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H.H. Jagadguru Channa Basava, Mahaswamy, Matadhipathi Vs. Comissioner of Endowments, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad and Others - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberW.P. Nos. 2825 and 5720 of 1992 and 1496 of 1993
Judge
Reported inAIR1997AP213; 1997(1)ALT451
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1957 - Sections 8, 8(1), 50, 51(1 and 3), 52, 52(1), 53, 53(1and 2), 54, 54(2) and 55; Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1987; Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1939 - Sections 38
AppellantH.H. Jagadguru Channa Basava, Mahaswamy, Matadhipathi
RespondentComissioner of Endowments, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad and Others
Appellant AdvocateR. Venugopal Reddy (Sr. Counsel), for R. Vijayanandan Reddy, Adv.
Respondent Advocate V.L.N.G.K. Muthy Govt. Pleader for Endowments and ;K. Venkataramayya, Adv.
Excerpt:
constitution - appointment of 'mathadhipati' - article 226 of constitution of india and sections 8, 52, 53 and 54 of a.p. charitable and hindu religious institutions and endowments act, 1957 - petitioner nominated as 'mathadhipati' by his predecessors - endowment commissioner permitted him to perform religious ceremonies only - interim 'mathadhipati' appointed for administrative work - petition filed against said appointment and order of commissioner - commissioner not entitled to appoint 'mathadhipati' where same was nominated -sections 53 and 54 applicable - as per section 8 appointment and order liable to be quashed. - motor vehicles act (59 of 1988)section 149 (2): [v. gopala gowda & jawad rahim, jj] insurers entitlement to defend the action joint appeal by insured and insurer -.....order1. the current phenomenon is that religious charities and endowments, religious institutions and maths are quite often brought under the spell of bureaucracy thereby defeating the very goals for which these institutions were founded or established. the bureaucracy alone cannot be balmed for such sorry state by affiars. it is expected that by the exemplary conduct, character, piety, erudition and dedication the spiritual heads should inspire faith in their devotees in particular and the people at large in general. but, it is quite often complained that the modern heads of these institutions, by and large, tend to imbibe in them the art of political manoeuvers and greed to enrichments in terms of wealth as well as power at secular and temporal planes rather than to pursue the age-old.....
Judgment:
ORDER

1. The current phenomenon is that Religious Charities and Endowments, Religious Institutions and Maths are quite often brought under the spell of bureaucracy thereby defeating the very goals for which these institutions were founded or established. The bureaucracy alone cannot be balmed for such sorry state by affiars. It is expected that by the exemplary conduct, character, piety, erudition and dedication the spiritual heads should inspire faith in their devotees in particular and the people at large in general. But, it is quite often complained that the modern heads of these institutions, by and large, tend to imbibe in them the art of political manoeuvers and greed to enrichments in terms of wealth as well as power at secular and temporal planes rather than to pursue the age-old path of Moksha or Nirvana as mandated by the great rishis and preceptors and in this process the bureaucracy and the statutory authorities readily find one or the other loophole or excuse to usurp the powers of Mahants, Matadipathis and Shebaits. A solution to the question,the question being who should succeed as Uttaradhikari of the predecessor Mathadhipa-thi, namely, Sri Karibasava Swamy of the Gavi Math Samsthanam, Uravakonda in Anantapur district after his death on 27-12-1991, has been delayed primarily on account of bureaucractic bunglings of the authorities of the Endowment department. I trust but for their unnecessary interferences, the solution should have been found to the vexed questionby this time.

2. An these writ petitions relate to religious and temporal administration of Gavimath Samsthanam and they raise questions of powers vested in the authorities created under the Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1987, for short 'the Act'. Therefore, all these writ petitions were clubbed and heard together and they are being disposed of by this common order.

