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Sri Anjaneya Swami Temple, Nandikotkur Vs. Baddula Lakshmiah and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetter Patent Appeal No. 230 of 1977
Judge
Reported inAIR1982AP300
ActsAndhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Inams (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1956 - Sections 3, 3(3) and 17; Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Inams (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Rules - Rule 3
AppellantSri Anjaneya Swami Temple, Nandikotkur
RespondentBaddula Lakshmiah and ors.
Appellant AdvocateR. Venugopal Reddy and ;V.N. Reddy, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateP.Kodandaramayya, Adv.
Excerpt:
property - title - sections 3, 3 (3), and 17 of andhra pradesh (andhra area) inams (abolition and conversion into ryotwari) act, 1956 and rule 3 of andhra pradesh (andhra area) inams (abolition and conversion into ryotwari) rules - matter related to possession of agricultural land consisting of one temple - title deed of temple was granted to plaintiff and defendants no. 4 and his father was allowed to enjoy income of land in lieu of services rendered by them to temple as archakas by inam commissioner - after the enforcement of andhra pradesh inam act, 1956 was enquiry made and patta granted in favour of temple - predecessors in interest of 4th defendant were held as hereditary archakas who sold suit land in favor of defendants 1 and 2 which led to disputes regarding possession between.....ramachandra raju, j.1. the appeal is directed against the judgment of our learned brother jeevan reddy, j. dated 1-9-1977 in appeal no. 29/75 confirming the decree of the additional subordinate judge, kurnool, in o.s. no. 98/68 dismissing the suit with costs.2. the subject-matter of the suit is ac. 29-65 cents of agricultural land comprised in s. nos. 625 and 594 of nandikotkur in kurnool district. the plaintiff sri anjaneyaswami temple, represented by its executive officer, claimed title to the property on the basis that the title of the temple has been recognised by the inam commissioner who granted title deed no. 2793; that the 4th defendant and his father pullaiah were allowed to enjoy the income of the land in lieu of the services rendered by them; neither the 4th defendant nor his.....
Judgment:

Ramachandra Raju, J.

1. The appeal is directed against the judgment of our learned brother Jeevan Reddy, J. dated 1-9-1977 in Appeal No. 29/75 confirming the decree of the Additional subordinate judge, Kurnool, in O.S. No. 98/68 dismissing the suit with costs.

2. The subject-matter of the suit is Ac. 29-65 cents of agricultural land comprised in S. Nos. 625 and 594 of Nandikotkur in Kurnool District. The plaintiff Sri Anjaneyaswami Temple, represented by its Executive Officer, claimed title to the property on the basis that the title of the temple has been recognised by the Inam Commissioner who granted title deed No. 2793; that the 4th defendant and his father Pullaiah were allowed to enjoy the income of the land in lieu of the services rendered by them; neither the 4th defendant nor his father Pullaiah was the hereditary Archakas; after the enforcement of the Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Inams Abolition Act, 1956, the Inam Tahsildar, after due enquiry, granted a patta in favour of the temple; the predecessors -in-interest of the 4th defendant sold the suit land in favour of defendants 1 and 2 which led to disputes regarding the possession between the the temple on the one hand and the defendants on the other hand; in proceedings under Section 145, Cr. P.C. the 3rd defendant was held to be in possession of the property at the material date. The suit was, therefore, filed for a declaration of the plaintiff's title and for recovering possession thereof together with profits.

3. Defendants 2 and 4 remainded exparte. During the pendency of the suit, the 4 the defendant died and his legal representatives were brought on record as defendants 5 and 6. Defendants 1 and 3 contested the suit claiming that the land was granted as a personal inam to the predecessors -in-interst of the 4th defendant who were the hereditary Archakas of the temple and the plaintiff-temple is not the owner of the property; defendants 1 and 2 have purchased the land and the 3rd defendant is in possession as a lessee; the order of the Inam Tahsildar dated 30-4-1959 is without jurisdiction and not binding on the 4th defendant.

4. The Additional Subordinate Judge, Kurnool, held that the grant is a personal inam made in favour of the Archakas for rendering service to the temple; the alienations made in favour of defendants 1 and 2 are invalid as it is in respect of an inam burdened with service but it is for the Government to resume the inam; the plaintiff temple has no title to the suit property and was, therefore, not entitled to recover possession or profits. He did not record any finding regarding the validity and binding nature of the proceedings of the inam Tahsildar under the Inam Abolititon Act, 1956.

