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Deeri Narasimhacharyulu and ors. Vs. Chalasani Subbayya (Died) and ors. and Tummulapalli Gopalakrishnamurthi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil;Property
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in36Ind.Cas.270; (1916)31MLJ202
AppellantDeeri Narasimhacharyulu and ors.
RespondentChalasani Subbayya (Died) and ors. and Tummulapalli Gopalakrishnamurthi
Excerpt:
.....clearly of opinion that it is the former, not the latter and that no ingenious form of words can be framed by the appellants which does not when examined resolve itself inevitably into the contention that this was after all an inam to the defendants' predecessor. owing to the good sense of the counsel engaged in this court, if i may say so, that lamentable result has been avoided......at such remuneration as the said court shall fix not exceeding rs. 50.7. the income from the inam lands of anjaneyaswami shall be kept distinct from the income of the inam lands of sri kesavaswami and the application of them shall be subject to the following directions : (1) the income of the inam lands of anjaneyaswami shall be applied in the first place to meeting the expense of the daily puja of anjaneyaswami and in the next place to paying one-third of the wages fixed for the archakas.(2) the income of the inam lands of sri kesavaswami and of the other properties of the temple shall be applied in the first place to meeting the expense of the daily puja and special festivals of sri kesavaswami and in the next place to paying the remaining two-thirds of the wages fixed for the.....
Judgment:

Coutts-Trotter, J.

1. This was a suit brought under Section 92 of the Civil Procedure Code with regard to a temple of Indupallu. The learned Subordinate Judge in a very careful and to my mind extremely accurate judgment has dealt with the contention of the appellant and I cannot do better than adopt the words in paragraph 21 of his judgment where he summarises his findings. On the main issue in the case, as to whether the defendants' claim as Arehakas to proprietary right in the lands is well founded, he says this : 'The inams in question were granted for the benefit and support of the temple and constitute absolute dedications to the god as trust property. They were not granted for the limited purpose of the performance of the archaka's duties alone and the contention of the defendants is unfounded and untenable that the income should be applied only to this purpose and no other. There is no usage proved or recognisable in law, as regards the application of the income to this limited purpose alone. The fact that the defendants have been misappropriating the income during the past few years, merely evidences a breach of trust and usage. There is no question of any prescriptive right in the defendants in the matter of the user of these trust properties. Their right is merely to be maintained out of the income (so long as they do or are allowed to do the archaka service) as it is a legitimate purpose connected with the maintenance of the temple as a place of worship.' That is the finding of the learned Judge with which I agree. It is perfectly clear from Ex. A. the Inam register which is undoubtedly compiled from the statements made at the time by the predecessors-in-title of the defendants that the grant was to the god and no one else. That is confirmed by the admission of the defendants' pleader in the court below referred to by the learned Judge in paragraph 12 of his judgment where he says ' it is conceded that the lands are temple Inam and were granted to and belonged to the god. It is not alleged that the grant was to the Archakas or that the title-deed was given in the name of any member of the Archakas' family.' In Ex. XVII which was a cowle or lease granted in 1893 by the predecessor of the defendants he states in terms that the land he was leasing belongs to the deity. It is only very much later in 1909, when controversy about this matter had begun to arise that the defendants bethought themselves of putting forward their present claim. The whole matter can be put in a nutshell. Was this a gift to the god or was it a service Inam granted to the defendants, burdened with an obligation to perform the duties of Archakas and subject to that duty capable of beneficial enjoyment by them? I am clearly of opinion that it is the former, not the latter and that no ingenious form of words can be framed by the appellants which does not when examined resolve itself inevitably into the contention that this was after all an Inam to the defendants' predecessor. On the main point there-fore I am of opinion that the appeal fails.

2. There remain one or two small matters to deal with. Under the 4th issue the question was raised as to whether a certain quantity of land amounting to 4 acres 72 cents and the house site being the second and third item respectively of the first schedule to the plaint were or were not part of the property belonging to the god, or whether they were the property, of the defendants. The learned Judge declined to determine that matter, leaving it to the trustee who might be appointed under the scheme to be presently mentioned to bring a suit to establish the right of the temple to this land if he should be so advised. Owing to the good sense of the counsel engaged in this Court, if I may say so, that lamentable result has been avoided. We are empowered by the vakils to give a finding on the issue and our finding is that it is not shown, that these lands were part of the lands granted to the god and that therefore they are the property of the defendants. They were undoubtedly purchased by the defendants and there is no proof of the allegation which was made at one time that the lands were purchased out of funds which they took from the temple properties. We hold therefore that these items are the defendants' property.