3. One Sri Karibasava Swamy was the Matadhipathi of Govimath of Uravakonda which was founded about more than 300 years ago by Veerasaiva community for the propagation and promotion of the tenets of Veerasaiva cult of Hinduism. According to the customs and usages, the Math should have a Mathadhipathi who has to discharge various sacred, religious as well as secular duties cast upon him and tour several places in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharastra in particular where there are large number of devotees of the math. The Mathadhipathi has to give lectures, hold religious sabhas, perform Poojas, celebrate festivals and feed devotees and disciples. The Mathadhipathi is worshipped by the disciples and devotees with offerings in the shape of lands, money, foodgrains etc., The Mathadhipathi is held in great veneration by his devotees and disciples. This Institution was registered under Section 38 of the old Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act in 1939.

4. According to the custom and usage of the math the successor to the Peetham is by way of nomination by prdecessor Mathadhipathi. The predecessor Mathadhipathi, Sri Karibasava Swamy, by the nomination deed dated 18-6-1975, nominated the petitioner H. H. Jagadguru Chenna Basava Mahaswamy as his Uttaradhikari reserving his right to revoke nomination under Clause (6) of the nomination deed. According to the third respondent, the predecessor Mathadhipathi suspended the petitioner on 28-4-1980 on the ground that the petitioner was functioning in a way prejudicial to the math; the Commissioner of Endowment by his proceedings dt. 14-5-1980 ratified the action of the predecessor Mathadhipathi in suspending the petitioner; the petitioner Mibmitled his reply to the charges framed by the predecessor Mathadhipathi on 13-7-1980 and ultimately on 7-4-1981 the predecessor Mathadhipathi revoked the nomination of the petitioner as Uttaraidhikari and dismissed him from the office of Uttaradhikari. It is also the case of the third respondent that the predecessor Mathadhipathi subsequently on 12-3-1984 appointed him as his Uttaradhikari and since then he has been functioning as such. Whereas, it is the case of the petitioner that the nomination of the petitioner as Uttaradhikari was never revoked or at any rate it was not revoked in accordance with law; the alleged revocation was never communicated to him and the document revoking his nomination as Uttaradhikari is not produced by any one in any legal proceedings either in the Civil Courts or in this Court. The petitioner contends that he was the validly nominated Uttaradhikari as on the date of demise of the predecessor Mathadhipathi and he has been functioning as Mathadhipathi of Gavi Math Samsthanam. At this stage itself, it is pertinent to point that the petitioner and the third respondent have averred voluminous facts contrary to each other touching upon nomination, suspension and removal of the petitioner as Uttaradhikari, suspension and removal of late Karibasava Swamy from the office of the Mathadhipathi and the suits O.S. Nos. 32/86, 85/86 and 16/87 and earlier writ proceedings in this Court and nomination of the third respondent as Uttaradhikari and touching upon the incligibilities of the third respondent to occupy the position of Uttaradhikari. It seems that the predecessor Mathadhipathi Sri Karibasava Swamy was suspended on certain alleged misdeeds by the Commissioner of Endowments and ultimately he was removed from the office of Mathadhipathi by the Commissioner in his proceedings dated 27-1-1986 and the same was confirmed by the Government vide G.O. No. 204 dated 19-2-1986. The said proceeding was challenged in suit O.S. No. 32/86 on the file of the Additional Sub-Court, Anantapur and the suit was decreed holding that theremoval of the predecessor Mathadipathi was illegal. Against the said judgment and decree the Government and Endowment Department filed appeal A. S. No. 1156/88 and the same is said to be pending in this Court for adjudication. I do not find any necessity to refer to these controversial facts pleaded by the contesting panics in any detail nor is there any need to record any finding on the issues which arise for resolution on the basis of the pleadings. It is for the competent Civil Court to decide those issues. For the purpose of disposal of these writ petitions, suffice it to state that there is a serious dispute between the petitioner and the third respondent about their entitlement to succeed to the Peetham as Uttaradhikari of the predecessor Mathadipathi Sri Karibasava swamy and this question as to who between the two should succeed, being a question of title to an office, cannot be decided properly and effectively only on the basis of the affidavits and counter-affidavits in a summary proceeding under Article 226 of the Constitution. Having heard the learned counsel for the parties and perusing the pleadings filed by the parties I find that the pleadings throw serious disputed questions of facts and the resolution of the same is possible only after a due trial of the issues before a competent Civil Court. At any rate, in none of these writ petitions the petitioner has sought for a declaration relating to his entitlement to succeed to the math as Uttaradhikari.