5. In the appeal, two principal submissions have been made before our learned brother -- one relating to the merits and the other relating to the effect of the proceedings under the Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Inam Abolititon Act, 1956. Our learned brother held on merits that the predominant intention of the grant was to grant a personal inam in favour of the Archakas and that in any event the inam title deed is not wholly or emphatically in favour of the plaintiff-temple. He further held that the order of the Inam Tahsilar did not preclude the civil Court from investigating or enquiring into the question of title and felt it unnecessary to consider whether the said order is void or ineffective for the various reasons put forward on behalf of the contesting defendants. Before us, Mr. Venugopala Reddy, appearing for the plaintiff-temple and Mr. Kodandarammayya, appearing for the contesting defendants have reiterated the same submissions.

6. The question of title has to be answered primarily on an interpretation of two documents, viz., the Inam Fair Register extract (Ex A-12) and the Inam Title Deed No.2793 (ex. A-1). The relevant information furnished in Ex. A-12 including the columns under which the various information appears is extracted.

Ex A-1 which is the title deed No. 2793 reads:

'Granted to the Manager for the time being of the Pagoda of Anjaneyaswami.

1. On behalf of the Governor in Counsil of Madras, I acknowledge your title to a Devadayam or Pagoda Inam situated in the village of Nandikotkur in the Taluk of Nandikotkur in the district of Kurnool claimed to be of acres (Thirty one) 31 -12 dry land and held for the support of the above pagoda in that village.

2. This Inam is confirmed to you and your successors Tax -free; to be held without interference so long as the conditions of the grant are duly fulfilled.'

7. The question whether the grant is to an institution represented by its manager or to a named individual who fills a certain character is often a difficult one. Three constrictions are possible' first, that the religious trust was intended to attach to the whole property in which case the archakas hold it in trust for the deity, secondly, that it was intended to attach to a part of it; in other words, that the gift was to the archakas burdened with service; that the gift was intended to be annexed to the archaka office. The question is one of construction, depending in each case upon the terms of the particular instrument. (vide Hindu Religious Endowments v. Koteswara Rao (AIR 1937 Mad 852) and Sami Ayyangar v. Venkataramana Ayyangar (AIR 1934 Mad 381).

________________________________________________________________________________Column -2. General Class to which the inam belongs. Personal.Column -8 Description of Inam. If for Service it is to be For the support of the worshipper of thestated whether the service is continued. If pagoda of Anjanyaswami in Nandikotk-for temples, buildings etc., whether they are ur. Now efficiently kept up. Service isefficiently kept up. Being performed.Column -9 Tenure. Whether free of tax. Tax free. Column-10 Hereditary, unconditional for life only or for Permanent.two or more lives.Column-11 By whom granted and in what year. Blank.Column -12 Written instruments in support of the claim. Zamin Zada Fasli 1242 PalmashChitta Fasli 1257.Column -13 Name of the original grantee.Column -14 Name entered in the Register prepared in The name of Nambi Ramanna appearsaccordiance with Regulation 31 of 1802 or in partly under Col. 13and partly in Col. 14.the permanent settlement accounts; and rela tionship of persons so entered to originalgrantee.Column -15 Name entered in the survey or in any subse Anjenayaswami.quent accounts; and relationship to predecessors Column -16 Name and age Nandikotkur Anjeneya Swami Worshipper Nambi Venkataramudu40. Column -17 Place of residence. (This information appears partlyunder Col. 16 and partly under Col. 17. Column -18 Relation to original grantee or subsequent Blank.registered holders. Column -19 Surviving heirs of the present incumbent. Blank.Column -20 If unconnected with the original holders. Blank.Possession how obtained and in what years. Column -21 The Deputy Collector's opinions and recom To be confirmedunder Rule III endation. Clause one Tax free. Sd/- . A. Sudershan Rao, Dy. Collector27-5-61. Column -22 The decision of the Inam Commissioner or his Confirmed.Assistant. Sd/- A. Seshaiah, Spl. Assistant, 8-10-61. T. D.No. 2793.

