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Srimath Deivasikamani Pandara Sannadhi Alias Nataraja Desikar Vs. E.K. Karutha Ravuthan (Died) and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1911)21MLJ129
AppellantSrimath Deivasikamani Pandara Sannadhi Alias Nataraja Desikar
RespondentE.K. Karutha Ravuthan (Died) and ors.
Cases ReferredSaminada Pandara v. Sellappa Chetty I.L.R.
Excerpt:
- - but the rest of the judgment, in our opinion, clearly shows that the court did not intend to lay down in this passage that the head of a mutt could pledge the credit of the mutt for debts contracted for mutt purposes without necessity and without reference to the question whether they should have been met from current income. in the last paragraph of the judgment, the learned judges point out that though the mutt was in debt, its financial position was not so bad as to make it improper to incur debts for the purchase of the cloths in question;.....lower appellate court that the late pandara sannadhi kept a running account with the plaintiff for mutt purposes, either because he found it inconvenient to pay cash down for everything he purchased for the mutt or because he had not sufficient ready money, as some of the plaintiff's witnesses say, to pay cash down, and that, be that as it may, it was not improper for him to have such an account. the district judge has allowed the whole of the plaintiff's claim with the exception of a claim for rs. 50 advanced for the purchase of a carriage which he finds was not required for the purposes of the institution. the district judge considered that the late pandara sannadhi had power to pledge the credit of the mutt for debts contracted for purposes connected with the mutt and in furtherance.....
Judgment:

1. The plantiff sues the Pandara Sannadhi of the Tiruvannamalai Mutt to recover, with interest, the amount due to him in respect of certain dealings with the late Pandara Sannadhi. The dealings mainly consisted in the supply of goods and payments for goods supplied by others and are alleged to have been entered into for the purpose of certain festivals celebrated in the mutt. It is found by the lower appellate court that the late Pandara Sannadhi kept a running account with the plaintiff for mutt purposes, either because he found it inconvenient to pay cash down for everything he purchased for the mutt or because he had not sufficient ready money, as some of the plaintiff's witnesses say, to pay cash down, and that, be that as it may, it was not improper for him to have such an account. The District Judge has allowed the whole of the plaintiff's claim with the exception of a claim for Rs. 50 advanced for the purchase of a carriage which he finds was not required for the purposes of the institution. The District Judge considered that the late Pandara Sannadhi had power to pledge the credit of the mutt for debts contracted for purposes connected with the mutt and in furtherance of the objects of the institution and that it was not necessary to show that there was any necessity for contracting the debts. He therefore omitted to find whether there was any necessity for contracting the debts now sued on. The District Judge relies on Saminatha Pandara v. Sellappa Chetti I.L.R. (1879) M. 175, but on examination, the case does not support his view. In that case the debt had been contracted by the late Pandara Sannadhi for the purchase of cloths for distribution at a festival. The suit was contested on the ground that the debt was not contracted for the purposes of the mutt, that there was no authority to contract it, and that it was not binding on the mutt. In answer to these contentions the court observed that acting for the whole institution the head of a mutt may contract debts for the purposes of the mutt, and debts so contracted may be recovered from the mutt property and will devolve, as a liability, on his successor to the extent of the assets received by him. But the rest of the judgment, in our opinion, clearly shows that the court did not intend to lay down in this passage that the head of a mutt could pledge the credit of the mutt for debts contracted for mutt purposes without necessity and without reference to the question whether they should have been met from current income. In the last paragraph of the judgment, the learned judges point out that though the mutt was in debt, its financial position was not so bad as to make it improper to incur debts for the purchase of the cloths in question; and that there was no suggestion that f le funds of the mutt had been used for other than mutt purposes. They then proceed : 'We find that the debt was incurred by the late Pandara Sannadhi for p;oper purposes and we consequently hold that it can be enforced against the appellant o the extent of the assets which have come to his hands.'' The head of a mutt cannot have any larger authority to incur debts than the heads of other religious institutions as to which the Privy Council has held that their power to incur debts for the purposes of the institutions must be measured by the existing necessity for incurring them, and that their authority is analogous to that of the manager for an infant heir Prosunno Kumari Debya v. Golab Chand Baboo (1877) 2 I.A. 145. In Vidyapurna Tirtha Swami v. Vidyanidhi Tirtha Swami I.L.R. (1904) M. 435, Bhashyam Aiyangar, J. observes : 'Over the corpus of the endowment, however, his power of disposition is very limited, as in the case of managers of temples and devastanams.' The learned judge thus expressly states that as regards his power of charging mutt property, the head of a mutt is restricted in the same way as managers of temples and devastanams, that is to say applying the rule in Prosunno Kumari Debya v. Golab Chand Baboo (1877) 2 I.A. 145 that he can only bind the mutt in cases of necessity and that his authority is analogous to that of the manager for an infant heir. The learned judges Subrahmanya Aiyar and Bhashyam Aiyangar JJ. both point out that the expenditure must be for purposes really necessary for the maintenance of the institution; and that it is not enough to show that the expenditure was such as the bead of a mutt might properly and appropriately incur out of current income if available. It may be doubted whether these learned judges would have found the expenditure for the purchase of cloths for distribution to be a necessary expenditure or one binding on the mutt, as held in Saminada Pandara v. Sellappa Chetty I.L.R. (1879) M. 175, and their reservations with regard to this decision were intended, we think, to make it clear that it was only for really necessary purposes that the head of a mutt could pledge the credit of the mutt, and that in other respects he ought to go without what he could not afford to pay for. Necessary purposes must not, we think, be construed too strictly and in a recent un-reported case relating to this very mutt (Appeal No. 87 of 1904) Subrahmanya Aiyar and Miller JJ. held that the debts incurred for the expenses of Gurupuja and Mahesvarapuja were incurred for necessary purposes as these were ceremonies the head 'of the mutt was bound to perform, and this decision so far governs the present case, in which the debts were incurred for similar purposes.

2. In the present case the debts were, we think, incurred for necessary purposes, and the only question is, whether there was any financial necessity to incur them. Before disposing of the present case, we must ask the District Judge to return a finding on this point, on the evidence on record, within six weeks from this date. Seven days will be allowed for filing objections.

[The finding was that there was no financial necessity for the mutt to contract the debts in question. - ED.]

3. We accept the finding that there was no financial necessity and dismiss the suit with costs throughout. The guardian ad litem for the respondents Nos. 9 to 11 appeared in person.


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