5. On 27-12-1991 the predecessor Matadipathi Sri Karibasava swamy died at Bangalore and his body was brought to Uravakonda and duly cremated after performing prescribed religious rituals. When the matter stood thus, it seems that the manager of the math wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Endowments informing the latter about the demise of the predecessor Matadipathi on 27-12-1991. The Commissioner of Endowments acting on the said letter of the manager of the math passed an order on 28-12-1991 appointing the Deputy Commissioner, Endowments, Kurnool to be incharge of the affairs of the math until further orders. The Commissioner also directed that the manager of the math should assist the Deputy Commissioner, Endow-ments in discharging his duties as per, the Act and the Rules framed thereunder. The validity of the said order of the Commissioner of Endowments is called in question in W. P. No. 2825/92. This Court on 27-2-1992 Suspended the order of the Endowment Commissioner. After this, quite curiously the Endowment Commissioner wrote a letter on 10-3-1992 to the Government expressing his satisfaction that among the contenders to succeed as Uttaradhikari of the departed Matadhipathi, the third respondent herein 'has got a better chance to succeed as Matadhipathi of Sri Gavi math of Uravakonda'. The Government acting on the recommendation of the Endowment Commissioner passed an order G. O. Ms. No. 309 dated 21-3-1992 appointing the third respondent herein as Interim Matadhipathi to look after the religious and spiritual activities of the math pending decision on the succession to the office of the Maladhipathi. The validity of this order of the Government is called in question in W. P. No. 5720/92. This order was also suspended by this Court on 22-6-1992. However, this Court while suspending the order of the Government observed that it was open to the competent authority under the Act to decide the question of succession to the office of the Matadhipathi. After this, the Endowment Commissioner issued notices to the petitioner and the third respondent and they were heard in the matter on 3-8-1992 and 10-8-1992 and ultimately by his proceedings dated 10-8-1992 the Endowment Commissioner passed the order to the following effect:

'Sri Karibasavaswamy, the deceased Matadhipathi has nominated Sri Chenna Basava Swamy of Gadekal as Uttaradhikari on 12-3-1984. Hence I am of the view that there is some force in the claim of Sri Chenna Basava Swamy of Thumkur.

I therefore hereby permit Sri Chenna Basava swamy of Thumkur to perform religious and spiritual functions of the Matadhipathi temporarily in the subject math. Sri Chenna Basava Swamy of Thumkur will not have any right to interfere in the secular administration of the Math.'

6. The petitioner filed W. P. M. P. No. 12973/92 for assailing the validity of the order made by the Endowment Commissioner on 10-8-1992. The said W.P.M.P. was objected to by the third respondent herein on the ground that the order of the Endowment Commissioner dated 10-8-1992 could be assailed only in an independent writ petition. In that view of the matter the validity of the order of the Endowment Commissioner dated 10-8-1992 is assailed in a separate W. P. No. 1496/93. P. L. N. Sarma J. while disposing of W.P.M.P. Nos. 11794, 12978, 3508 and 7247/92 filed by the parties in W. P. No. 5720 and 2825/92 by his common order dt. 12-10-1992 permitted the third respondent herein to discharge the religious functions of the math. The said interim order dated 12-10-1992 is still in operation.