3. There is one other matter and that is with regard to a certain house or houses in plaint schedule II which were and are occupied by the defendants and used by them to provide habitation for the archakas of the temple who performed their duties as archakas. We are going to add to the scheme a provision that so long as they perform duties of archakas properly, so long shall they be undisturbed in their occupation of these houses.

4. That being so, we agree with the learned Judge that it is necessary to provide a scheme and in the main (subject to several modifications which I shall mention), we confirm the provisions of the scheme which he has laid down, I am going to read them clause by clause showing the alterations that I make. Some of them are purely grammatical or in the interests of clearness. We will preface the scheme by a declaration that the lands belonging to the temple consist of item 1 of schedule I and no more and we therefore declare that those properties vest in the trustee for the time being to be appointed under the scheme.

1. A trustee shall be appointed for the plaint temple to manage its affairs and properties. There shall for the present be a single trustee. He shall be a Hindu but may belong to any caste or sect.

2. The trustee shall hold office for a period of five years and shall be eligible for reappointment after the expiry of that period.

3. Any vacancy however caused in the office of trustee, during the period of tenure or at its expiration, shall be filled by the civil court having jurisdiction under Section 92 of the Code of Civil Procedure, on application in that behalf by any person interested.

4. All the properties of the temple moveable and immoveable shall vest in the trustee and he shall take all necessary and immediate steps for securing possession thereof on behalf of the temple.

5. The trustee shall keep true and correct accounts of all moneys received and disbursed for and on account of the temple and shall produce the accounts whenever called for by the said Court.

6. The accounts so kept by the trustee shall once in every year be audited by some fit and proper person to be appointed by the Court referred to in Clause 8 hereof, at such remuneration as the said Court shall fix not exceeding Rs. 50.

7. The income from the inam lands of Anjaneyaswami shall be kept distinct from the income of the inam lands of Sri Kesavaswami and the application of them shall be subject to the following directions :

(1) The income of the inam lands of Anjaneyaswami shall be applied in the first place to meeting the expense of the daily puja of Anjaneyaswami and in the next place to paying one-third of the wages fixed for the archakas.

(2) The income of the inam lands of Sri Kesavaswami and of the other properties of the temple shall be applied in the first place to meeting the expense of the daily puja and special festivals of Sri Kesavaswami and in the next place to paying the remaining two-thirds of the wages fixed for the archakas.

8. The trustee shall see to the performance of the daily puja and worship and also to the conduct of the special festivals in and outside the temple such as were in vogue in this institution and they may also be enlarged so far as the funds permit.

9. The defendants are the hereditary archakas of the temple and the 1st and 2nd defendants as the present holders of the office shall each receive a remuneration of Rs. 25 a month to be paid to them by the trustee in lieu of salary. This provision shall take effect as from the 1st of April 1914. The archakas shall retain possession and occupation of the houses within the temple compound so long as they continue in the office of archakas.

10. The trustee shall not without the permission of the Court referred to in Clause 3 hereof sell or mortgage the temple building or properties nor grant a lease of any portion of the temple lands for a term exceeding five years.

11. The trustee shall collect the rents and profits of the temple properties and defray all the legitimate expenses connected with the temple.

12. The trustee shall take prompt steps to effect the urgent repairs needed for the temple premises and buildings and for the Dwajasthambam as may be necessary or desirable consistently with the funds at his disposal.

13. The trustee shall not keep on hand any large surplus not required for prompt disbursement but shall invest it for the benefit of the temple in securities authorised as trust investments by the law for the time being in force.

14. Liberty to apply to the Court is hereby granted to the trustee or to any person interested in regard to any matter arising out of this scheme, or seeking any modification thereof.

5. We confirm the appointment made by the Lower Court of Mr. T.G. Krishnamurthi Pantulu of Grudivada as trustee.

6. Appeal No. 152 of 1914 is dismissed with costs. The memorandum of objections is dismissed with costs.

7. Appeal against Order 127 of 1914 is dismissed with costs.

Srinivasa lyengar, J.

8. I agree.


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