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Gangadeen Vs. Kanhaiya Lal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision No. 566 of 1971
Judge
Reported inAIR1972All355
ActsReligious Endowments Act, 1863 - Sections 2 and 18; Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act, 1887 - Sections 8(2)
AppellantGangadeen
RespondentKanhaiya Lal and ors.
Appellant AdvocateKrishna Prasad and ;Dhananjai Prasad, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateS.D. Dubey and ;Sia Ram Singh, Advs.
DispositionRevision dismissed
Excerpt:
trusts and societies - application - section 18 of religious endowments act, 1863 - additional district judge competent to dispose - application under section 18 of the act - moved before district judge and assigned to him. - .....transferred to the court of additional district judge for disposal.4. under the bengal, agra and assam civil courts act the following four classes of civil courts are constituted :--(1) the court of the district judge; (2 the court of the additional judge; (3 the court of the subordinate judge; and (4) the court of the munsif. section 8 of the bengal, agra and assam civil courts act reads that:'(1) where the business pending before any district judge requires the aid of additional judges for its speedy disposal, the state government may, (having consulted) the high court appoint such additional judges as may be requisite. (2) additional judges so appointed shall discharge any of the functions of a district judge which the district judge may assign to them, and, in the discharge of.....
Judgment:
ORDER

J.S. Trivedi, J.

1. The opposite parties filed an application under Section 18 of the Religious Endowments Act for leave to institute a suit against the applicant stating that the trust in suit is being mismanaged by the applicant and the income of the trust misappropriated.

2. The suit was contested by the applicant. The learned Additional District Judge, Kanpur allowed the application and accorded permission to the opposite parties to institute the suit. This revision is directed against the order of the Additional District Judge.

3. Two points have been canvassed before me by the learned counsel for the applicant: (1) That the Additional District Judge had no jurisdiction to dispose of the application under Section 18 in the absence of any special notification by the State Government empowering him in that behalf and (2) That the learned Additional District Judge has, not given any specific finding that the trust is a public trust. Reliance has been placed by him in Bhagwan Sitaram Khasale v. Namdeo Narayan Gore : AIR1961Bom239 wherein it was laid down that:

'An Additional District Judge has no jurisdiction to entertain an application for removal of a trust under Section 14, Religious Endowments Act, unless he is empowered in that behalf by the State Government under Section 2 of the Act'.

Under Section 18 of the Religious Endowments Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) no suit can be entertained under the Act without a preliminary application being first made to the Court for leave to institute such suit. After the leave is obtained a person interested can sue for breach of the trust under Section 14 of the Act Section 2 of the Act defines the meaning of a Civil Court and the Court and is as under :--

'2. In this Act -- the words 'Civil Court' and 'Court' shall (save as provided in Section 10) mean the principal Court of original civil jurisdiction in the district in which (or any other Court empowered in that behalf by the State Government within the local limits of the jurisdiction of which) the mosque, temple or religious establishment is situate, relating to which, or to the endowment whereof, any suit shall be instituted or application made under the provisions of this Act.'

The contention of the learned counsel for the applicant is that the Additional District Judge not being a Court empowered in that behalf by the State Government was not competent to dispose of the application under Section 18 of the Act. It is admitted that the application was initially moved before the District Judge, that is the right Court. It was thereafter transferred to the Court of Additional District Judge for disposal.

4. Under the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act the following four classes of Civil Courts are constituted :--

(1) The Court of the District Judge;

(2 The Court of the Additional Judge;

(3 The Court of the Subordinate Judge; and

(4) The Court of the Munsif.

Section 8 of the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act reads that:

'(1) Where the business pending before any District Judge requires the aid of Additional Judges for its speedy disposal, the State Government may, (having consulted) the High Court appoint such Additional Judges as may be requisite.

(2) Additional Judges so appointed shall discharge any of the functions of a District Judge which the District Judge may assign to them, and, in the discharge of those functions, they shall exercise the same powers as the District Judge.'

The Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act consolidates and amends the law relating to Civil Courts in U. P. and it is the only Act that creates Civil Courts in U. P. The expression of the word 'Court' and 'Civil Court' in the Act refers to the Civil Courts created under the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil' Courts Act. The Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act further authorises the District Judge to assign any work pending before him to an Additional Judge who shall exercise the same powers as the District Judge. Under the Religious Endowments Act the power can be conferred by the State Government expressly not only on an Additional District Judge but on any Court specially empowered to exercise jurisdiction. The Court may include a Civil Judge's Court or even a Munsifs Court. The purpose of Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act is to invest Additional Judges with the powers of a District Judge in matters which are assigned to them by the District Judges. The normal rule of interpretation of statutes is that not only the interpretation should be broad and liberal but where the two statutes can be reconciled and conflict avoided the interpretation which is against conflict of repugnancy should be preferred.

5. Both Section 2 of the Religious Endowments Act and Section 8(2) of the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act are in respect of jurisdiction of the Court.

6. Section 8 (2) of the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act does not restrict the powers of the District Judge to assign any class of work to the Additional District Judges; rather it empowers the District Judge to assign any work to the Additional District Judges. Additional District Judges are appointed to relieve the pressure of work on the District Judges and to exercise the powers of the District Judge. The effect of Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act wouldbe that while an application under the Religious Endowments Act has to be presented before the District Judge, it could be transferred and heard by an Additional District Judge who has been assigned the disposal of the application by the District Judge. The wording of Section 18 of the Religious Endowments Act is similar to Section 92, C.P.C. Under Section 92, C.P.C. a suit could be instituted in the principal Civil Court of original jurisdiction or in any other Court empowered in that behalf by the State Government.

A Bench of Calcutta High Court while considering the jurisdiction of Additional Judges in Mohabor Rahman v. Hazi Abdur Rahim AIR 1921 Cal 210 held that :

'An Additional Judge to whom, under Section 8 (2) of the Bengal Civil Courts Act (12 of 1887), is assigned the function of a District Judge relating to all suits cognizable by the District Judge under any Act in force for the time being is empowered to exercise the same powers as the District Judge in suits under Section 92 of the Civil Procedure Code.

In such cases it is not necessary that the Court should be empowered by the Local Government.'

Similar was the view taken in G.C. Bezfarua v. State of Assam AIR 1954 Assam 161. Bhagwan Sitaram Khasale's case (supra) on which reliance has been placed by the learned counsel for the applicant is distinguishable. That was a -case where the application was initially moved before the Additional District Judge and under the C. P. and Berar Courts Act the jurisdiction of the Additional District Judge was subject to any other enactment for the time being in force. The Bombay High Court in that context remarked that the C. P. and Berar Courts Act will not assist the parties in an order passed by an Additional District Judge.

7. The Additional District Judge in the instant case was, therefore, competent to dispose of the application moved under Section 18 of the Religious Endowments Act before the District Judge and assigned to him for disposal.

The next point of the applicant also has no substance. Under Section 18 of the Act the Court has to determine whether there are sufficient prima facie grounds for the institution of a suit. The finding of the Court shows that the Court below did hold that the property was prima facie a trust property and the public at large were as of right allowed to worship the deities.

8. The revision, therefore, has no force and is accordingly dismissed with costs.


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