7. Heard Sri R. Venugopal Reddy, the learned senior counsel for the petitioner, Sri K. Venkatramayya, the learned counsel for the third respondent and Sri V.L.N.G.K. Murthy, the learned Government Pleader who appeared on behalf of the learned Advocate General for official respondents. Sri R. Venugopal Reddy, the learned senior counsel and Sri K. Venkatramayya, the learned counsel for the third respondent submitted their arguments on merits quite extensively and requested the Court to give a quietus by declaring who between the petitioner and the third respondent should succeed to the math as the Uttaradhikari of the predecessor Matadhipathi Sri Karibasave swamy. But, as already pointed out supra that question cannot be resolved in the present writ proceedings effectively inasmuch as from the pleadings filed by the parties many disputed pure questions of facts surface for decision and those questions cannot be satisfactorily resolved on the basis of the affidavits and counter-affidavits. Moreover the question being one of title to the office of the Matadhipathi, the proper and effective remedy is only by way of a suit. Touching the legality of the orders passed by the Endowment Commissioner and the Government impugned in these writ petitions, Sri R. Venugopal Reddy, the learned senior counsel would contend that the impugned orders arewithout jurisdiction and ultra vires of the Act. The correctness of this particular submission of Sri Venugopal Reddy, quite understandably and according to me quite rightly, is not contested by Sri K. Venkataramayya, the learned counsel for the third respondent. The learned, Government Pleader, however, would support the impugned actions of the Government and the Endowment Commissioner placing reliance on the provisions of Sections 52, 53 and 54 of the Act.

8. The relevant provisions of the Actwhich have 'fearing' on the arguments advanced by the learned counsel for the partiesbe noted first. Sections 8(1), 52(1), 53 (1) and54 read:

'Section 8. Powers and functions of Commissioner and Additional Commissioner:

(1) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the administration of all Charitable and Hindu Religious institutions and endowments shall be under the general superintendence and control of the Commissioner and such superintendence and control shall include the power to pass any order which may be deemed necessary to ensure that such institutions and endowments are properly administered and their income is duly appropriated for the purposes for which they were found or exist.

Section 52. Filling of temporary vacancies in the office of the mathadhipathi:--

(1) Where a temporasry vacancy occurs in the office of the mathadhipathi and there is a dispute in regard to the right of succession to such office, or where the mathadhipathi is a minor and has no guardian fit and willing to act as guardian, or where the mathadhipathi is under suspension under sub-section (3) of Section 51 the Commissioner shall, if he is satisfied after making an inquiry in this behalf that an arrangement for the administration of the math and its endowment or of the specific endowment, as the case may be, is necessary, make such arrangement as he thinks fit until the disability of the mathadhipathi ceases or another mathadhipathi succeeds to the office, as the case may be.

Section 53. Filling of permanent vacancies in the office of mathadhipathi:

(1) Where a permanent vacancy ocurs in the office of the Matadhipathi, by reason of death or resignation or on account of his removal under Section 51 or otherwise the person next entitled to succeed according to the rule of succession laid down by the founder, or where no such rule is laid down, according to the usage or custom of the math, or where no such usage or custom exists according to the law of succession, for the time being in force, shall with the permission of the Commissioner succeed to the office of the Matadhipathi.

Section 54 : Nomination of matadhipathi:--

(1) Subject to the provisions of Section 53, a matadhipathi may nominate his successor. The fact of such nomination shall be intimated to the Commissioner, within ninety days of such nomination and the Commissioner may recognise such nomination. A nomination shall not be complete unless it is recognised by the Commissioner. The conditions for recognition shall be such as may be prescribed. (2) Where a Matadhipathi fails to nominate his successor under sub-section (1) or where there is no mathadhipathi, the Commissioner or any officer authorised by him shall after due publication convene a meeting with the mathadhipathis of other maths of the same sampradayam and the disciples of the math and recognise the person nominated in such meetings as a matadhipathi subject to the provisions of this Act. The procedure for convening the meeting and method of publication shall be such as may be prescribed.'

At this stage itself it may be noted that the Supreme Court in the case of Sri Sri Sri Lakshmana Yatendrulu v. State of A. P., : [1996]1SCR929 upheld the Constitutional validity of Sections 50 to 55 of the Act.

9. Adverting to the facts of this case, it may be noted that the fact that the predecesor Matadhipathi Sri Karibasava swamy nominated the petitioner as his successor to the office by nomination deed dated 18-6-1975 is not seriously disputed by the third respondent. But, according to the third respondent, the nomination of the petitioner as Uttaradhikari was revoked by Sri Karibasava swamy on 7-4-1981 and he was nominated as Uttaradhikari by Sri Karibasava swamy subsequently on 12-3-1984. The facts relating to revocation of nomination and appointment of the third respondent as Uttaradhikari on 12-3-1984 are seriously disputed by the petitioner. The petitioner also contends that the third respondent does not possess any of the qualifications prescribed under sub-section (2) of Section 53 of the Act and therefore he is not at all qualified to be an Uttaradhikari of the math. Having regard to the claims put-forth by the petitioner and the third respondent, the Endowment Commissioner has two courses open to him under the Act: (i) he, acting under Section 53 of the Act, may examine, in the first instance, whether, as on the date of death of Sri Karibasava Swamy, the petitiner or the third respondent was legally nominated Uttaradhikari and if he finds that either of them was legally nominated Uttaradhikari as on that date, then, he may recognise him as Uttaradhiklarti of the predecessor Matadhipathi; (ii) on the other hand, if the Endowment Commissioner finds that none of them was nominated by the predecessor Matadhipathi to be his Uttaradhikari in accordance with the customs and usage of the math and in accordance with the provisions of Sections 53 and 54, then, he may take necessary steps under sub-section (2) of Section 54 of the Act to nominate a Matadhipathi. The Endowment Commissioner without pursuing these two courses legitimately available to him under the Act has resorted to the acts which could not be sustained in law. The Government too without any authority of law appointed the third respondent as interim Matadhipathi.

10. The argument of Sri R. Venugopal Reddy, the learned senior counsel for the petitioner that neither the Government nor the Endowment Commissioner is armed with the necessary power either under Sec. 53 or under Sec. 54 of the Act to appoint interim Matadhipathi and that Section 52 has no application to the facts of this case iswell-founded.

11. Section 52 provides for filling of temporary vacancies in the office of the Matadhipathi. Sub-section (1) of Section 52 enumerates the circumstances in which the office of the Matadhipathi temporarily falls vacant and the Endowment Commissioner can validly invoke his power under this subsection under the following three circumstances:.(i) where a temporary vacancy occurs in the office of the Matadhipathi and there is a dispute in regard to the right of succession to such office; (ii) where the Matadhipathi is a minor and has no guardian fit and willing to act as guardian; and (iii) where the Matadhipathi is under suspension under sub-section (3) of Section 51 of the Act. Section 53 deals with filling of permanent vacancies in the office of the Matadhipathi. Succession to the office should be according to the rule of succession laid down by the founder, or where no such rule is laid down, according to the usage or custom of the math and it should be with the permission of the Endowment Commissioner. The regulation under sub-section (1) of Sec. 53 viz., permission of the Commissioner for the succession to the office of the Matadhipathi, is only to ensure that the nominee possesses the qualifications prescribed in sub-section (2) and the nominee does not suffer from any of the disqualifications mentioned in Section 51(1) of the Act and such person alone would succeed to the office. Section 54 deals with nomination of the Matadhipathi. The Matadhipathi may himself nominate his successor. The predecessor Matadhipathi should keep in mind the prohibited grounds enumerated in sub-section (1) of Section 5! and qualifications mentioned in Section 53(2) of the Act before he nominates the successor. The predecessor Matadhipathi is the best person to adjudge among his disciples or any other persons, the most fitting person eminently suited to succeed him, and he would be actuated solely with religious fervour and capacity of his successor to properly and efficiently manage the endowment in accordance with the established traditions, customs and Sampradayams. If the predecessor Matadhipathi fails to nominate his successorunder sub-section (1) of Section 54 or where there is no Matadhipathi, the Endowment Commissioner or any, officer authorised by him is armed with necessary power to take steps under sub-section (2) of Section 54 to nominate a person as a Matadhipathi after convening a meeting of the Matadhipathis of other maths of the same Sampradayarn and the disciples of the math. The Endowment Commissioner or his deputy shall consult and obtain the opinion of eminent persons in the field of religious philosophy and Sampradayarn to which the math belongs to satisfy himself that the nominee possesses the prescribed qualifications under sub-section (2) of Section 53 and is not disqualified under Section 51(2).