8. The following extracts is the settled law regarding the importance to be given to the Inam Fair Register ever since the Privy Council rendered its decision in Arunachallam Chetty v. Venkatachala pathi (37 Mad LJ 460): (AIR 1919 PC 62):

' It is true that the making of this Register was for the ultimate purpose of determining whether or not the lands were tax free. But it must not be forgotten that the preparation of this Register was a great act of State, and its preparation and contents were the subject of much consideration under elaborately detailed reports and minutes. IT is to be remembered that the Inam Commissioner through their officials made enquiry on the spot, heard evidence and examined documents, and with regard to each individual property the Government was put in possession not only of the conclusion come to as to whether the land was tax free, but of a statement of the history and tenure of the property itself. While their Lordships do not doubt that such a report would not displace actual and authentic evidence in individual cases; yet the Board, when such is not available cannot fail to attach the utmost importance, as part of the history of the property to the information set forth in the Ianm Register'.

In the same decision is also extracted Rule III, Clause I. Tax Free being part of Order 116 printed at page 211 of the Standing Orders of the Board of Revenue:

'If the Inam was given for the religious or charitable objects, such as for the support of temples, mosques and other public buildings or institutions; or for services therein, whether held in the of the institutions or of the persons rendering the services, it will be continued to the present holders and their successors, and will not be subject to further interference so long as the buildings or institutions are maintained in an efficient state and the services continue to be performed according to the conditions of the grant'.

With the aforesaid preface, we now proceed to examine the various entries made in Exs. A-1 and A-12 to determine the intention of the grantor and the nature of the grant; whether the grant was made to the Pagoda of Anjaneyaswami; whether the grant was made for the support of the Pagoda by way of remunerating the worshipper of the temple with the income arising therefrom or where the grant was made to the Archaka attaching to the grant the burden chaka attaching to the grant the burden of service to be rendered to the deity.

9. The original grant is not available. The inam statement filed during enquiry is not also available. The tenure of the inam is no doubt tax free. What then is the information set forth in the inam register which have any history if the property which is the subject-matter of the inam.

10. We do not get any information from Ex. A-12 as to who granted the inam and in what year. In the absence of the original grant, information regarding the persons in whose favour the original grant was made could not also have been available before the Inam Commissioner. The name of Nabi Ramana appears partly under Column 13 and partly under Col. 14. On a fair interpretation of the entries made under these columns, we hold that the name of Nambi Ramanna has to be read as falling under Col. 14. His name would have appeared in the register prepared in accordance with Regulation 31 of 1802 or in the permanent settlement accounts. The circumstances that there is no information regarding the relationship of Nambi Ramana to the original grantee also points to the conclusion that Nambi Ramanna could not have been the original grantee. By the year of survey, however, which preceded the Inam Commissioner's enquiry, it was Anjaneya Swami's name that was entered under Cl. 15. There could not have been any relationship between Anjaneyaswami's title to the inam in question and not that of either Nambi Ramana whose name appeared in the register prepared in accordance with Regulation 31 of 1802 or Nambi Venkataramudu, aged 40, who was by the date of the Inam Commissioner's enquiry, performing the Archakatvam service in the temple. That is why the particular of Nambi Venkatramudu were given as worshipper below Nadikotkur Anjaneyaswami, whose name is mentioned under Col. 16. It is pursuant to this conclusion arrived at by the Ianm Commissioner that when the title deed Ex. A-1 came to be issued, it was granted to he Manager for the time being of the Pagoda of Anjaneyaswami.

11. Our learned brother considered the circumstances viz., the grant f the tile deed to the Manager for the time being of the Pagoda of Anjaneyaswami; the recital made therein acknowledging the recital made therein acknowledging the title of the aforesaid Manager to a Devadayam or Pagoda Inam as being held for the support of the above Pagada in that village as indicating the title of the temple to the land in question. He however, considered para 2 of the title deed as supporting the archaka's title to the property. area 2 of the title deed consists of two parts, the first being that the Inam is confirmed ' to you and your successors' and the second being ' to be held without interference so long as the conditions of the grant are duly fulfilled'. We fail to see how the first part of para 2 of the Inam title deed is issued in favour of the Manager for the time being of the temple, the reference made ' to successors' in the context only indicates that the Inam is confirmed permanently. The first part of para 2 of the title deed cannot, therefore, be treated as a circumstance militating in any manner against the temple's title to the property. The second part of para 2 of the title deed has to be read in conjuction with 'confirmed' appearing in Col. 22 of the Inam Fair Register. IN Koteswara Rao's case (AIR 1927 Mad 852) (supra) the Madras High Court had occasion to consider a number of inam fair register extracts and title deeds in a batch of appeals. It was held:

