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Radha Swami Satsang Sabha Vs. Tara Chand and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject Property
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1939All557
AppellantRadha Swami Satsang Sabha
RespondentTara Chand and ors.
Excerpt:
- - 2. the finding of the district judge--who took the case on to his own file--is that bohra tara chand, plaintiff, has failed to show that he had no notice of the date fixed for hearing his objection under section 5-a(1) of the act, and therefore the declaration made by the government under section 6(1) of the act was not invalid. no notice was sent to the plaintiff or to his counsel, and the reason for this presumably was that the clerk was satisfied that the plaintiff had received intimation. the reason why the plaintiff absented himself on 18th january 1932 may well have been that he was about to institute this suit. i thought it better that he should as a precaution file a suit at once. 7. it is thus clear that in january 1932 both the land acquisition officer and his clerk and.....collister, j.1. the facts out of which these three appeals arise are set out in full in our order of remand dated 4th april 1938. under that order we remitted the following issue to the lower court:whether the declaration which was made by the local government under section 6(1), land acquisition act, was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 5-a and the first portion of sub-section (1) of section 6 of the aforesaid act.2. the finding of the district judge--who took the case on to his own file--is that bohra tara chand, plaintiff, has failed to show that he had no notice of the date fixed for hearing his objection under section 5-a(1) of the act, and therefore the declaration made by the government under section 6(1) of the act was not.....
Judgment:

Collister, J.

1. The facts out of which these three appeals arise are set out in full in our order of remand dated 4th April 1938. Under that order we remitted the following issue to the lower Court:

Whether the declaration which was made by the Local Government under Section 6(1), Land Acquisition Act, was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 5-A and the first portion of Sub-section (1) of Section 6 of the aforesaid Act.

2. The finding of the District Judge--who took the case on to his own file--is that Bohra Tara Chand, plaintiff, has failed to show that he had no notice of the date fixed for hearing his objection under Section 5-A(1) of the Act, and therefore the declaration made by the Government under Section 6(1) of the Act was not invalid. We will first take up the appeal in respect of which this issue was remitted, namely F.A. No. 27 of 1934. The objection aforesaid is dated and was presented on 4th January 1932. At the foot of it are the words: '(Sd). Bohra Tara Chand. Through Asharfi Lal, Pleader, Agra.' On the margin the Land Acquisition Officer wrote:

Give a date 15 days hence and inform parties that I will hear legal objections on that date and will also record any evidence in support of them if the parties wish to produce.

3. Below this order we find '18th January 1932 fixed,' and this is admittedly in the handwriting of the Land Acquisition Officer's clerk, Sharafat Husain, and immediately below this there is the signature of Bohra Tara Chand. Babu Asharfi Lal and Sharafat Husain were both examined by the District Judge. B. Asharfi Lal was admittedly the plaintiff's counsel; and he says that he drafted the objection and then the plaintiff faired it out. After witness had signed the objection the plaintiff took it away; he wanted to save counsel's fee by presenting the objection in person. Witness says that he does not necessarily get his client's signature on an application after signing, '(Sd.) so and so;' the signature 'may be made in my clerk's presence.' He says, 'The signature on Ex. B was not, I think, made in my presence. It is in a place that would be most unusual for such signatures.' The credibility of this witness is impeached on the ground that he subsequently worked as counsel for the Sab Sangh Sabha and that there was litigation between him and the plaintiff in respect of a statement of accounts. Sharafat Husain says that the Land Acquisition Officer wrote the order on the margin. He then says:

In compliance with that order I fixed a date. The writing underneath this in the margin of Ex. B is mine. I think that Bohara Tara Chand signed underneath my writing to show that he had received information of the date. His signature is in the same ink as my writing. As far as I remember I fixed the date and informed him and took his signature.

4. Further on he says:

Whenever an objection was made, I always reported dates to the objector personally and took his signature. It is not true that Tara Chand's signature was already on Ex. B and I filled in the writing above it later.