12. In the back-drop of these statutory provisions, let me now consider the legal contentions of the learned counsel for the parties. It is nobody's case that there is temporary vacancy in the office of the Matadhipathi of Gavimath. The predecessor Matadhipathi Sri Karibasava swamy died on 27-12-!991. Both the petitioner and the third respondent claim that they were nominated as Uttaradhikari in accordance with the custom, usage and Sampradayams of the math during the lifetime of the predecessor Matadhipathi and as on the date of death of the predecessor Matadhipathi they were functioning as' Matadhipathi. In other words, what they say is that the vacancy in the office of the Matadhipathi never arose. It is also not the case of the official respondents that with the death of Sri Karibasava swamy, the predecessor Matadhipathi the vacancy in the office of Matadhipathi arose. On the other hand, even according to the Endowment Commissioner, as could be seen from the impugned order dt. 10-8-1992, the third respondent was nominated on 12-3-1984 as Uttaradhikari by Sri Karibasava swamy. If that is so, there is absolutely no scope for invoking the power granted to the Endowment Commissioner under Section 52 of the Act. Under Section 52 of the Act, the Endowment Commissioner has the power to make an arrangement for the administration of the math only under three circumstances, and none others. Alternatively, it may he noted that even assuming that thenomination of the petitioner or the third respondent as Uttaradhikari was irregular and invalid as on the date of the demise of Sri Karibasava swamy and consequently a nullity in the eye of law, then, it would be a case of a permanent vacancy in the office of Matadhipathi. If a permanent vacancy occurs, Section 52 has no application and the filling of permanent vacancy in the office of the Matadhipathi is governed by the provisions of Sections 53 and 54 of the Act. 13. The Endowment Commissioner byhis order dated 28-12-1991 impugned in W. P. No. 2825 of 1992 appointed the Deputy Commissioner, Endowments, Kurnool to be incharge of the affairs of the Gavimath and by his order dt. 10-8-1992 impugned in W. P. No. 1496/93 permitted the third respondent herein to perform only religious and spiritual functions of the Matadhipathi. In the latter order, the Endowment Commissioner has further directed that the third respondent shall not have any right to interfere in the secular administration of the math. The effect of these two orders is to detach the personal beneficial interest of the Matadhipathi sanctioned by customs, usages and Sampradayams from that office and thereby reducing the status of the Matadhipathi to that of a poojari in a temple. The Endowment Commissioner has done this despite he being of the tentative opinion that the third respondent was validly nominated by the predecessor Matadhipathi as his Uttaradhikari and he was functioning as such on the date of demise of the predecessor Matadhipathi. A Matadhipathi has not only dudes to discharge in connection with the endowment but he has a personal interest of a beneficial character which is sanctioned by custom and Sampradayam. The Supreme Court in the Commissioner, Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras v. Sri Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar of Sri Shirur Mutt, : [1954]1SCR1005 observed paras 11 and 12 as under:

'11..... Thus in the conception ofMahantship, as in Shebaitship, both the elements of office and property, of duties and personal interest are blended together and neither can be detached from the other. Thepersonal or beneficial interest of till Mahant in the endowments attached to an institution is manifested in his large powers of disposal and administration and his right to create derivative tenures in respect of endowed properties; and these and other rights of a similar character invest the office of the Mahant with the character of proprietary right which, though anomalous to some extent, is still a genuine legal right.

