S.P. Mohapatra, J.
1. The plaintiff has come up in this Second Appeal against the concurrent judgment ot the Courts below arising out of a suit for declaration of his rights as the Sebayat-marfatdar of the family deities Sri Raghunath Jiew and Sri Damodar Jiew and for possession of the suit property as Marfatdar. He has further prayed that the deed ot sale executed by the father of the plaintiff is not operative and binding inasmuch as it is not supported by legal necessity of the deities and that it is a void transaction. The Courts below have non-suited the plaintiff mainly on the ground that the plaintiff has made himself unfit for being a Marfatdar as he admits that he has accepted Alekh religion.
2. It is to be made clear that no plea was taken by the defendants in the written statement as to under what circumstances the plaintiff is disqualified to be a Marfatdar on account of his accepting the views of the sect known as Alekhdharmist. Indeed, the plaintiff in his cross-examinauon states one sentence to the effect that he has embraced Alekh religion for the last 15 years which serves as the basis of the judgments of the Courts below for non-suiting the plaintiff on the ground of disqualification for being a marfatdar of the family deities. There is no dispute that they are the family deities and this is the common case of the parties that the sebapuja of the deities is carried on by the members of the family by appointing Pujhari and servant.
The learned lower appellate court observes that the persons belonging to Alekh sect believe in Nirakara Bramha or formless God, they have no regard for idols, and as such, the present plaintiff is not qualified to worship an idol situate in a temple. Nirakara Bramha or formless absolute is the very basic principle of Bedanta to which all sections of Hindus owe their allegiance. But nevertheless, the worship of any idol, offering prayers and Bhogs to the deity, according to the principles of Hindu religion, can never be taken to be inconsistent with the absolute ideal of the formless God.
It is clear from the Hindu concepts that the worship of idols is just a preliminary step in the process of realisation of God of which the ideal is Nirakara Bramha or formless absolute. By admitting the position that he has changed Ms sect or that he has gone to Alekh sect, the plaintiff can never be taken to be disqualified to carry on the functions of a Marfatdar of the deities in question in the face of the indisputable position that the Alekh Dharmis are also Hindus. The matter would have taken a different turn if really it would have been proved by the defendants that there is a custom that the Marfatdars are bound to owe allegiance to the creed of the particular sect to which the founder belongs.
Further, the matter would have taken a different turn if the original deed of endowment or dedication would have provided that on account of the change of sect the marfatdar would be disqualified to serve as a marfatdar. But such features are conspicuously absent in the present case. The Courts below have disqualified the plaintiff only on the statement of the plaintiff that he has accepted Alekh religion for the last 15 years. In my opinion, he still continues to be a Hindu and he still owes allegiance to the basic principles of Hindu religion and as such he can never be thrown out as marfatdar of the deities.
3. A further point was also taken by Mr. Sen appearing on behalf of the respondents that the deed impugned in the present suit by the plaintiff is a Seba Samarpana Patra executed (by plaintiff's father and therefore, the plaintiff has ceased to be a marfatdar. On a plain reading of the deed, it appears to be one for consideration and if the Seba-samarpana Patra purports to be one for consideration, it must be declared as void ab initio. The trial court also had found that the transaction was not supported by legal necessity of the deities. The respondents therefore cannot place reliance on this document to disqualify the plaintiff. The plaintiff's suit is bound to succeed.
4. Accordingly the appeal is allowed, the judgments and decrees of the Courts below are set aside and the plaintiff's suit is decreed except in respect of the claim for mesne profits of Rs. 20/-. The plaintiff is entitled to full costs throughout.