1. The plaintiff sued for a declaration that the building in which he resides and in which the worship of the deity, Sri Gopalakrishna Devaru, is performed, though it is popularly called the Ednir Math, is not an institution to which Madras Religious Endowments Act II of 1927 applies.
2. The plaint was filed on 17th April, 1928. The defendant, the Religious Endowments Board, had by its order, dated 27th April, 1927, after giving notice to the plaintiff and holding an inquiry, decided that the institution was a math within the Hindu Religious Endowments Act. This order of the Board, as appears from para. 6 of the plaint, is the cause of action on which the plaintiff founds his suit. The learned District Judge has held that the suit is barred by Section 84(2) of the Act and has dismissed it, and we think that he was right.
3. A math as defined by the Act, Section 9(7), means:
An institution for the promotion of the Hindu religion presided over by a person whose duty is to engage himself in spiritual service or who exercises or claims to exercise spiritual headship over a body, of disciples, and succession to whose office devolves in accordance with the directions of the founder of the institution or is regulated by usage; and includes places of religious worship other than a temple or places of religious instruction which are appurtenant to such institution.
4. Section 84 as it stood at the date of the Board's order (it has since been amended) provided:
(1) If any dispute arise as to whether a math...is one to which this Act applies...such dispute shall be decided by the Board. (2) A trustee affected by a decision under Sub-section (1) may within one year apply to the Court to modify or set aside such decision but, subject to the result of such application, the order of the Board shall be final.
5. There is no doubt that a dispute had arisen between the plaintiff on one side who maintained that the institution was his private : property, and the Board on the other which claimed that the institution was a math within the definition of the Act. The. Board was, therefore, competent to decide the dispute under Section 84(1) of the; Act : see Sri Vaithilinga Pandora Sannadhi v. Sir T. Sadasiva Aiyar : AIR1928Mad1272 . The argument was directed to showing that the Court's jurisdiction to entertain this suit is not ousted by Section 84(2). A number of cases have been cited in support of the proposition that an enactment providing that the decision of a special tribunal upon a particular matter shall be final does, not import a total exclusion of the Court's jurisdiction over the matter. Thus, a determination or order which is in excess of the jurisdiction conferred upon the tribunal would be liable to be set aside by suit or by the Court in the exercise of its powers of revision, as the case might be : see The Secretary of State for India in Council v. Fahamidannissa Begum ; Matangini Debi v. Girish Chunder Chongdar I.L.R. (1903) 30 C. 619; Nataraja Mudaliar v. Municipal Council of Mayavaram I.L.R. (1911) 36 M. 120 : 21 M.L.J. 878 and Parthasarathi Naidu v. Koteswara Rao I.L.R. (1923) 47 M. 369 : 46 M.L.J. 201. And the jurisdiction of the Court will not be ousted unless it is expressly or impliedly excluded by the enactment creating the special tribunal. Stevens v. Chown (1901) 1 Ch. 894 Bhaishankar v. The Municipal Corporation of Bombay I.L.R. (1907) 31 B 604 and Valli Ammal v. Corporation of Madras I.L.R. (1912) 38 M. 41 : 23 M.L.J. 531. But the well-established principle is that when by an act of the Legislature powers are given to any person for a public purpose from which an individual may receive injury, if the mode of redressing the injury is pointed out by the statute, the jurisdiction of the ordinary Courts is ousted, and, in the case of injury, the party cannot proceed by suit : see Ramachomdra v. The Secretary, of State I.L.R. (1888) 12 M. 105; Sailesh Chandra Sarkar v. Sir Bejoy Chand Mahatap Bahadur (1921) 65 I.C. 711; Bhaishankar v. The Municipal Corporation of Bombay I.L.R. (1907) 31 B. 604 and Nataraja Mudaliar v. Municipal Council of Mayavaram I.L.R. (1911) 36 M. 120 : 21 M.L.J. 878. The mode of redress open to the plaintiff in respect of the interference with his rights by the Board's order is definitely provided by Section 84(2) of the Act, viz., an application to the District Court. In our opinion, therefore, it is not open to him to seek redress by means of this suit. His appeal is accordingly dismissed with costs.