12..... It is true that the beneficialinterest which he enjoys is appurtenant to his duties and as he is in charge of a public institution, reasonable restrictions can always be placed upon his rights in the interest of the public. But the restrictions would cease to be reasonable if they are calculated to make him unfit to discharge the duties which he is called upon to discharge. A Mahant's duty is not simply to manage the temporalities of a Math. He is the head and superior of spiritual fraternity and the purpose of Math, is to encourage and foster spiritual training by maintenance of a competent line of teachers who could impart religious instructions to disciples and followers of the Math and try to strengthen the doctrines of the particular school or order, of which they profess to be adherents. This purpose cannot be served if the restrictions arc such as would bring the Matadhipathi down to the level of a servant under a State department. It is from this standpoint that the reasonableness of the restrictions should be judged.'

Further the Supreme Court in Sri Sri Sri Lakshmana Yatendrulu v. State of A. P., : [1996]1SCR929 was pleased to observe (at p. 1421 of AIR):

'In the concept of mathadipathi, both the elements, of power to hold property and duty to properly maintain it are blended and neither can be detached from the other. The Mahant, therefore, as the spiritual head of the math is entrusted with the administration and management of the math or the specific endowment. The personal or beneficial interest of the Mahant in the endowment attached to the math is manifested in his powerof administration and disposal of the property. His fight to administer and manage the property endowed to the math and other rights of similar character arc vested in the office of the Mahant and, therefore, they arc legal rights attached to the management and the administration of the property endowed to the math. He holds the office by custom and usage of the institution. He acts for the benefit of the institution of which he is the head.'

In view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court the impugned orders parsed by the Endowment Commissioner cannot be sustained law. At this stage itself. I am constrained to point out that the latest order of the Endowment Commissioner dt. 10-8-1992 has the effect of scuttling the effect of the interim order made by this Court on 27-2-1992 suspending his order dated 28-12-1991. By his order dated 28-12-1991 the Endowment Commissioner has appointed the Deputy Commissioner, Endowment, Kurnool to be incharge of the math and when that order was suspended and that interim order of this Court was in operation, the Endowment Commissioner revived his order dt/-28-12-1991 by directing the third respondent that he shall not have any right to interfere in secular administration of the math. This is highly objectionable. It is quite often emphasized by the Courts that the orders made by the competent Courts, so long they operate, should be respected and obeyed by the parties and they cannot be permitted, directly or indirectly, to meddle with the operation of those orders. We do not know whether the Endowment Commissioner did this deliberately or out of inadvertance and non-application of mind. Be that as it may, I trust that these observations are enough for the Endowment Commissioner to reflect on his objectionable action. It is trusted that he would not give any scope for such complaint hereafterwards.

14. The Endowment Commissioner has not indicated source of his power to pass the two orders impugned in the two writ petitions. However, the learned Government Pleader traces the power of the EndowmentCommissioner to Sections 52 (1) and S. 8 of the Act. I have already held supra that Section 52 has no application to the facts of this case. Section 8 deals with the general powers'-and functions of the Endowment Commissioner and Additional Endowment Commissioner. It provides that subject to other provisions of the Act, the Endowment Commissioner shall have the power to pass any order which may be deemed necessary to ensure that the Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments are properly administered and their income is duly appropriated for the purposes for which they were found or exist. Sections 52, 53 and 54 specifically deal with filling of temporary and permanent vacancies in the office of the Matadhipathi. The general powers of superintendence and control granted to the Endowment Commissioner under Section 8 of the Act are subject to the other provisions of the Act. In other words, the power ghranted to the Endowment Commissioner under Section 8 are subject to the provisions of Sections 52,53 and 54 of the Act. The provisions of Section 8 are general provisions whereas the provisions of Sections 52, 53 and 54 are special provisions. When an Act contains a general enactment relating to the whole subject matter of the statute, and also a specific and particular enactment relating to certain special matters, the general enactment should yield to the particular or specific enactment. Since Sections 52, 53 and 54 deal specifically with filling of temporary and permanent vacancies in the office of Matadhipathi, the Endowment Commissioner is required to act under those provisions only within the limitations specified in those sections and he cannot resort to the general provisions contained under Section 8 of the Act.