5. Both these witnesses were of course speaking in respect of facts which had occurred six years previously, and so the element of precision is lacking in their statements. The question is whether the plaintiff's signature to the objection or whether it was appended in token of having received information of the date fixed. As pointed out by the learned Judge, the plaintiff twice alleged that he had had no notice of the date. He first alleged this in the plaint of the present suit and then he again alleged it in an application before the Land Acquisition Officer. It is also a fact that the objection bears only one signature of his, and therefore if what B. Asharfi Lal wrote at the foot of the objection was literally true and correct, this must have been the plaintiff's signature to the objection. There are however several considerations which, in our opinion, throw doubt upon this conclusion. As we have already shown, B. Asharfi Lal admits that after having written '(Sd.) so and so' he does not necessarily see to it that the client signed the application in his presence. The objection was admittedly presented by the plaintiff himself and his signature was not absolutely essential, since the objection was already signed by the counsel whom he had engaged; but if he had chosen to sign the objection, the obvious place for his signature was at the bottom of the paper to the left of B. Asharfi Lal's signature, where there was sufficient space. We think it is improbable--though of course not impossible--that he would have appended his signature an inch or two up the margin. Moreover, having presented the objection himself, it is highly probable that the plaintiff would have waited to obtain, an order of the Court fixing a date, and it will be observed that the words '18th January 1932 fixed.,' and the signature of the plaintiff appear to be in the same ink--a fact which suggests that, after Sharafat Husain had written the date, he handed the pen to the plaintiff. The latter's signature is immediately below the date, which farther suggests that there was a connexion between the writing of the date and the appending of his signature. There is nothing to indicate that Sharafat Husain was acting in collusion with the Sabha, and no specific questions were put to him in cross-examination with a view to elicit the fact of such collusion. It appears that on 18th January 1932, it was realized that no notice had been issued to the Sabha, and so a notice was sent that same day to the Secretary. No notice was sent to the plaintiff or to his counsel, and the reason for this presumably was that the clerk was satisfied that the plaintiff had received intimation. The reason why the plaintiff absented himself on 18th January 1932 may well have been that he was about to institute this suit. The suit was in fact instituted on 13th March 1932, and B. Asharfi Lal says:

I thought it was not worthwhile his pressing the objection. I thought it better that he should as a precaution file a suit at once.

6. The Land Acquisition Officer in his report said, 'The objector was given a date, viz. 18th January 1932, for proving his objections but he did not turn up, ' though as a matter of fact his objections were fully considered by that officer. On 20th January 1932 the Collector wrote a letter to the Commissioner in which he said, 'He (i.e. Bohra Tara Chand) was asked to prove his objection on a subsequent date, but he did not turn up.' In another letter to the Commissioner, dated 23rd January 1932, the Collector said:

No notice in the name of Bohra Tara Chand informing him to appear on 18th January 1932 was issued, but he was personally informed of the same: vide his signatures made on the objection just below the order of the Land Acquisition Officer.

7. It is thus clear that in January 1932 both the Land Acquisition Officer and his clerk and also the Collector were satisfied that Bohra Tara Chand had received intimation of the date fixed. We are aware that the above considerations are not by any means conclusive, but we are of opinion that on the materials before us the balance of probability is against the plaintiff and that we should not be justified in differing from the conclusion at which the District Judge has arrived. The next question to consider in this appeal (i.e. F.A. No. 27 of 1934) is whether the declaration which was issued by the Government is conclusive, as held by the Court below. The plaintiff, appellant pleads that owing to material defects in it it is conclusive of nothing at all. Section 6(3), Land Acquisition Act, provides:

The said declaration shall be conclusive evidence that the land is needed for a public purpose or for a company as the case may be ; and, after making such declaration the Local Government may acquire the land in manner hereinafter appearing.

8. The declaration in the case with which we are dealing states that the land was required for a public purpose, whereas in fact it was required for the Sabha, which the Government presumably regarded as a company. Learned Counsel for the plaintiff-appellant pleads that a declaration under Section 6(3) will not be conclusive if it is materially defective in form or if the provisions of the Act were not complied with prior to the publication of such declaration. Apart from the defect in the declaration he pleads in the first place that the Land Acquisition Officer acted illegally in not giving the plaintiff an opportunity of being heard in support of his objection. With this matter we have already dealt and have found against the plaintiff. Then learned Counsel argues that in various other respects the provisions of the Act were violated. He points out that in the notification under Section 4--as also of course in the declaration under Section 6--it was stated that the land was needed for a public purpose, in which case title would vest in the Government, whereas admittedly the land was required for the Sabha, which was regarded as a company within the meaning of Section 3(e) of the Act, and the compensation was to be paid wholly by the Sabha, i.e. defendant 1. He then pleads that tinder Section 38 of the Act the notification under Section 4 should have been published by an officer of the company, whereas it was published by the Government. And finally he refers us to Section 40(1)(b) of the Act, which lays down that the Provincial Government should not give its consent to such acquisition, unless it is satisfied, either on the report of the Collector under Section 5-A, Sub-section (2), or by an enquiry, that

such acquisition is needed for the construction of some work and that such work is likely to prove useful to the public;