' It may here be observed that having regard to the scheme of the register, the most decisive entries are those appearing in Cols. 13 to 16, for, it is here that provision is made for the entering of the name of the grantee, as shown in the relevant ancient records at different stages from the date of the grant to the date of the preparation of the register this period covering in some cases more than a century. Again a distinction has been sought to be made on the basis of the entries in Col. 21. The phraseology of the Deputy Collector's recommendation was not uniform. IN some cases it merely ran 'to be confirmed; in certain cases, the language used was ' to be confirmed and continued so long as the service is regularly performed'. That no difference was in fact intended in shown by a comparison of the registers in CMAs. Nos, 299 and 120 of 1934. The entries in the statement and those in the register in CMA No. 299 of 1934 make it perfectly clear that the grant made to the deity the recommendation in Col . 21 there was ' to be confirmed'. In CMA No. 120 of 1934 the admissions of the previous archakas and the entries in the register likewise show indubitably that the grant was ' to be confirmed'. In CMA No. 120 of 1934 the admissions of the previous archakas and the entries in the register likewise show indubitably that the grant was intended to be to the deity, but in Col.21 we find that the recommendation, although based on data similar to what existed in the previous case, was differently worded which fact shows, as already stated, that this difference in the phraseology is immaterial'.

The Supreme Court in Lakshmi Narasimha Chari v. Agastheswaraswamivaru : [1960]2SCR768 after considering Koteswara Rao's case (AIR 1937 Mad 852) (supra) and some other case decided by the Madras High Court. Observed:

'This distinction was prominently brought out between the words ' to be confirmed so long as the service is performed' and ' to be confirmed to the party so long as the continues the performance of the service'. The latter was held to be a personal grant and the former was not so held'.

The recommendation of the Deputy Collector under Col. 21 was merely to confirm the Inam under Col 21 was merely to confirm the Inam under Rule III, Clause tax free. It was that recommendation that was accepted by the Special Assistant and Inam was confirmed. We have earlier extracted the specific R. III which takes alike in its ambit grants given for a religious object such as support of temples or for service therein, whether held in the names of the institutions or of the persons rendering the services. IN terms of that Rule, the Inam was to be continued to the present holders and their successors so long as the institution is maintained in an efficient state and the services continued to be performed according to the conditions of the grant. Para 2 of the Inam title deed does not detract in any manner from the title of the temple to the Inam recognised by the Inam Commissioner. We, therefore, find ourselves unable to approve of the reasoning given by our learned brother that para 2 of the Inam title deed supports the title to the archaka in any manner. In Narasimhulu v. Rachamalla Chinna Ramaiah (1955 (1) Andh WR 293), Subba Rao, C.J., (as he then was ) observed:

'The words 'so long as the service was performed' in the context can only mean so long as the temple was maintained as an institution by performing the necessary service'.

12. In Sri Vallabharanaswami Varu of Swarna v. Deevi Hanumacharulu : AIR1969AP392 , a Division Bench of this Court held that it is the Inam title deed which prevails over any other revenue accounts as its is the source of title. After considering some decisions noticed therein, they have deduced the following conclusions (at p. 397)

'Though the inam is described as Devadayam, it is not conclusive of the fact that it was granted to the deity but it merely indicates that it is for a religious purpose. Unless the grant is made in favour of the Deity or the Manager for the time being, as representing the temple, it cannot be considered as a grant to the Deity. The mere fact that Col. 22 of the Inam Fair Register does not mention the name of the individual in whose favour the inam is to be confirmed does not conclude the matter in view of the fact that Col. 21 of the Inam Fair Register contains a clear recommenced to an individual. The recommendations contained in the Inam Fair Register have to be read along with the recitals in the main title deed which was issued as a result of the inam proceedings'.

In the case on had, the inam title deed is in favour of the Manager for the time being, as representing the temple. The entries in the Inam Fiar Register Cannot, therefore, be construed as indication any grant made to the archakas.

