Skip to content


Gopal Datt and anr. Vs. Babu Ram and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1936All653
AppellantGopal Datt and anr.
RespondentBabu Ram and anr.
Excerpt:
- - the point perhaps is not very clearly expressed; duly installed, was, in fact, the mahant of the math, and was entitled to recover (for the benefit of the math) the property which belongs to the math and is wrongly held by the defendants, who were in no better position than trespassers......his minority at a certain period of his possession. on p. 208 their lordships said:although this suit is brought by the plaintiff as shebait, there is no evidence on which any reliance could be placed as to who founded the religious endowment or as to the terms or condition of the foundation. the legal inference, therefore is that the title to the property, or to the management and the control of the property, as the case may be, follows the line of inheritance from the founder, as was laid down by this board in gossami sri gridhariji v. ramanlalji (1890) 16 ia 137.3. on p. 210 their lordships stated:but assuming the religious dedication to have been of the strictest character, it still remains that the possession and management of the dedicated property belongs to the shebait. and.....
Judgment:

1. This is a second appeal by defendants against a decree of the lower appellate Court passed against him for the rent of a house. The suit was brought by an idol through one Babu Ram described as sarbarakar and manager of the idol. There are two points in this second appeal, the first of which is that the lower Court was not justified in taking into evidence a mukhtarnama dated 1st December 1926. The lower appellate Court has found as its conclusion that Babu Ram was the de facto manager of the temple not only on this mukhtarnama but also on discarding the mukhtarnama on the oral evidence. This mukhtarnama was not proved in the lower Court, but it was admitted in evidence by the lower appellate Court. It purported to have been executed on 1st December 1926, by Mul Chand, deceased, who was the manager of the temple and the successor of Badri Prasad, who made the original endowment of the temple. We are of the opinion, in any case, that as the lower Court acted on the evidence other than mukhtarnama, no point arises in regard to it in second appeal.

2. The next point which was argued was ground No. 8 that the de facto manager is legally not entitled to sue unless he is also a de jure manager. The finding of the Court below is that Babu Ram was a de facto manager of the temple. The point perhaps is not very clearly expressed; but what is meant by learned Counsel is that a suit cannot be brought in the name of the idol by a person who is not a de jure manager. For this proposition counsel relied particularly on the ruling of their Lordships of the Privy Counsel reported in Maharaja Jagadindra Nath Roy Bahadur v. Rani Hemanta Kumari Dabi (1905) 32 Cal 129. That however was a special case and the point, which arose was whether the plaintiff who was not the idol, but a private person, Maharaja Jagadindra Nath Roy Bahadur, could obtain the benefit of Section 7, Lim. Act, on account of his minority at a certain period of his possession. On p. 208 their Lordships said:

Although this suit is brought by the plaintiff as shebait, there is no evidence on which any reliance could be placed as to who founded the religious endowment or as to the terms or condition of the foundation. The legal inference, therefore is that the title to the property, or to the management and the control of the property, as the case may be, follows the line of inheritance from the founder, as was laid down by this Board in Gossami Sri Gridhariji v. Ramanlalji (1890) 16 IA 137.

3. On p. 210 their Lordships stated:

But assuming the religious dedication to have been of the strictest character, it still remains that the possession and management of the dedicated property belongs to the shebait. And this carries with it the right to bring whatever suits are necessary for the protection of the property. Every such right of suit is vested in the shebait, not in the idol. In the present case the right to sue accrued to the plaintiff when he was not of age. The case therefore falls within the clear language of Section 7, Lim. Act, which says: 'If a person entitled to institute a suit... be , at the time rom which the period of limitation is to be reckoned, a minor,' he may institute the suit after coming of age within a time which in the present case would be three years.

4. This case differs from the present suit because in the present suit the complaint is brought in the name of the idol as plaintiff, and further the ruling of their Lordships was in regard to question of limitation of a person who brought a suit solely as shebait, and without reference to the idol. There is a later case of their Lordships of the Privy Council reported in Pramatha Nath Mullick v. Pradyumna Kumar 1925 23 ALJ 537. In that case their Lordships laid down that in a suit it was necessary that the idol should be a party through a disinterested next friend, and it was further held

that an idol, when established and consecrated as a household god by a pious Hindu, becomes a juristic entity. It attains a juristic status with the power of suing and being sued. Its interests are attended to by the person who has the deity in his charge and who is in law its manager with all the powers which would, in such circumstances, on an analogy, be given to the manager, of the estate of an infant heir. The shebait is in law the custodian of the idol and manager of its estate.

5. Their Lordships have also expressed similar views in a later ruling reported in Mahadeo Prasad Singh v. Karia Bharthi 1935 ALJ 678, and in that case it was held that a person, although not. duly installed, was, in fact, the mahant of the math, and was entitled to recover (for the benefit of the math) the property which belongs to the math and is wrongly held by the defendants, who were in no better position than trespassers. That later ruling is very similar to the present case. The matter has also been considered by a Full Bench in this Court, Jodhi Rai v. Basdeo Prasad (1911) 33 All 735, where it was held that an idol is a juristic person capable of holding property; and, therefore a suit respecting property in which an idol is interested is properly brought or defended in the name of the idol, although ex necessitate rei the proceedings in the suit must be carried on by some person who represents the idol, usually the manager of the temple in which the idol is installed. On p. 737 it was remarked that:

The manager of the idol is not personally interested in the suit any more than is the next friend or guardian of a minor. As a suit by a minor should be brought in the name of the minor and not of his next friend, so should a suit on behalf of the idol be brought in the name of the idol as represented by the manager, and in a suit against the idol the defendant should be similarly described.

6. This was also followed in Sheo Ramji v. Sri Ridhnath Mahadeoji 1923 45 All 319, and the Full Bench ruling has been referred to by a ruling of the Single Judge of this Court reported in Shri Gopal Maharaj v. Krishna Sunder Nath Kaviraj 1929 ALJ 1251, on which appellant relies. In, that case it was held that a person who had the deity in his charge at the date of a suit filed by him on behalf of the idol, but was not in law its manager, was not competent to represent the idol in the) action. This however was a special case and is not at all parallel to the present case where there is a finding of fact that Babu Ram is the de facto manager of the idol. The learned Single Judge referred on p. 1253 to the Full Bench Ruling reported in Jodhi Rai v. Basdeo Prasad (1911) 33 All 735 and stated:

In Jodhi Rai v. Basdeo Prasad (1911) 33 All 735 it was ruled that a suit on behalf of an idol must be carried on by some person who represents the idol, usually the manager of the temple in which the idol is installed.

7. We consider that these rulings conclude the matter in favour of the plaint as represented in the present case, and that the plaint was validly presented by Babu Ram. Learned Counsel made an argument in regard to the Appendix A-see Schedule 1, Civil P.C. Pleadings in which in the exemplar of 'Titles of suits' there was the following: 'A. B., Shebait of Thakur.' Now this exemplar is only intended to show that the shebait of an idol may bring a suit in this manner; but there is nothing in the exemplar to show that this is the only way in which the suit can be brought on behalf of Thakur ji. In fact in the ruling on which learned Counsel relies, Maharaja Jagadindra Nath Roy Bahadur v. Rani Hemanta Kumari Dabi (1905) 32 Cal 129, the suit was brought by the Shebait in his own name. We consider therefore that no case has been made out in second appeal, and we dismiss this second appeal with costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //