1. The appellants in these appeals is the President of the Board of Commissioners for Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras. In May 1930 the Board made a demand under Section 70 of the Madras Hindu Religious Endowments Act upon the Respondent the trustee of two Mutts in Udipi, for contributions for several years beginning with the fasli ending with 30th June, 1925. The contributions were not paid, and in due course the Board applied (November, 1930) under Section 70(2) to the learned District Judge of South Kanara to recover the amount of the contributions. The Board's applications were allowed in so far as the period subsequent to 30th June, 1926 was concerned but the demands for the two faslis ending with that date were held to be barred by limitation. Against this part of the District Judge's order the Board has appealed.
2. The clause in Section 70(2) of the Act which regulates the Courts proceedings is the following:
The Court shall, on the application of the President of the Board recover the amount as if a decree had been passed for the amount by the Court against the religious Endowment concerned.
3. Now it is contended for the appellant that such an application is governed by Article 182 of the Limitation Act. For this position there is no direct authority, but we think the appellant is entitled to rely upon the ruling reported in re Belvedere Jute Mills, Ltd. Chaitram Sagor Mull v. Hardwari Mull & Co. 31 C.W.N. 1097. In that case the article of the Limitation Act applicable to the enforcing of an award under Section 15 of the Indian Arbitration Act was being considered, and it was held that Article 182 applied. The words of Section 15 are quoted in the head note 'shall be enforceable as if it were a decree of that Court' and it will be seen that these words are precisely similar in significance to the words in Section 70(2) of the present Act 'The Court shall recover the amount as if a decree had been passed'. This position also receives support, though the question of limitation did not there arise, from the ruling of a Bench of the Madras High Court reported in Lakshmindra Tirta Swamiyar v. President of the Board of Commissioners for the Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras I.L.R.(1932) 56 Mad. 712 : 65 M.L.J. 364. It was there held that an appeal lay under Section 47, Civil Procedure Code from an order of the Court passed under Section 70(2) of the Act as the words 'as if a decree had been passed' attract to the order the whole procedure in execution and with it 'the right of appeal'. No ruling to any effect contrary to these authorities has been brought to our notice, and we accordingly hold that Article 182 applies to the present cases. That being so, the applications of the Board could not have been made until three months had elapsed from the date of the Board's demand (i.e., until August 1930) and being made in November 1930 were clearly in time.
4. The only question which remains is whether the District Judge even if he had held the applications to be in time could yet have examined the demand of the Board On its merits and come to the conclusion that no demand should be made for more than three years' arrears of contribution. We do not think the District Judge would have this power. On the principles laid down in Lakshmindra Tirta Swamiyar v. President of the Board of Commissioners for the Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras I.L.R.(1932) 56 Mad. 712 : 56 M.L.J. 364 we think the District Judge would be in the same position as any other executing Court and would be precluded from deciding whether the demand was right or wrong, just as in execution it is forbidden to the. executing Court to go behind the plain words of a decree. On this point too, there is clear authority derived from the construction of the terms of a similar section in another Act. In Section 42(5), of the Co-operative Societies Act it is provided that 'orders made under this section, shall, on application, be enforced as follows' (a) when made by a liquidator, by any Civil Court haying local jurisdiction in the same manner as a decree of such Court. Mathura Prasad v. Sheobalak Ram I.L.R.(1917) 40 All. 89 deals with an instance of such a liquidator's order and it was held that the Court could not consider whether that order was right or wrong but was bound to enforce it.
5. We are therefore of opinion that the present order of the learned District Judge in so far as it is appealed against cannot be supported in any manner and must be set aside and the Board's applications restored to file, and disposed of according to law. We are not unmindful of the possible injustice which might result from this interpretation of Section 70(2), as the learned District Judge has pointed out in para. 6 of his order, but that is a matter which can be remedied only by the Legislature and not by the Courts. The appeals are thus allowed with costs throughout of one appeal.