13. We now proceed to examine the entries made in the Inam Fair Register and see whether any of those entries support the title of the archakas to the property. Col. 2 describes the general class of the inam as 'personal'. Col. 8 mentioned that the inam was granted for the support of the worshipper of the pagada. In Venkayya v. Sriramamurthy (AIR 1957 Andh Pra 53). A division Bench of this Court had considered the meaning to be given to the terms 'granted for rendering service such as archaka etc., to the deity' and 'devadayam service Inam granted for the offering and lamp-lighting service rendered property' which appeared in a Devadayam account prepared by the temple. IT was held that such recitals cannot form the basis of any view that the grant was for the performance of the archakatvam service. They explain only the objects of the grant. They are general purposes and only mean they were endowed for the support of the temple. We have earlier given reasons why the name of Nambi Ramanna should be read as falling under Col. 14. If Nambi Ramanna was found to be in possession at the time the register was prepared in accordance with Regulation 31 of 1802 or in the permanent settlement account, that cannot, by itself, be relied upon as establishing that Nambi Ramanna was in possession in his own right. He could have been in his own right. He could have been in possession as the worshipper during the time those registers were prepared. When we come to Cols. 16 and 17, the name of Nambi Venkataramudu appear only as a worshipper of Nadikotkur Anjaneyaswami and its was Anjaneyaswami's name that was entered in the survey accounts. As held in Venkayya v. Srirama Murthy (supra) 'such mention of the name of archaka was in possession of the inam and enjoying the same ................. It is likely that the archakas were in possession of the lands on behalf of the temple and were appropriating the income therefore to themselves and rendering service.' It is evident that at the time of the inquiry there were no trustees to the temple and archakas were in charge of the temple and this explains the entry under Col. 16. The only entry that can, therefore, be said to be in favour of the archakas is that the general class of the inam was described as 'personal' . But this entry has to be read along with the description of the inam as Devadayam or Pagoda Inam in the title deed. The description of the Inam as Devadayam or Pagoda Inam has to be given preference over the classification of the inam as 'personal' shown in the Inam Fair Registers.

14. It will be difficult indeed to find a precedent which has considered a slight discrepancy such as this in the entries made in the Inam Fair Register and in the Inam title Deed. We have examined in detail the cases relied upon by Mr. Kodandaramayya where the entries were held to support the claim made by archakas. In Tirumalai Tirupati Kovil Kandadai Sriranga Chariar v. Pranatharthihara Chariar (30 Ind Cas 74): (AIR 1916 Mad 331) the inam was confirmed to the defendants; family at the time of the inam settlement. The inam Registers showed that they had been granted for service as Acharyapursha in the Tirumalai Tirupati Devastanam so long as the service should be rendered, and the title deed acknowledges the title of the grantee to a devadayam or pagoda inam service 'for the support of the pagoda called service of Acharyapurusha in the said temple'.

15. In Jakkamreddi Seshadu Reddi v. S. Subrahmania Aiyer (AIR 1923 Mad 163) the title deed confirmed the inam in the name of Lakshmakka and her successors, the grant having been made in favour of Papiah, husband of Lakshmakka in respect of Item No. 6 for making ornaments to the deity concerning Item No.7, the inam was recommended to be confirmed in the name of Pedda Reddi and Subba Reddi for doing the service of sweeping and making wicks for the lamps of the temple and other deities. In respect of item No. 2, the original grant was in favour of Jakkamreddi Subba Reddi through in the Inam Fair Register the name of the original grantee was entered as Sri Chenna Keswara Sami and the title deed was issued in favour of the Manager for the time being of the pagoda of Sri Chennakeswarawmivaru. The grant was construed to have been made in the name of a named individual burdened with the trust of doing certain services for the temple.

16. In Tripura Sundaramma v. Secy, of State A(IR 1928 Mad 282) the grant was made by a Moghul sovereign infavour of Sheik Ibrahim for the performance of certain rites in the mosque. It was, therefore, held that the suit inam was only a service inam and did not belong to the mosque. The Inam Fair Register in giving the history of the inam, made a mention of the original grant and recommended that the inam be continued for the purpose originally contemplated subject to the payment of the annual kattubadi. The order of the Inam commissioner under Col. 22 was 'continued accordingly'.