and learned Counsel contends that in fact no work was to be constructed on this land which was required solely for pasturage. There can be no doubt that a declaration under Section 6(3) of the Act is ordinarily conclusive of the fact that the land is needed for a public purpose or for a company. But we do not think it can be conclusive of the liability to acquisition if it be found that any illegality was committed at the proceedings or if there was material violation of any of the provisions of the Act in any of the stages prior to the declaration. Moreover, if the declaration says that the land is required for a public purpose, whereas in fact the land is admittedly required for a company, it is difficult to see how such declaration can be conclusive of anything. It cannot be conclusive of the fact that the land is needed for a public purpose, since that is not so; and it can hardly be conclusive of the fact that the land is required for a company, if this is not stated. In Luchmeswar Singh v. Chairman, Darbhanga Municipality (1891) 18 Cal. 99 certain land belonging to a minor under the Court of Wards was acquired for the Municipality and a declaration was published in the Gazette in accordance with Section 6 of the Act that the land in question was required to be taken at the expense of the Municipality for a public purpose, namely the construction of a public ghat or landing place in the town of Darbhanga. When the minor came of age, he sued to recover possession of this land and his suit was ultimately decreed in the Privy Council. At page 105 their Lordships say:

Although the Court of Wards had not power to alienate the land for the purpose for which it was required possession might have been lawfully taken of it if the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act had been complied with. But they were not.

9. In Manick Chand Mehta v. Corporation of Calcutta (1921) 8 A.I.R. Cal. 159, the owner of a certain property applied under Section 45, Specific Relief Act, to restrain the Corporation and the Improvement Trust from taking further steps in the proceedings then pending before the Acquisition Collector in the acquisition of the said property by the Corporation under a notification in terms of Section 6, Land Acquisition Act. At page 923 Greaves J. observed:.as regards Section 4, Evidence Act, and Section 6 (3), Land Acquisition Act, the fact that the declaration may be conclusive as to the land being needed for a public purpose does not, I think, in any way debar me from enquiring into the validity of the steps which led up to that declaration.

10. The declaration with which we are concerned is printed at page 49 of our paper-book in F.A. No. 14 of 1934. It begins by saying that the lands designated below are required for a public purpose. Admittedly the land was not required 'for a public purpose' as this term is used in the Act; but we are referred to the column headed 'For what purpose required,' where we find the remark 'For dairy pasturages, etc. by the Radha Swami Satsang Sabha, Agra.' It is pleaded on behalf of defendant 1 that the declaration read as a whole shows clearly that the land was required for a company. We will first consider the pleadings with a view to see what the parties, understood by this declaration at the trial of the suit. In paras. 7 and 12 of the plaint it was stated in effect that the acquisition purported to be for the Radha Swami Satsang for the purpose of a dairy farm Para. 7 reads as follows:

That thereafter a notification was issued by the Local Government under Section 6, Land Acquisition Act, that the lands of the plaintiff mentioned above were required for pasturage and growing fodder, grains, etc., of the Radha Swami Satsang Dairy Farm.

11. Paragraph 7 of the plaint was admitted in the written statements of defendants 1 and 2. Para. 15 of the written statement of defendant 2, (i.e. the Secretary of State for India), reads as follows:

That the Local Government having already made a declaration under Section 6, Land Acquisition Act, that the purpose for which the land is being acquired are purposes (sic) likely to prove useful to the public within the meaning of Section 40, the declaration is conclusive evidence that the land is needed for a public purpose.

12. Paragraph 16 of defendant l's written statement is as follows:

That the Local Government, being the final authority in the matter, having already made a declaration under Section 6, Land Acquisition Act, that the purposes for which the land was being acquired were purposes likely to prove useful to the public within the meaning of Section 40, Land Acquisition Act, the said declaration is a conclusive proof that the land is acquired for a public purpose or for a company.

13. There appears to be some confusion in the written statements in the use of the expression 'public purpose,' but it was clearly understood by the parties that the land was required for the Satsang Sabha--which of course would pay the compensation. None of the pleas as regards invalidity of the proceedings prior to the declaration which have been taken before us and which we have stated above were taken by the plaintiff at the trial, and therefore the defendants had no means of meeting them. The Land Acquisition Officer's report also shows that the land was being required for a company. He says:

All that is necessary to be proved in case of : inquisition of land for a company is that the work for which the land is to be acquired is likely to prove useful to the public [vide Clause (b) of Section 40]. In the present case land is being acquired for the establishment of an up-to-date dairy farm. This includes the providing of pasturages, the growing of fodder and corns, the construction of sheds and buildings and improving of the breed of milk cattle, and as a consequence the uplift of neighbouring villages, the finding of good market for their milk, the supplying of pasteurized milk and milk products to the city and cantonment of Agra and other towns. It is hardly necessary to add that the land of dairies the Radha Swami Satsang Sabha is establishing are rare in India and the useful purpose which such dairy is likely to serve to the public is a self-evident truth requiring no comments.

