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Sri La Sri Subramania Pandarasannadhi, the Managing Trustee of Sri Vedaraneeswaraswami Temple and Sri Subramanyaswami Temple Vs. the Hindu Religious Endowments Board - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1943Mad104; (1942)2MLJ403
AppellantSri La Sri Subramania Pandarasannadhi, the Managing Trustee of Sri Vedaraneeswaraswami Temple and Sr
RespondentThe Hindu Religious Endowments Board
Cases ReferredDeivasikamani Ponnambala Desikar v. The Board of Commissioners
Excerpt:
- - when the case was in the court below the appellant admitted that almost all the grounds of complaint were well founded and his only excuse was that he was not responsible for some of the defects and omissions, but the blame should be placed on the commissioner and the mahanamdar who were responsible for the repairs of the temple......the second contention advanced on behalf of the appellant is also without substance. in the notice served on the appellant he was called upon to appear before the board on the 2nd may, 1939, to show cause. on that date, on his application time for the filing of objections was extended to the 16th may. they had not been filed by the 16th may and the board was requested to give a further extension of time. it did so and allowed the appellant until the 6th july for this purpose. this was an indulgence and the appellant could not legitimately expect any further extension. the objections had not been filed by the 6th july, but on that date an advocate on behalf of the appellant applied for further time. the board refused to grant it and very properly so too. the appellant had been.....
Judgment:

Alfred Henry Lionel Leach, C.J.

1. In exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-section (3) of Section 65-A of the Madras Hindu Religious Endowments Act, 1926, the Government of Madras, by a notification, dated the 9th August, 1939, directed that the Sri Subramanyaswami temple, Ettugudi, which is in the Tanjore District, and the endowments belonging thereto should be subject to the provisions of Ch. VI-A of the Act. This notification meant that the management of the temple was to be taken out of the hands of the appellant, who was the managing trustee, and placed in the hands of an executive officer appointed by the Madras Hindu Religious Endowments Board.

2. In Appeals Nos. 222 and 241 of 1920 this Court settled a scheme for the management of the temple. The appeals arose out of O.S. No. 7 of 1913 of the Court of the Temporary Subordinate Judge of Tanjore. On the 30th August, 1939, the appellant filed on the Original Side of this Court the suit which has given rise to the present appeal. He asked for a declaration that the proceedings taken by the Board for the notification of the temple under Chapter VI-A are 'illegal, void, without jurisdiction, not judicial but arbitrary and therefore not legally binding' on him or the temple. The suit was tried by Chandrasekhara Ayyar, J., who held that the appellant had not made out a case for the declaration.

3. Before us the appellant has challenged the validity of the notification on two grounds. In the first place he says that when the Board issued notice under Sub-section (1) of Section 65-A it did not cause it to be served on all the necessary parties to the proceedings. In the second place he contends that the order of the Board on which the notification is based was arbitrary and fell within the decision of this Court in Deivasikamani Ponnambala Desikar v. The Board of Commissioners for H.R.E., Madras : (1941)2MLJ175 .

4. Sub-section (1) of Section 65-A states that the Board may by notice published in the prescribed manner call upon the trustee and all other persons having interest in a temple or in any specific endowment attached to a temple to show cause why the temple or the endowment should not be notified to be subject to the provisions of Chapter VI-A. Rule II of the rules made by the Madras Government under Sections 48 and 65-A of the Act states that the notice referred to in Clause (a) of the subsection (1) of Section 65-A shall be sent by registered post (a) to the trustee of the temple or specific endowment concerned, (b) to such persons having interest in the temple or the specific endowment as the Board may deem necessary, and (c) in case the temple is, or the specific endowment is attached to, a non-excepted temple, also to the President of the temple committee, if any, having jurisdiction.

5. This temple is an excepted temple and at all times material to the suit the appellant was its managing trustee. It is devoted to the worship of Sri Subramanyaswami. At Vedaranyam, a village some four miles away, is a temple devoted to the worship of Sri Vetharaneeswaraswami, and there is close connection between the two temples. A scheme for the management of the Vedaranyam temple was settled by this Court in Appeals Nos. 121 and 122 of 1919 arising out of O.S. No. 6 of 1913 of the Court of the Temporary Subordinate Judge of Tanjore. At Varani in the District of Jaffna, Ceylon, is a school of pandarasannadhis, and the Vedaranyam temple is said to have been founded by a member of this body. In the scheme framed by the Court the trusteeship of the Vedaranyam temple is vested in Varani Athinathars, but the administration of the temple and its affairs is-vested in a managing trustee who is appointed by the Athinathars. Under the authority conferred upon them by the scheme they appointed the appellant the managing trustee of the Vedaranyam temple. The scheme for the management of the Ettugudi temple and its endowments provides that the managing trustee and the commissioner of the Vedaranyam temple shall be the managing trustee and the commissioner of the Ettugudi temple respectively. The functions of the commissioner are largely those of an inspecting and supervising officer. The Ettugudi scheme also provides that all suits and other legal proceedings by or against the temple shall be instituted by the managing trustee. The Athinathars are not referred to in this scheme.

6. In these circumstances the Board caused notice under subsection (1) of Section 65-A to be served on the appellant as the managing trustee and on the commissioner. It is said that this was not sufficient and that it should have been served on every individual member of the body of pandarasannadhis in Jaffna, and as this had not taken place all proceedings under Chapter VI-A are void. The contention of the appellant is one which has no substance in it. The persons who were responsible for the management of the temple and had charge of all its endowments were served, and under the rules this was sufficient. The rule merely requires the trustee to be served and the trustee was served. Whether other persons interested in the temple should be served is for the Board and the Board alone to decide. The Board acted in accordance with law in directing notice to issue merely to the appellant and to the commissioner, and the notice to them was sufficient.

7. The second contention advanced on behalf of the appellant is also without substance. In the notice served on the appellant he was called upon to appear before the Board on the 2nd May, 1939, to show cause. On that date, on his application time for the filing of objections was extended to the 16th May. They had not been filed by the 16th May and the Board was requested to give a further extension of time. It did so and allowed the appellant until the 6th July for this purpose. This was an indulgence and the appellant could not legitimately expect any further extension. The objections had not been filed by the 6th July, but on that date an advocate on behalf of the appellant applied for further time. The Board refused to grant it and very properly so too. The appellant had been given far more time than was necessary. In these circumstances the Board proceeded to consider the position and ordered the notification to issue.

8. In the notice which the Board issued when it proposed to take action it set out, as required by law, the reasons why it proposed to do so. When the case was in the Court below the appellant admitted that almost all the grounds of complaint were well founded and his only excuse was that he was not responsible for some of the defects and omissions, but the blame should be placed on the commissioner and the mahanamdar who were responsible for the repairs of the temple. It is not denied that the complaints were of such a nature that the Board could take action under Chapter VI-A. In these circumstances it is impossible for the appellant with reason to say that the Board has acted in an arbitrary manner. The facts in Deivasikamani Ponnambala Desikar v. The Board of Commissioners for H.R.E., Madras : (1941)2MLJ175 . were entirely different to the facts we have here. There the action of the Board could only be regarded as perverse. Here the record shows that the Board was fully justified in taking the action which it did. Moreover, as the appellant did not file objections when he was given the opportunity to do so he cannot be allowed to raise them in a suit.

9. The suit was rightly dismissed by the learned Judge and consequently the appeal will be dismissed with costs.


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