17. In Roman Catholic Mission v. State of Madras : [1966]3SCR283 the inam was granted in ancient times by the Rulers and they were held for the performance of puja in Sri Meenakshi Sundarswaral Devasthanam, Madurai. The Inam Fair Register did not mention the name of the original grantee which it would have if the grant was personal. The names of the two Bhattars are entered but as Sthanikams of Pagoda Meenakshi Sundareshwaral and the inam is described as Devadayam for the archkal service, that is to say, of puja parchakram in the temple and its is stated that the Inam Commissioner confirmed the inam. The Supreme Court relied upon the circumstance that if would have been shown as ''Brahmadayam' and 'hereditary'. In Sri Vallabharanaswami Varu of Swarna v. Deevi Hanumacharyulu : AIR1969AP392 (supra) the Inam Fair register Extract described the inam as Devadayam and the name of the grantee was shown as Sri Vallabharajaswami Varu enjoyed by archakulu. The recommendation of the Deputy Collector is that the inam be confirmed to persons rendering archakam and akhandam service to the temple for the time being under Rules 3 and 27. The final decision of the Inam Commissioner was that the inam is confirmed so long as the service of the Pagoda is efficiently kept up. The inam title deed was, however, granted to Deevi Banumacharyulu and it was the said Vallabhacharylu's title that was acknwoledgmed by the Governor-in-Council of Madras. It is thus to be seen that in all these cases cited by Mr. Kodandaramayya, there is definite material establishing the title of the service-holders. Mr. Kodandaramayya cannot, therefore rely on these decisions in support of his submission that the grant in this case was a service grant made in favour of the archakas.

18. We have, in the course, of our discussion in the previous paras, referred to some of the cases where the grant was construed as having been made in favour of the temple and it is unnecessary to refer to them over again.

19. In Arunachallam Chetty v. Venkatachlapathi (AIR 1919 PC 62) (supra), the inam register entries showed the grant to be in favour of the trustees of the endowment. In M. Srinivasacharyulu v. D. Pratyanga Rao (AIR 1921 Mad 467) certain grants which were construed as inams in favour of the deity and certain other gifts made in favour of archakas for rendering services in the temple were construed as inams granted to the archakas burdened with service.

20. In Basavayya v. Teerthaswamulu Varu (1950) 2 Mad LJ (607): (AIR 1951 Mad 411), the grant was construed as one made in favour of the deity, the Uttaradi Mut swamigal being merely the manager for the time begin.

21. In Satyanarayana v. Venkatapayya : [1953]4SCR1001 the Inam, Fair Register and the Inam statement which were exhibited in the case clearly indicated that the inam grant was made in favour of the temple.

In Narayana Bhagwatrao Gosavi v. Gopal Vinayak Gosavi : [1960]1SCR773 the grants were construed as having been made in favour of the deity.

22. In the Inam-B Register, the lands stood registered as Devadayam in the name of Sri Anjaneyaswami. The name of pujari Ramayya appears below the name of the temple as the person maintaining the temple (Ex A-2). The appearance of the name of archaka has to yield to the same explanation which we have given regarding the appearance of the name of archaka below the name of the deity under Cols. 16 and 17 of the Inam Fair Register extract. In the 10-I Account (Ex. A-3), the information given was Sri Anjaneyaswami temple service. Ex. A-11 is a register maintained by the endowments Department under S. 21 of 1956. The suit land appears in that register as one of the temple properties and in the possession of the archaka. At page 15 of the register, the following entry appears:

'Pullaiah, the archaka is rendering service and enjoying land in lieu of wages. There is no hereditary service as such'.

Besides the signature of the trustee, we also find this entry signed by Pujani Pullaiah. This Register was marked during trial by sonent. The Inams Abolition Ac No. 37 of 1956 come into force on 26-9-1956. Nandikotkur is a ryotwari village. In terms of S. 4 of the Act, the temple shall be entitled to a ryotwari patta if the land is held by the temple on the date of commencement of the Act and if the land is held by an inamdar other than and institution, he shall be netitled to a ryotwari patta depending upon whether the land had been earlier leased out by him in favour of others or not. Evidently because of this Inams Abolition Act, the then Trustee would appear to have taken the precaution of obtaining the signature of Pujari Pullaiah also in the register Ex. A-11. This signature subscribed by Pujari Pullaiah constitutes in admission, a valuable piece of evidence, to indicate that he recognised the tittle of the template to the property. For the first time on 17-9-1958, Yathirajam Pullaiah claiming to be the archaka in the temple and as the Inamdar for the land in question, applied before the Inam Tahsildhar for the grant of a ryotwari patta in his name. On 30-4-1959, as the Special Deputy Tahsildar reached a provisional conclusion that the inam belongs to the temple and that notice would be issued to the claimant Yathirajam Pulliah in due course (Ex. B-7) Yathirajam Jagannathamayya sold away the suit lands to defendants 1 and 2 for a total consideration of Rs. 15,000/- under Exs. B-1 and B-2. Pullaiah was the father of Sainath Rao, the 4th defendant. Jagannathamayya, father of DW-1, is the brother of Pullaiah Jagannathamayya and Sainath Rao were the pujaris in the suit temple at the time this alienation took place. The Executive Officer of the temple issued a show-cause notice dated 21-3-1966 and ultimately dismissed Sainath Rao from service by issuing the order under Ex. A-6. Disputes immediately arose regarding the possession of the properties between the temple and defendants and those disputes are evidenced by Ex. A-10 dated 21-3-1966 and Exs A-4 to A-9. The parties had been resorted to proceedings under Sec. 145, Cr. P.C. where the possession of the defendants on the relevant date was found and the plaintiff-temple had to approach the Civil Court for a declaration of its title to the property. It appears that taxes for this land were paid in the name of Pujari Pullaiah till about the year 1962 and thereafter, taxes paid by one Pujari Sainath Rao. The payment of these taxes since 1948 as evidenced by Exs. B-9 to B-18 does not carry matters any further as persons in possession of the property would have paid the land revenue. These documents, therefore disclose that till about the date of Ex. B-7, the property was being treated as a temple property. For the first time in 1958, a claim was put forward that the property belonged to the archakas. We have no hesitation in reaching the conclusion that the Inam in this case was granted in favour of the plaintiff-temple and it was not a grant of a personal inam in favour of the archakas burdened with service.