14. The concluding portion of his report reads as follows:

Submitted to the Collector with the recommendation that purposes for which the land is being acquired for the Sabha (company) are purposes likely to prove useful to the public within the meaning of Section 40 of the said Act and that the Government may be moved to issue a declaration under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act.

15. This report was accepted by the Collector, and it is thus clear that the intention was to acquire land which was needed for a company within the meaning of Section 40(1)(b) of the Act, and we have to consider whether this was made sufficiently clear in the declaration which was issued by the Government under Section 6 of the Act. Before coming to that declaration we will consider the notification which was issued under Section 4 of the Act. In that notification it was stated that the land was required 'for a public purpose'; and having regard to the language of Section 4 it is difficult to see what else could have been stated in the notification. Section 5-A(1) of the Act, which was enacted in 1923, says:

Any person interested in any land which has been notified under Section 4, Sub-section (1), as being needed or likely to be needed for a public purpose or for a company may within thirty days after the issue of the notification, object to the acquisition of the land....

16. But the words 'or for a company' have not been added by the Legislature in Section 4, which merely provides for a notification that land is required 'for a public purpose.' In column 5 of the notification it was made clear that this land was needed 'for dairy pasturages, etc., by the Radha Swami Satsang Sabha, Dayal Bagh, Agra,' and in the agreement which was entered into by defendant 1 and which was published in the Gazette of 27th February 1932 we find the words 'and for constructing sheds, buildings, etc., for dairy farm purposes for the said Sabha.' It is argued that, if the land was being acquired for a company, then the procedure would be different under part 7 of the Act. It is said that the notification should have been published by an officer of the company under the powers which would be conferred on him under Section 38(1) of the Act and not by the Provincial Government. Section 38(1) provides:

The Provincial Government may authorize any officer of any company desiring to acquire land for its purposes to exercise the powers conferred by Section 4.

17. In our opinion this does not mean that an officer of the company would be competent to publish a notification under Section 4 of the Act in the Gazette. The powers referred to in Section 38(1) are those provided in Section 4(2) of the Act. Section 4(1) deals with the notification and it imposes a duty on the Provincial Government to publish the notification. Under Section 38(1) no such duty will be imposed upon an officer of a company. Alternately, it is contended by learned Counsel for the plaintiff that no notification at sill under Section 4 of the Act is required when land is being acquired for a company. We do not think that there is any force in this plea, for otherwise there would be no meaning in the word 'thereupon' in Sub-section (2) of Section 4, which shows that the officer of the company can only exercise his powers after A notification has been published. When land is being acquired for a company, then under Sections 39 and 40, the Provincial Government has to satisfy itself after enquiry that the conditions laid down in Section 40 are being fulfilled. It will then give its consent; and after an agreement has been entered into, Sections 6 to 37 will be put in force. Admittedly, an agreement was entered into in the present case and no attempt has been made to show that an enquiry was not made. We will deal at a later stage with the plea that the conditions of Section 40(1)(b) were not fulfilled. Meanwhile we will consider the declaration which was published under Section 6(3) of the Act. As we have already shown it follows precisely the language of the notification under Section 4.

18. Since Section 6(1) of the Act lays down that the declaration must state that the land is needed for a public purpose or for a company, it is obvious that the declaration ought to show clearly and unambiguously whether the land is needed for a public purpose or for a company; and since that declaration does not state that the land was required for a company,, it is defective in form. It is perfectly true that in the body of the declaration it is stated that the land was needed for pasturage etc., for the Radha Swami Satsang Sabha; but this, as it stands, is inconsistent with the words 'for a public purpose' and is not sufficient to remove the defect. On the other hand, reading the declaration as a whole, we have no doubt whatever that the intention of the Provincial Government was to declare that the land was required for the Satsang Sabha on the ground that the work to be constructed on it was likely to prove useful to the public within the meaning of Section 40(1)(b) of the Act, and as we have already shown, the parties were well aware that the land was being acquired for the Satsang Sabha for the extension of its dairy farm. The plaintiff was therefore not prejudiced by the defect in the declaration; but when such defects exist, it is difficult to see how the declaration can be conclusive or what it is to be conclusive of.

