1. The question in this case is, what is the remedy of a person who has sold goods on credit to the Manager of a temple to be used for the purposes of the institution? It has been found that the plaintiff, the vendor, was aware that the 2nd defendant, the purchaser, was the manager and that he made the purchase of fireworks for the temple, and that those goods were necessary for the temple.
2. A temple is a permanent religious charity, carried on for the benefit of the present and future worshippers and it is obvious that its property should be preserved intact in order that the existence of the charity may be continued, and that its income alone should be applied by the manager or dharmakartha in the administration of the charity. (See Palaniappa Chetty v. Sreemath Devasikamani Pandara Sannadhi (1916) I.L.R. 40 M. 709. 712 (P.C) It follows that the manager has ordinarily no authority to dispose of the capital of the institution, since such a disposition would endanger its very existence, and that his authority is ordinarily limited to the receipt of the income and its proper disbursement in the up-keep of the fabric and the performance of the customary ceremonies.
3. It has been held by their Lordships of the Privy Council that as a general rule of Hindu Law, 'property given for the maintenance of religious worship and of charities connected with it is inalienable.' Prosunna Kumari Debya v. Gulab Chand Baboo (1876) L.R. 2 IndAp 145 but that under certain circumstances the manager of that property is ' empowered to do whatever may be required for the service of the idol and for the benefit and preservation of its property, at least to as great a degree as the manager of an infant heir' (Ibid page 152). That decision and other cases were fully considered by their Lordships in a recent case reported in Palaniappa Chetty v. Sreemath Daivasikhamani Pandara Sannadi I.L.R. (1917) M. 709 where it was contended that the manager had power to grant a permanent lease of land belonging to the temple at a fixed rent and in consideration of a premium in case of necessity and for the benefit of the institution. Their Lordships observe ' that the only specific point touching the present case actually decided in those three authorities was this : That a debater estate may be mortgaged to secure the repayment of money borrowed and applied to prevent its own extinction by sequestration' (page 718); and, although they point out that it is not possible to define precisely the things which may constitute a benefit to the estate and justify the exercise of this power, the illustrations which they give relate to the preservation of the institution and its endowments.
4. They also point out that there must not only be a benefit to the estate from the exercise of the power, but there must be an unavoidable necessity for the alienation. The manager should therefore consider in each case whether the particular alienation of the temple property which is contemplated is the most provident disposition which can be made in the interests of the institution.
5. It follows, I think, from these propositions that the manager has no authority to pledge the credit of the temple, because the result would be that strangers for the trust would be able to proceed against the general property of the temple in execution of their decrees, and the consequent alienation of its property would not be made by the trustees acting upon a due consideration of the interests of the temple. Moreover, the manager would in this direct manner obtain much larger powers of disposition than the reported decisions allow him.
6. The District Munsif has held that the purchase of fire-works was necessary for the temple, but this is not sufficient; the necessity must relate to the preservation of the temple or the maintenance of the religious service, and the discharge of fire-Works though customary at certain festivals cannot possibly be included in these purposes. For these reasons I am of opinion that the purchase of these goods was not within the authority of the 2nd defendant an manager of the temple, and the temple funds cannot be made liable for the price in these proceedings.
7. No question has been raised as to the [towers of one manager or trustee to act without the concurrence of his co-trustees, but I may point out that even if under the scheme of management one manager has authority to collect and disburse the. income, it does not follow that he can exercise the abnormal power of alienating or charging the temple property or otherwise deal with its capital without the concurrence of his co-trustees.
8. For these reasons I would allow the appeal and set aside the decree of the District Munsif and remit the case for retrial upon the question of the personal liability of the second defendant and direct the respondent to pay the costs of the 1st defendant throughout.
Kumaraswami Sastri, J.
9. I agree with my learned brother that the plaintiff is not entitled to a decree against the assets of the temple as the purchase of fire-works cannot be said to be necessary for the performance of the trusts. I concur in the order proposed.