23. Though it is unnecessary to consider the effect of the proceedings under the Inams Abolition Act on the rights of parties the matter has been argued at length before us. We have accordingly considered the various submissions made by the learned counsel touching on that aspect of the case. On the application made by Yathirajam Pullaiah, the Special Deputy Tahsildar, Inams, Kurnool, made the following note on 30-4-1959:

'This will be dealt with at the time of issue of patta. The T.D. No. covered by the lands relates to a religious institution. Patta will have to be issued in the name of the institution unless the petitioner proves it otherwise. Notice will be issued to him in due course under S. 7(1).'

Accordingly , the decision that the lands are inam lands situate in a ryotwari village of Nandikotkur and held by the institution was ordered to be notified.

24. Section 3 contemplates an enquiry to be held after giving the persons or institutions concerned a reasonable opportunity of adducing any evidence in support of their cases and the Tahsildar may also examine any relevant document in the possession of the Government and give his decision in writing in regard to items (I) to (iii) in sub-sec. (1) and communicate the decision to the persons or institutions concerned. Any person or institution concerned. Any person or institution aggrieved by a decision of the Tahsildar, was given the right of appeal to the Revenue Court within 60 days from the date of communication of the decision. The decision of the Revenue Court and in case no appeal is filed, the decision of the Tahsildar under sub-section (3) shall be final. Every such decision shall as soon as possible, be published in the District Gazette, and in such other manner as may be prescribed. Every such decision shall be binding on all persons or institutions have not filed any application or statement, or adduced any evidence or appeared or participated in the proceedings before the Tahsildar or the Revenue Court, as the case may be. S.7 of the Act provides for the grant of ryotwari pattas. In the plaint, he allegation was made that the patta for the suit land has been granted in the name of the temple by the Inam Tahsildar after due enquiry under the Inams Abolition Act. The defendants disputed the correctness of this statement. According to them, no notice was served by the Special Deputy Tahsildar in the said enquiry either at the time of determination of the questions contemplated under Section 3 of the Act or after rendering the decision. They have also disputed that any patta has yet been granted in favour of the temple. The temple has not filed any patta allegedly granted in its favour under the Inams Abolition Act. Neither party has let in evidence to establish that the archakas were given any notice by the Inam Tahsildar. We have, therefore, to proceed on the assumption that the decision of the Inam Tahsildar was arrived at without giving the notice contemplated under S. 3(3) of the Act.

25. The submission of Mr. Venogopala Reddy is that once the Tahsildar has reached the decision, it shall be binding on all persons notwithstanding the fact that the defendants did not adduce any evidence or appeared or participated in the proceedings before the Tahsildar. Such an argument may arise for consideration if the defendants were given notice of the enquiry contemplated under S. 3(3) of the Act. Where there is nothing to indicate that any such notice of enquiry was given to the defendants, the enquiry proceedings stand vitiated. There is, therefore, no decision of the Revenue Court (which?) would preclude the defendants from contending that they are not bound by the decision of the Inam Tahsildar. Rahuvir, J. in W.P No. 3490 of 1975, d/- 13-7-1977 (Andh Pra) dealing with a case where such notice was not issued to the persons who are in possession of the land, held that the order of the Revenue Court does not bind the writ petitioners as the petitioners have had no notice of enquiry under S. 3 of the Estates Abolition Act. We agree that where parties interested in the property were not given the notice contemplated under the Act and the enquiry was held behind their back, the decision arrived at by the Revenue Court cannot bind the parties against whom any such decision had been arrived at We also hold that the finality contemplated under Sec. 3 sub-sec (7) of the Inams Abolition Act arises only where the decision had been arrived at after giving notice to the parties in accordance with S. 3(3) of the Act and not otherwise.