19. It is argued for the plaintiff-appellant that the notification and the declaration merely show that the land was being acquired for pasturage, whereas Section 40(1)(b) requires that such land should be needed for the construction of some 'work'., The Land Acquisition Officer's report makes it clear that the land was required not only for pasturage and growing of fodder, but also for the construction of sheds and buildings; and this also appears from the agreement which, as we have already shown, was published in the Gazette of 27th February 1932. The notification and the declaration state that the land was needed for pasturage, etc. It was for the Provincial Government to satisfy itself under Section 40(1) of the; Act that some 'work' was to be constructed and we must and do assume that it did SO' satisfy itself after an enquiry and that the word 'etc.' was intended to include buildings and sheds. In Ezra v. Secy. Of State (1903) 30 Cal. 36 certain land of the plaintiff was acquired under the-Land Acquisition Act and the plaintiff sued to have it declared that all the proceedings taken by the Provincial Government in the-matter of such acquisition should be declared void and of no force or effect and to obtain a mandatory injunction restraining, the Government as well as the Bank of' Bengal, for whom the land purported to bet-acquired, from taking any steps whatsoever towards taking possession of the said premises. Various contentions were raised before the High Court of Calcutta, which it is not necessary for us to mention, but at p. 77 the learned Judges observed:

There is no definition of a public purpose in the Act nor any limitation regarding that is likely to prove useful to the public. For obvious reasons both matters are left to the absolute discretion of the Local Government....

20. That case went in appeal to the Privy Council and was dismissed by their Lordships: vide Ezra v. Secy. of State (1905) 32 Cal. 605. As we have already said, neither this nor any of the other objections as regards invalidity of the proceeding prior to the declaration-except, the plea that the plaintiff received no intimation of the date fixed for hearing his objection--were taken in the plaint and there was no issue in respect thereto. Had it been pleaded that no work was to be constructed on the land, it would have been open to the defendants to prove the contrary. It is true that in para. 12(c) of the plaint it was alleged that 'the procedure laid down by statute was not followed,' but having regard to the context and setting of this allegation, it would appear that it related to the procedure under Act 21 of 1860. If it related to the procedure under the Land Acquisition Act, then the only illegality of procedure mentioned in the plaint is that alleged, in para. 6, namely that the plaintiff had no intimation of the date fixed for hearing his objection. Moreover, when those appeals were before us on the previous occasion, learned Counsel for the plaintiff-appellant gave us no hint that he intended to plead any illegality or irregularity in the land acquisition proceedings prior to the publishing of the declaration or that the conditions laid down in Section 40(1)(b) of the Act were not fulfilled. Moreover, in the memorandum of appeal it was merely pleaded that the plaintiff had received no intimation of the date fixed for hearing his objection and that the declaration under Section 6(3) of the Act was not conclusive. The other pleas, with which we have dealt above, find no place therein. The position comes to this: The declaration is defective inasmuch as it states that the land was needed 'for a public purpose' and nowhere states that it was needed 'for a company,' whereas in fact it was needed for the Satsang Sabha, which the Provincial Government presumably regarded as a company within the meaning of Section 3(e) of the Act. By reason of this defect we cannot hold that the declaration is conclusive evidence of anything that it states. It is certainly inconclusive of the fact that the land was needed for a public purpose, because admittedly it was not so needed; and it is not conclusive of the fact that the land was needed for a company, because it does not say so. On the other hand, all the parties wore aware that the land was being acquired for the Satsang Sabha and therefore the defect in the declaration will not vitiate the acquisition proceedings. As regards the alleged defects and illegality of procedure, we are of opinion that they cannot be pleaded at this stage and that, in any case, none of them has been established.

21. Learned Counsel for the plaintiff pleads, however, that there was in fact no society registrable under Act 21 of 1860 and therefore the land is not liable to acquisition. In this connexion we must consider F.A. No. 14 of 1934. The Court below has given a declaration to the effect that 'defendant 1 is not a society nor a company, and its registration under Act 21 of 1860 was not proper.' The learned Judge finds that in fact there was no association or society at all and that 'substantially defendant 1 is identical with one and only one human being.' Defendant 1 in F.A. No. 14 of 1934 seeks to have this declaration set aside. Learned Counsel for the plaintiff concedes that the declaration cannot stand unless other relief is granted to him, but he pleads that upon the lower Court's finding--which he contends is a correct finding--the suit ought to have been dismissed. Learned Counsel for the plaintiff has not referred us to his oral evidence. We have nevertheless read it but we think it unnecessary to comment upon it, inasmuch as learned Counsel for the plaintiff concedes that the objects of the Sabha are as stated in its Memorandum of Association and bye-laws. These are contained in a pamphlet entitled 'Constitution and bye-laws of the Radhaswami Satsang Sabha, Dayal Bagh Agra.' There are no grounds for suspecting the bona fides of this Memorandum of Association or the bye-laws. The objects of the Sabha, as set out therein, are as follows:

(a) To regulate the conduct of business pertaining to Satsangis, i.e., the followers of the Radhaswami faith, and the institution of the Radhaswami faith for the conduct of religious services, i.e., the central Satsang and branch Satsang.

