i.e.,on 21-4-1941 when the aforesaid notification wasissued,did enable the State Government to empower the Assistant Commissioner to exercise the power of the DeputyCommissioner to appoint Dharmadarshis to the Muzrai Institutions situated within his jurisdiction. It may also be noticed here that sub-section (2) of Section 8 of the Mysore Land Revenue Code, is similar to sub-section (2) of Section 10 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964.

4. Having regard to the rival contentions, the question that arises for consideration is, whether the Government notification dated 21-4-1941 which empowers the Assistant Commissioner to appoint Dharmadarshis to the Muzrai Institutions situated within his jurisdiction is ultra vires the power of the State Government, and as such, it is invalid in law.

5. 'Muzrai Officer' is defined in sub-section(3) of Section2 of the Regulation. It includes the Assistant Commissioner and the Tahsildar. It also further provides that an Assistant Commissioner incharge of a taluk or taluks to whom the power of a Muzrai Officer under any of Sections of the Regulation may be delegated by the Government in respect of the taluk or taluks comprised in his charge. Section 5 of the Regulation further provides that subject to such rules and conditions as the Government may prescribe, the Deputy Commissioner of the District shall be the immediate, controlling authority in respect of all the Muzrai Institutions in the District and subject to his authority the Assistant Commissioner incharge of a Revenue Sub-Division or the Amildar of a taluk may perform such duties and exercise such powers as may be imposed arid conferred upon them by any special or general orders of the Government. But, it is pertinent to notice that Section 5 of the Regulation is subject to such Rules and conditions as the State Government may prescribe. Thus, Section 5 of the Regulation,' is controlled by the Rules framed under the Regulation (hereinafter be referred to as the 'Rules'). Section 6 of the Regulation deals with the appointment of Dharmadarshis and Nazarins. The said Section reads thus :

'The Government may appoint Dharmadarshis or Nazarins of wakfa, as the case may be, to manage the affairs of one or more MuzraiInstitutions and, by rules framed in this behalf, determine the manner ofselection, fix the term of office and regulate the powers and duties of such Dharmadarshis and Nizarins.

The Government may delegate to the Muzrai Commissioner, or the Deputy Commissioner, the power of appointing Dharmadarshis or Nazarins of wakfs in respect of any institution or class of institutions.'

Thus, Section 6 consists of two parts. The first part relates to appointment of Dharmadarshis by the Government. The second part relates to delegation of power to Muzrai Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner, of appointing Dharmadarshis or Nazarins of wakfs in respect of anyinstitution or class of institutions. In addition to this, Rule 4 of the Rules, specifically provides that the Deputy Commissioner, as Muzrai Officer, shall have power to appoint Dharmadarshis for all minor Muzrai institutions and sanction scales of expenditure therein. Rules 5 of the Rules, further provides that the Muzrai Commissioner shall have power to appoint Dharmadarshis to all major muzrai institutions and sanction scales of expenditure therein. Sub-section (2) of Section 8 of the Mysore Land Revenue Code, which was in force at the relevant point of time, enabled the State Government to empower the Assistant Commissioners to exercise the powers of the Deputy Commissioner under any other law for the time being in force. Thus, the aforesaid provisions go to show that the power conferred by Section 5 of theRegulation on the State Government to empower by special or general orders, any of the authorities mentioned therein, to perform such duties and to exercise such powers under the Regulation, is subjected to the Rules. The Rules as it is already pointed out, specifically provide that the Deputy-Commissioner shall have power to appoint Dharmadarshis for all minor muzrai institutions and the Muzrai Commissioner shall have power to appoint Dharmadarshis to all Major muzrai institutions. In addition to this, the second part of Section 6 of the Regulation provides that the State Government may delegate the Muzrai Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner, the power of appointing Dharma-darshis or Nazarins of wakfs in respect of any institution or class of institutions. Thus, second part of Section 6 of the Regulation itself determines the power of the StateGovernment in the matter of delegation of power of appointment of Dharmadarshis and specifically lays down that such power of the State Government may be delegated to the Musrai Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner.