26. Mr. Venugopala Reddy has placed reliance on Moolavisal Nagabhushanam v. Revenue Divisional Officer Markapur (1963) 2 Andh WR 201) to contend for the finality of the decision under S. 3(7) of the Inams Abolition Act when once such a decision had been reached. In that case, the petitioner who was issued a Notice by the Deputy Tahsildar fildar, filed a representation on 17-11-1958. The deputy Tahsildar however, returned the representation on 18-11-1958, calling for particulars of the lands involved. Those particulars were, however not furnished by the petitioner and the Deputy Tahsildar proceeded with the enquiry and came to his decision under sub-sec. (3) of S. 3 on 10-12 -1958 holding that the land in question were imam balanced in a ryotwardi village and were held by Sri Chennamalleswaraswami temple an institution. Basi Reddy, J. held that the decision had become final. This is clearly case where the notice contemplated under S. 3 of the of the Inams Abolition Act was given to the petitioner and the petitioner also appeared before the Deputy Tahsildar during the enquiry and made a written representation which was found to be defective. Subsequently the petitioner took not further interest in the matter when the representation was returned, calling for particulars of the lands involved. Mr. Venugopala Reddy cannot, therefore seek any support from this decision to contend for the finality of the decision reported in Ex. B-7.

27. Mr. Venugopal Reddy, placing reliance on Bhavanarayana Swamivari Temcharyulu (1971) (1) Andh Wr 49) (SC) has made the submission that the decision f the Inam Tahsildar operates as res judicata. We have held in the preceding paragraph that there was no decision as such rendered by the Inam Tahsildar to which the archkas were parties. We fail see how such a decision can at all operate as res judicata.

28. Our learned brother, in holding in favour of the defendants on this point, relied upon Divisional Bench decision of this Court in Peda Govindayya v. Subba Rao (1969 (2) Andh LT 336). The fact of that case, however, reveal that the very land itself constituted a Bharmadayam tope of an institution. The dispute there was not so much as to the entitlement to a ryotwari patta, but the character in which the person in whose favour the ryotwari patta was issued, was holding property, whether as a trustee or as an independent owner of the property. There are, however, certain observations made in this judgment that the order of the Revenue Authorities granting patta in favour of the dependants cannot, therefore, be regarded as conclusive of the defendants' title to the property. Mr. Venugopala Reddy's submission is that the Supreme Court while considering an analogous case arising from the Estates Abolition Act in Chenchulakshmamma v. Subrahmanya Reddi : [1980]1SCR1006 has given a finality to the decisions of the Settlement Officer and that these observations made in Peda Govindayya's case (supra) are no longer good law. In the view we have taken that there has been no decision of the Inam, Tahsildar which could bind the defendant, we consider it unnecessary to deal with the further submission as to whether the observation made in Peda Govindayya's case (supra) are no longer good law in case ( supra) are no longer good law in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in Chenchulakshmama's case (supra)

29. We accordingly set aside the judgement of our learned brother and decree the suit declaring the plaintiff's title to the suit property and directing the defendants to deliver possession of the suit property to the temple. The past profits claimed in the suit and the future profits till delivery of the possession of the property are directed to be determined in appropriate proceedings under O. 20, R. 12, C.P.C. Defendants 1 and 2 are directed to pay the plaintiff-temple its costs throughout.

30. Mr. P. Kodandaramayya has made an oral request for grant of leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. We do not consider that any substantial question of law of general importance, which needs to be decided by the Supreme Court, is involved in this case. Leave is accordingly refused.

31. Mr, Kodandarammayya has also made an oral request for suspending the operation of the judgment. Three months' time is given to the respondents to approach the Supreme Court and get any appropriate orders and execution of the decree be stayed accordingly.

32. Appeal allowed.


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