(b) To collect, preserve and administer the properties, moveable and immovable, that have been or may hereafter be dedicated to Radhaswami Dayal or that may be acquired for or presented to Radhaswami Satsang and to deal with and apply the same to the furtherance of the religious and charitable objects of that Satsang.

(c) To do the above and all such other things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objects, provided that the mandates, if any, of the Sant Sat Guru of the time, who is recognized as the representative of the supreme Creator Radhaswami Dayal, shall be paramount and absolute in all matters referred to above.

22. The Sabha is a well-organised society with a minimum of 40 members, having a secretary and an executive committee. It has an educational institute with a managing committee and it also has a dairy and an agricultural farm, the ostensible objects of which are

firstly, of providing to the above institute and members of the community an opportunity of obtaining first-hand knowledge of the various practices employed in modern farming and secondly of securing a pure and abundant supply of fresh vegetables and pure butter and milk to the residents of Dayalbagh.

23. The society also has a hospital. Sadhus who have themselves registered: ate supplied with lodging and a monthly allowance for their maintenance. In connexion with the above facts, reference may be made to bye-laws Nos. 40, 56, 64 and 76. Learned Counsel for defendant 1 pleads that the Satsang Sabha is not only a society for the diffusion of useful knowledge, but is also a charitable institution within the technical and legal meaning of this term and in this connexion he refers us to In Re Foveaux; Cross v. London Antivivisection Society (1895) 2 Ch. D. 501, Commissioner for Special Purposes of the Income-tax v. Pemsel (1891) A.C. 531 and Commissioners of Inland Revenue v. J.F. Yorkshire Agriculture Society (1928) 1 K.B. 611. It is unnecessary for us to consider these authorities, inasmuch as foamed counsel for the plaintiff concedes that the objects, as set out in the Sabha's Memorandum of Association and bye-laws -the bona fides of which he does not impeach--are of a 'charitable' nature within the legal meaning of that term; but he pleads that defendant 1 is not a society registrable under the Act and also that it Is not a charitable society, because there is no trust vesting the property in the Sabha. In Secy. of State v. Akbar Ali (1923) 10 A.I.R. All. 523, it was held by a Bench of this Court that

where a declaration has been issued under Section 6, Land Acquisition Act, stating that certain land in required for a 'public purpose,' a Court is, debarred from enquiring into the question whether the purpose for which the land in respect to which such a declaration has been issued is required is a public purpose or not.

24. If that decision is correct, then by parity if reasoning it would follow that where there is a declaration that land is required for a company, a Court would be debarred from inquiring as to whether it was in fact enquired for some other purpose; but in the present case we have already found that the declaration itself, owing to defects which occur in it, is not conclusive. We must now turn to Act 21 of 1860. The Preamble to that Act provides:

Whereas it is expedient that provisions should to made for improving the legal condition of societies established for the promotion of literature, science or; the fine arts; or for the diffusion of useful, knowledge, the diffusion of political education or for charitable purposes....

25. Section 20 gives a list of Societies registrable; under the Act, and among them are included charitable societies and societies established for the promotion of instruction and the diffusion of useful knowledge The Sabha--consisting at that time of 45 persons--was registered under Act 21 of 1860, and it has not been shown to us that any of the formalities required by the Act were omitted. It was thus duly registered1 so far as procedure is concerned; but learned Counsel for the plaintiff contends that it was not registrable, because some of the bye-laws are inconsistent with the provisions of the Act. For instance, bye-law No. 1 provides that: 'The Sabha shall hold office at the pleasure of the Sant Sat Guru of the time,' and bye-law No. 3 provides that:

If a longer interim than two years ensues between the departure (i.e. the death) of the Sant Guru and his reappearance, the Sabha shall stand dissolved, unless the Satsangis affiliated to it desire it to continue;

but Section 13 of Act 21 of 1860 lays down that a society may be dissolved if any number not less than three, fifths of its members determines that it shall be dissolved. There are other instances of a like nature, but in our opinion there is little force in this plea inasmuch as, when once registration has been effected, the provisions of the Act will apply and such bye-laws as are inconsistent with them will become inoperative. Thus, not only was the procedure laid down by the Act duly followed, but the Sabha was prima facie registrable. Learned Counsel for the plaintiff however pleads that the Sabha is not a charitable society for the reason that there is no trust whereby the property vests in the Sabha; all the property, according to him, vests in the Satsang Guru. Thus the land was acquired for the extension of a dairy farm belonging to a single individual, and this cannot be done under the Act. Learned Counsel founds this argument upon two grounds. In the first place, he points out that, according to the constitution and bye-laws, the mandates of the Sant Sat Guru are paramount, and he has the power to dissolve the Sabha at will. In the second place,1 he relies very strongly on the observations of their Lordships of the Privy Council in Chhotabhai v. Jnan Chandra Basak . In that case certain members of the Radhaswami religion sued for a declaration the substantial effect of which was that a so-called, Radhaswami Trust created in 1904 was not a legal and valid trust and that, if it was, it was not a trust created or existing for public purposes of a charitable or religious nature' so as to make Act 14 of 1920 applicable thereto: All the parties to that suit were members of the Radhaswami faith, and we have already quoted extensively from this judgment in our remand order of 4th April 1938 in order to explain the tenets and principles of the Radhaswami faith. In para. 9 of the document of 1902 declaring the constitutional powers of the central council of the Radhaswami Satsang (vide p. 339) it was provided that:

