1. The first plaintiff in the suit is the appellant. There were two plaintiffs, both holders of archaka miras in the temple of Ranganathasami at Srirangam. The second plaintiff mortgaged for Rs. 2,000 his rights as archaka to the first plaintiff by a deed dated 21st January, 1926. The first plaintiff on the strength of this documeut tried to collect from the trustees of the temple the emoluments of the office. The District Munsif dismissed the suit on the ground that this mortgage was void. The learned Subordinate Judge upheld this decision and the first plaintiff has preferred this appeal.
2. We are of opinion that this appeal must fail. This is a case in which a holder of a religious office has attempted to transfer his right to the office for consideration to another person who, though qualified to hold the office, is not in the line of succession from the transferor. Such a transfer according to the uniform current of decisions of this Court is void. The decisions of this Court are based upon the Privy Council ruling in Rajah Vurmah Valia v. Ravi Vurmah Kunhi Kutty . This was followed in Narasimha Thathacharya v. Anantha Bhatta I.L.R.(1881) 4 Mad. 391 and in Kuppa v. Dorasami I.L.R.(1882) 6 Mad. 76. The decision in this last case is exactly applicable to the case before us. The learned Judges refer to Rajah Vurmah Valia v. Ravi Vurmah Kunhi Kutty and point out that according to the dictum of the Privy Council:
No custom which could qualify the general principle of law that such trusts were inalienable had been established in the case and that the case discloses that the sale was for the pecuniary advantage of the trustee, a circumstance which would invalidate any such custom if it had been shown.
3. The learned Judges go on to say:
It is sufficient to say than an alienation to a person not in the line of heirs though otherwise qualified for the performance of the office is not one which should be exempted from the general rule against the alienation of hereditary religious trusts and offices.
4. The matter was dealt with in Narayana v. Ranga I.L.R.(1891) 15 Mad. 183 : 2 M.L.J. 19 and it was considered at length by Sadasiva Aiyar, J. in Sundarambal Ammal v. Yogavana Gurukkal : AIR1915Mad561 in a judgment in which all the earlier cases were referred to. This same principle has been applied by Sundaram Chetty, J. in S.A. No. 484 of 1929 and by Venkatasubba Rao, J. in the case reported in Nallasami Gurukkal v. Sadasiva Gurukkal (1934) 67 M.L.J. 759. We have been referred by the learned Advocate for the appellant to the decision reported in Sri Mahant v. Govindacharlu (1934) 68 M.L.J. 259 to which one of us was a party. That decision is not in any way inconsistent with the principle already enunciated. In Sri Mahant v. Govindacharlu (1934) 68 M.L.J. 295 it was held that a devise by a will of an archaka is not invalid when it is made in favour of one in the line of heirs of the alienor and when it is neither for consideration nor in any way opposed to or inconsistent with the interests of the institution. In the present case it is beyond dispute that the transfer was one made for the pecuniary advantage of the transferor and distinguishes the case from the one reported in Sri Mahant v. Govindacharlu (1934) 68 M.L.J. 295. The learned Advocate for the appellant relies upon the decision in Mahamaya Debt v. Haridas Haldar I.L.R.(1914) 42 Cal. 455 but we agree with Sundaram Chetty, J. that the decision in that case was really contrary to the dictum of the Privy Council ins Rajah Vurmah Valia v. Ravi Vurmah Kunhi Kutty in so far as it held that a religious office can be transferred for the pecuniary profit of the holder. In these circumstances this appeal must be and is hereby dismissed with costs of the respondents, two sets, one for the first respondent and the other for respondents 9 and 11 to 13.