15. The other argument of the learned Government Pleader, placing reliance on the decisions of the Supreme Court in Savitri v. Govind Singh Rawat, : 1986CriLJ41 and Khargram Panchayat Samiti v. State of West Bengal 0065/1987 : [1987]2SCR1207 and certain passages from the book, Statutory Interpretation (Second Edition) by Francis Bennion, that the power to maketemporary arrangement to carry on the affairs of the math is an incidental or ancilliary power of the power conferred upon the Endowment Commissioner under Secs.53 and 54 of the Act is also not well-founded. Section 53 does not empower the Endowment Commissioner to nominate or appoint a person as Matadhipathi. A Matadhipathi has to be appointed or nominated according to the rule of succession laid down by the founder, or where no such rule is laid down according to the usage or custom of the math or according to the law of succession for the time being in force. However, such nomination or appointment should be made with the permission of the Endowment Commissioner. Sub-section (2) of Section 54 also docs not arm the Endowment Commissioner or his Deputy to appoint a Matadhipathi. On the other hand sub-section (2) of Sec. 54 mandates the Commissioner or his Deputy to recognise the person nominated in the meeting of the Matadhipathis of other maths of the same Sampradayam and disciplies of the math. Even assuming that the power of recognition vested in the Endowment Commissioner should be equated to the power of appointment, even then that stage is not yet reached. The Endowment Commissioner has not yet taken any steps under sub-section (2) of Section 54 of the Act to find an Uttaradhikari to the math. The decisions cited by the learned Government Pleader are out of context. It is not a case where the Court should endeavour to find out an implied power vested in the Endowment Commissioner to make arrangements for administration of the math or to fill up temporary or permanent vacancies in the office of the Matadhipathi. The Act itself contemplates all these situations and it advisedly enacts provisions vesting necessary power in the Endowment Commissioner to make arrangements for the administration of the math and lays down the procedure to fill up temporary and permanent vacancies in the office of the Matadhipathi under Ss. 52, 53 and 54 of the Act. Therefore, there is no necessity to deduce something which is explicit and apparent.

16. Lastly the order of the Government in G. O. Ms. No. 309 Revenue (Endts. II)Department dated 21-3-1992 impugned in W.P.No. 5720/1992; should be held to be one without jurisdiction. (The learned Government Pleader is not in a position to trace the power of the Government to pass the impugned order appointing the third respondent as interim Matadhipathi. It is well-settled that when a public authority exercises a power that power should be traced to an authority granted by law. The Government has passed the impugned order on the basis of the recommendation of the Endowment Commissioner contained in his letter dt. 10-3-1992. It is a clear case where the Endowment Commissioner has abdicated a statutory power vested in him in favour of the Government for the reasons best known to him. Therefore, I hold that the order of the Government dated 21-3-1992 is nullity in the eye of law.

17. In the result and for the foregoing reasons, writ petitions are allowed and the impugned orders are quashed. In the facts and circumstances of the case the parties are directed to bear their own costs.

18. It is made clear that this order shall not come in the way of the Endowment Commissioner taking steps in accordance with law and in exercise of powers granted to him under the Act and in the light of the observations contained in this judgment. All interim orders stand vacated with the disposal of the writ petitions.

19. Petitions allowed.


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