All property of Radha Swami Satsang and its branches, both moveable and immovable, which exists at present or may hereafter be presented to Radha Swami Dayal or be otherwise acquired will for the maintenance and advancement of the objects of the Satsang, be vested in a body of trustees designated the 'Radha Swami Trust.'

26. Their Lordships of the Privy Council however held having regard to the supremacy of the Sant Sat Guru and his control over the offerings by which the, properties were acquired, that it was

difficult to arrive at the conclusion that it was over intended that such a trust as is contemplated by Act 14 of 1920 should be created.

27. Their Lordships went on to say:

This is confirmed by the express provisions which have already been referred to, e.g. that the council were to act in accordance, with the directions of the 'Sant Sat Guru' for the time being, who is recognized as the representative of the Supreme Creator, whose mandates were to be paramount, and that the trustees were to follow the directions of the Sant Sat Guru, who, was the sole master of all moveable and immovable propearty.

28. In an earlier portion of, the judgment, at p. 342, their Lordships say:

In the first place it is material to ascertain the author or authors of the alleged trust. Next the intention to create a trust must be indicated by words or acts with reasonable certainty. The purpose of the trust, the trust property and the beneficiaries must be indicated and in such a way that the trust could be administered by the Court if the occasion arose.

29. Learned Counsel for the plaintiff pleads that the observations of their Lordships in that case are conclusive of the: fact that property of the Radha Swami Satsang belongs to the guru and is not trust property vesting in the Sabha. When the case came before us last year, learned Counsel for defendant 1 pleaded that it was not necessary that property of a society registered under Act 21 of 1860, should be impressed with the character: of trust property, but he now does not contest the-proposition that defendant 1 cannot be a charitable society if the property vests exclusively in the guru and unless there is some sort of trust, actual or constructive, vesting the property in the society. It appears that in 1910 there was a schism, the ultimate result of which was that two sects, of the Radha Swami faith came into being, one being the Swami Bagh sect, which was the parent body having its centre at Allahabad and the other being the Dayal Bagh sect, which was the dissentient body having its centre at Agra. Sir Anand Sarup was the Satsang Guru at Agra at the time of the litigation which gave rise to the appeal before the Privy Council, and he was examined as a witness. His evidence in that suit has been brought on the record of the present suit, having apparently been accepted by both parties, and it is printed at p. 37 of our paper-book in F.A. No. 14 of 1934. In this statement this witness said that offerings are not made to the Sant Sat Guru personally, but he accepts therh as representative of Radha Swami Dayal and he is accountable therefor to the Sat Sangis who are all interested in such offerings. This statement does not appear to have found favour with their Lordships of the Privy Council, but learned Counsel for defendant 1, in meeting the argument advanced on behalf of the plaintiff in respect to ownership of the property, relies upon this evidence with reference to the Memorandum of Association of the Dayal Bagh Satsang Sabha at Agra, which was not before the Privy Council, He has attempted to distinguish the terms of the document which was before their Lordships from the Memorandum of Association which is before us. For instance, he points1 out that the words 'and to deal with and apply : the same in para. 1 (b) of the Memorandum of Association of Dayal Bagh Sabha did not occur in the corresponding paragraph of the document declaring the constitutional powers of the Central Council of the Radha Swami Satsang Sabha, which was before their Lordships: vide p. 339 of the judgment reported in Chhotabhai v. Jnan Chandra Basak . He also invites our attention to the fact that the words 'in accordance with the directions of the Sant Sat Guru for the time being' in para. 1(c) of the document before their Lordships finds no place in the corresponding paragraph of the Memorandum of Association which is before us. Learned Counsel also seeks to distinguish para. 9 of the document which was before the Privy Council from bye-law No. 18 of the Dayal Bagh Sabha. Para. 9 of the first mentioned document provides:

All property of Radha Swami Satsang and its branches, both moveable and immovable, which exists at present or may hereafter be presented to Radha Swami Dayal or be otherwise acquired, will for the maintenance and advancement of the objects of the Satsang, be vested in a body of trustees designated the 'Radha Swami Trust.'

