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Ramakristna Vs. Ranga and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1883)ILR7Mad424
AppellantRamakristna
RespondentRanga and anr.
Cases ReferredDinanath Abji v. Sadashiv Hari Madhave I.L.R.
Excerpt:
cause of action - suit by hereditary purohit for declaration of right to officiate and for damages for loss of fees. - - 10. the grant of an office by government carries with it the right to enjoy the emoluments specified in the grant and all fees customarily attached to that office. 11. the grant simply appoints the original purohit to be purohit of the village and assigns an mam to be enjoyed for the performance of the duties of the office......as to the facts. very many years ago, an ancestor of plaintiff was appointed by government to the office of purohit in proddatur, and an inam was given for the holder of such office, in the same way as mains were allotted to the different village officers. the inam has been from time to time divided between members of plaintiff's family, and plaintiff is entitled to l/28th share of it. during the division made from time to time by plaintiff's family, they have, as between themselves, agreed what houses or families in the village each sharer should be the purohit of, and the plaintiff' claims that the house and family of the first and second defendants was, amongst the sharers, allotted to him. the first and second defendants were not parties to this agreement of the sharers, and it is.....
Judgment:

Kernan and Hutchins, JJ.

1. The plaint in this case, No. 207 of 1882, was filed in the Munsif's Court of Proddatur against the first and second defendants, to have plaintiff declared to be hereditarily entitled to be purohit or priest to the first and second defendants, and for damages against them for the loss of fees not paid to the plaintiff. The plaint also sought damages against the third and fourth defendants for fees received by them from the first and second defendants for performing services as purohit.

2. The first and second defendants' case is that they were not bound to employ, and did not employ, the plaintiff to do any services for them as purohit, and that they employed the third and fourth defendants to do such services and paid them therefor.

3. The plaint states that, since the town of Proddator has been in existence, plaintiff's ancestors were, by appointment from Government, the purohits of it, and were enjoying the mirasi with fees; that the right to such officer for the first and second defendants ' family fell to plaintiff's share, and he was enjoying it for a long time, and that since June 1879 plaintiff conducted the duties as regards the first and second defendants through Thangi. Subbanna and his son ' as his agents; that, on the occasion of the first annual ceremony of first defendant's brother on the 23rd of March 1882, the first and second defendants to the prejudice of plaintiff told his agents not to act as purohits, and employed the third and fourth defendants as such and paid them.

4. There is no dispute as to the facts. Very many years ago, an ancestor of plaintiff was appointed by Government to the office of purohit in Proddatur, and an inam was given for the holder of such office, in the same way as mains were allotted to the different village officers. The inam has been from time to time divided between members of plaintiff's family, and plaintiff is entitled to l/28th share of it. During the division made from time to time by plaintiff's family, they have, as between themselves, agreed what houses or families in the village each sharer should be the purohit of, and the plaintiff' claims that the house and family of the first and second defendants was, amongst the sharers, allotted to him. The first and second defendants were not parties to this agreement of the sharers, and it is not alleged that they are in any way bound thereby.

5. The plaintiff had before 1879 acted as purohit for the first and second defendants, and was paid by them for his services. In that year plaintiff' was employed by them as a gumasta in some business away from Proddatur, but, owing to a disagreement, plaintiff' was dismissed. He employed the persons he names as his agents in the capacity of purohits at Proddator when he went away from that place. When the ceremony mentioned in the plaint was about to be performed, the defendants informed plaintiff's agents that their services would not be accepted.

6. Both the Lower Courts dismissed the suit on the ground that the defendants, 1 and 2, were not under any legal obligation to employ the plaintiff to perform service as purohit; that they might legally employ the services of any other purohit as they thought fit; and that plaintiff not having done any service was not entitled to be paid.

7. The plaintiff appeals upon the ground, amongst others, 'that the right of the plaintiff's family to officiate as purohits of the defendants, 1 and 2, is not only based on hereditary right but also on a grant from Government, which grant has been found by both the Lower Courts, and that the defendants, 1 and 2, are not at liberty to interdict plaintiff from officiating for them, or to employ others as purohits, to the pecuniary loss of the plaintiff, without just and reasonable cause.'

8. It is admitted by appellant's vakil that the first and second defendant were at liberty to perform the ceremony themselves without the services of a purohit, and that in such case plaintiff could not claim any fees; and it is admitted by the defendants that, if they employed a purohit to perform the ceremony, such purohit should be paid some fee, however small, in order to render the ceremony efficacious.

9. It is not questioned that the plaintiff is descended from the original purohit, nor is it questioned that the original incumbent was appointed by Government to be purohit of Proddatur, and that his descendants, including the plaintiff, have been recognized as purohits of that place and have performed services, as such, even for the first and second defendants and their families, and there is not doubt that, if the first and second defendants employed the plaintiff, they should pay him some fee.

10. The grant of an office by Government carries with it the right to enjoy the emoluments specified in the grant and all fees customarily attached to that office. In this case the grant appointed the plaintiff's ancestor purohit of Proddatur and granted an inam. in land as appertaining to that office. It is admitted by plaintiff's vakil that the grant does not expressly award any fee to be paid to plaintiff's ancestor by all persons performing ceremonies at which a purohit attends; and it is also admitted that the grant does not provide that the Hindu inhabitants of Proddatur should not employ any purohit except the original grantee and his descendants, or that, if the inhabitants did employ any other purohit to perform services, the original purohit, or his descendants, should be paid fees, although he or they did not perform such services.

11. The grant simply appoints the original purohit to be purohit of the village and assigns an mam to be enjoyed for the performance of the duties of the office.

12. It is argued that, as the original purohit was appointed to the village for the convenience of the inhabitants, the latter are not entitled to employ any other purohit; and, if they do, they must pay the plaintiff the fee he would be entitled to, if he performed the service.

13. We think there is no foundation for this contention. Prima facie, the inam is the only legal emolument attached to the office by the grant. By the grant of the inam the presence of the purohit was secured to be availed of by the inhabitants, if they chose to take advantage of those services, and the emolument of the inam was the payment provided by Government for the presence of the purohit.

14. In early days, Government has in each village appointed village artizans to whom inams are assigned to secure their presence for the performance of duties, and, if the plaintiff succeeded in this case, there is no reason why those artizans should not insist on similar rights as against the inhabitants.

15. No long uninterrupted usage, nor indeed any usage, has been alleged or proved to establish the right now claimed by plaintiff--see Krishna Ayyan v. Anantarama Aiyan 2 M.H.C.R. 330.

16. The Bombay case, Dinanath Abji v. Sadashiv Hari Madhave I.L.R. 3 Bom. 9 recognizes such a claim as plaintiff now makes. The Court, in giving judgment, say that the claim has been there recognized, and that they are bound by authority to hold the suit maintainable. There is no decision in this Presidency recognizing such claims, and in the case mentioned it is stated that such claims are denied by the High Courts of Bengal and the North-Western Provinces.

17. The case has been sent back by the Lower Appellate Court to the Munsif to try issues as between the plaintiff and the third and fourth defendants, who have not appealed.

18. We dismiss the appeal of this plaintiff with costs.


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