6. The contention of Sri Achar, Learned Government Advocate, is that sub-section (2) of Section 8 of the Mysore Land Revenue Code, specifically empowered the State Government to authorise the Assistant Commissioners to exercise all the powers of the Deputy Commissioner under any other law for the time being in force. It is submitted that the Regulation in question falls within the meaning of the expression 'any other law,' and as such, it waspermissible to the State Government to delegate the power exercisable by the Deputy Commissioner under the Regulation to appoint Dharmadarshis, to the Assistant Commissioners. It appears to me, it is not possible to accept this submission. The definition of 'Muzrai Officer' and the provisionscontained in Section 5 and 6 of the Regulation, have to be read together and construed harmoniously. It is the cardinal principle of interpretation of a statute that nosurplus. should be attributed to the legislature and every word in a statute should be given a meaning as long as it does not affect the very object and the scope of the statute. Viewed in this back-ground, it becomes clear that no doubt, as per the definition of 'Muzrai Officer', the AssistantCommissioner also becomes a Muzrai Officer and he can also be empowered to exercise the powers of the Muzrai Officer, which are exercisable by the Deputy Commissioner. But, Section 5 of the regulation further makes it clear that such empowering of the Assistant Commissioner must be subject to the Rules. In other words, the power given to the State Government to empower the officers to exercise the powers under the Regulation itself is subject to the Rules. These Rules, which have already been referred to, specifically empower the Muzrai Commissioner in respect of major mujrai institutions and the Deputy Commissioner inrespect of minor institutions, to appoint Dharmadarshis. Not only this, Section 6 of the Regulation which specifically deals with appointment of Dharmadarshis and Nazarins states in clear terms that such power may be delegated to the Muzrail Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner. Thus, as per the provisions of the Regulation, the power of the State Government to appoint Dharmadarshis cannot be delegated to the Assistant Commissioner. The exercise of power under sub-section (2) of Section 8 of the Mysore Land Revenue, Code, must be in conformity with the provisions contained in the 'other law' in respect of which the said power is exercised. If the 'other law' referred to in sub-section (2) of Section 8 of the Mysore Land Revenue Code, itself does not permit the empowering of the Assistant Commissioner with the power to appoint Dharmadarshis, it is not possible to hold that though the Regulation does not permit, but by reason of sub-section (2) of Section 8 of the Mysore Lane Revenue code, it is permissible for the State Government to empower the Assistant Commissioner with the power of appointment of Dharmadarshis, This conclusion can also be reached by another mode of interpretation. Section 8(2) of the Mysore Land Revenue Code, is general statute. Where-as, Section 6 of the Regulation is a special statute dealing with the appointment of Dharmadarshis only. That being so, the provisions contained in Section 89(2) of the Mysore Land Revenue Code, cannot over-ride the restrictions contained in Section 6 of the Regulation. Similarly, Section 5 of the Regulation in comparison to Section 6 thereof becomes a general provision inasmuch as Section 5 provides that subject to Rules and conditions as the Government may prescribe and subject to the authority of Deputy Commissioner, the Assistant Commissioner or the Amildar of a Taluk may perform such duties and exercise such powers as may be empowered or conferred upon them by any special or general orders of the Government. Whereas, Section 6 of the Regulation deals with the specific topic of appointment of Dharmadarshis. In other words, it can very well be said that Section 6 is a proviso to Section 5 of the Regulation. Because it carves out an exception from the general power given to the State Government to delegate powers exercisable under any of the provisions of the Regulation. Therefore, Section 6 as far as the appointment of Dharmadarshis and Nazarins is concerned, will prevail over Section 5 of the Regulation and Section 8(2) of the Mysore land Revenue Code. That being so, it was not at all permissible to the State Government to empower the Assistant Commissioners to appoint Dharmadarshis to the Muzrai Institutions situated within their jurisdictions.