30. Bye-law No. 18 provides that:

All the properties moveable and immovable that may be handed over or placed in charge of the Executive Committee or any other committee or any individual member, manager or agent, or that may come in possession of the Executive Commit-too or any other committee or in that of any individual member, manager or agent in the course of his term of office as such, shall always remain vested in the Sabha.

31. Learned Counsel pleads that in the present case the property vests in the Sabha; the latter is in a fiduciary position and so its members are constructive trustees, as well as being among the beneficiaries. This contention is based mainly on bye-law No. 18 and the evidence of Sir Anand Sarup in the previous case. Learned Counsel also draws our attention to the fact that D.W. Daulat Ram was not cross-examined with a view to elicit from him that the profits went to the guru and not to the Sabha. We do not think it necessary to express any opinion as to whether the character of the property with which the Dayal Bagh Sabha is concerned is or is not distinguishable from the character of the property of the Radhaswami Satsang Sabha before the schism with which their Lordships of the Privy Council were concerned, and our reason for this is that we feel ourselves compelled to live effect to the alternative plea of learned Counsel for defendant 1 that it is too late now to entertain the contention that the property belongs exclusively to the guru find does not vest in the Sabha. It will be observed that it is nowhere stated in the plaint that defendant 1 was not a charitable society for the reason that the property did not vest in it, but in the guru. In para. 10 of the plaint it was alleged that defendant 1, which is in essence and mainly a religious society holding particular religious belief, could not be registered under the said Act (i.e. Act 21 of 1860), and its registration under the said Act is null and void.

32. In para. 12 it is stated:

The action of the Local Government ordering the acquisition of the plaintiff's land for defending 1 is null and void and ultra vires of the Government amongst others for the following reasons : (a) The registration of the Radhaswami Satsang is not warranted by the provisions of the Act under which it purports to have been registered, (b) The Satsang starting or working of a dairy-farm is not one of the objects as given in the Memorandum of Association and bye-laws and such an object cannot be legally the object of a society registered under the above mentioned Societies Registration Act 21 of 1860 and as such it could not fall under the statute empowering forcible acquisition, (o) That the procedure laid down by statute was not followed.

33. Clause (a) can only refer to the allegations in para. 10, and the allegations in Clauses (b) and (c) are not relevant to this question. Moreover, the allegations in Clause (b) have not been pressed in any way before us. Having regard to the allegations in the plaint there was, naturally enough, no issue on the question whether the Sabha was not a charitable society for the reasons that the property did not vest in it, but belonged exclusively to the guru. True, the learned Judge says:

The Satsang Sabha is a private body, led by the nose by one single individual called God personified, so says the Memorandum of Association....

34. Further on, he says:

Suffice to say for the purposes of this case that there are grounds for thinking that the dairy farm is more to benefit this guru's son and his private party than the students or the Satsang public.

35. These observations however have no relation to the pleadings, and it is not suggested before us that they are based upon any evidence. If it had been alleged in the plaint that there was no trust vesting the property in the Sabha and that on this account the Sabha could not be regarded as a charitable society, it would have been open to the defendants to produce other evidence with a view to show that the property did in fact vest in the society and did not belong exclusively to the guru. In the circumstances we are of opinion that the plaintiff cannot at this late stage be heard to plead that the land was being acquired for the extension of a dairy farm which, along with all the other property with which the Dayal Bagh Sabha is concerned, vests exclusively in the guru and that, on this ground, the Sabha cannot be held to be a charitable society.

36. There remains F.A. No. 48 of 1934, which is an appeal by the Secretary of State for India in respect to costs. The learned Judge of the lower Court directed this defendant to pay his own costs on the ground that he was 'found to be wrong.' Whatever justification the lower Court may or may not have had for its reasoning, the fact remains that this defendant was responsible for the publication of a defective declaration under Section 6(3), Land Acquisition Act, and this defect has led to much controversy and much expenditure of time. We are of opinion that when land is being acquired for a company, it is not correct for the declaration to state that it is being acquired for a public purpose, even though work is to be constructed on it which is likely to prove useful to the public. The opening declaration should state in clear terms that the land is needed, or is likely to be needed, for a company. Having regard to all the circumstances we do not think that defendant 2 is entitled to his costs of the suit. The result of our findings is as follows: Appeals Nos. 27 and 48 of 1934 are dismissed with costs. Appeal No. 14 of 1934 is allowed and the declaration to the effect that defendant 1 is not a society or a company and that its registration under Act 21 of 1860 was not proper is set aside. Defendant 1, i.e. the Radha Swami Satsang Sabha, will have its costs in both Courts.


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