7. An argument is advanced on behalf of the State that the Government Order dated 21-4-1941 has been in force for over a period of four decades and the law has been understood in a particular manner and so far all the acts have been done by the Assistant Commissioners in their respective jurisdictions in accordance with the said order; as such, any other interpretation would upset the established practice; therefore, the Court must be slow in placing any other interpretation which would go counter to theestablished practice. No doubt, the practice which has been in force for over four decades cannot be brushed aside. But, such an established practice can be given credence to, provided it is possible to place such an interpretation on the statute. Looked from any angle, as long as Sections 5 and 6 of the Regulation stand as they are read with Rules 4 and 5 of the Rules framed under the Regulation, it is not possible to hold that the Assistant Commissioner can be empowered to exercise power of appointing Dharmadarshis and Nazarins. No doubt, all other powers can be delegated to the Assistant Commissioner provided such empowering is not contrary to the Rules framed under the Regulation, because Section 5 itself makes the power of the State Government to delegate, subject to the Rules. In the case of Balagopal Das -v.- State of Uttar Pradesh, A.I.R 1976 S.C. 1800 while dealing with the wrong practice which was not permissible in law, the Supreme Court observed thus at Para-11:

'11...............A wrong Practice cannot possibly modify what. naturally and logically follows from the language in Section 3(7) of the Act. This provision says that the party aggrieved must 'apply to the Commissioner to revise the order.' The natural inference is that the party must apply to the Commissioner directly and not through some other authority or official.'

In the aforesaid case, the said practice was also in force for a long time. Therefore, it appears to me that merely because the State Government has understood the law in a particular manner and if that understanding is not in conformity with the actual and natural meaning to be given to the statute, it is neither permissible nor possible to sustain the practice on the ground that the provision of the statute has been understood in a particular manner and the practice has been in force for a long time.

8. It is also the contention of Sri C. N. Kamath, learned Counsel for the 4th respondents, that when Section 5 of the Regulation gives power to the State Government to, empower the Assistant Commissioner to exercise the power under any of the provisions of the Regulation, Section 6cannot be held to restrict such power. This contention has already been considered in the earlier portion of the order Section 5 of the Regulation cannot be read in isolation. When both the Sections have to be read together, anyinterpretation placed on Section 5 ignoring Section 6 of the Regulation, would be violative of Section 6 of the Regulation,because Section 6 deals with the specific power of appointment of Dharmadarshis and Nazarins. In that way, Section 6 is a provisio to Section 5 ; therefore, the contention cannot be accepted.

9. For the reasons stated above, this Writ Petition is entitled to succeed. It is accordingly allowed. The Government Order dated 21-4-1941 bearing No. 2567.78-Muz. 284-49 is liable to be quashed. It is accordingly quashed, and the State Government is restrained from enforcing it. The order dated 11-5-1984 passed by 2nd respondent in No. DVS. CR. 129/83-84 (Annexure-A) is hereby quashed. However, it is made clear that this order will not come in the way of the State Government or the Deputy Commissioner, for appointing Dharmadarshis of the temple in question.

No order as to costs.

Sri Achar, Learned Government Advocate, and Sri C.N. Kamath, Learned Counsel for the 4th respondent, submit that the operation of the order just now pronounced may be suspended for a period of 60 days to enable the State Government to take steps in the matter to set right the practice, that has been in force for over four decades and further to enable them to prefer an appeal and seek an interim order. Sri Hanumanthaiah, Learned Counsel for the Petitioners opposes. During the pendency of the Writ Petition, there was no interim order. Consequently, the Dharmadarshis (respondents 4 to 12) have been functioning since 11-5-1984. After 40 years, the Government Order has been quashed ; therefore, it is a fit case to maintain the status quo to enable the respondents to seek an interim order in the appeal-Under these circumstances, I suspend the final order just now pronounced. for a period of six weeks.


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