1. The question for decision is whether the purchase by plaintiff of the office of Paricharaka is valid. From the finding as to the duties of Paricharaka it is clear, that it is a religious office. It also appears that plaintiff is not connected with the family that held the office.
2. In Rajah Varmah Vallia v. Ravi Varmah Kunhi Kutti I.L.R. (1876) Mad. 285, the Judicial Committee expressed their opinion that a custom which allowed the sale of a trusteeship for the pecuniary advantage of the trustee would be bad in law. The trusteeship referred to in that case was the Uraima of a Malabar temple. In a prior portion of the judgment we find the following: 'The first question is whether independently of custom persons holding such a trust are capable of transferring it at their own will. No authority has been laid before their Lordships for this proposition; principle and reason seem to be strongly opposed to such a power and particularly to such an exercise of it as has taken place in this case.'
3. In Kuppa v. Dnraswami I.L.R. (1882) Mad. 76, it was held, following the dictum of the Privy. Council in the above case that alienation of religious trusts and offices is generally illegal, although it might be valid in exceptional circumstances such as when the transfer was to the next heir to the office. This principle was followed in Annaswami Pillai v. Ramakrishna Mudaliar I.L.R. (1900) Mad. 219 and in Lakshmanaswami Naidu v. Ranrgamma I.L.R. (1902) Mad. 31, it was held that the sale of a religious office was opposed to public policy, and a similar view was taken in Sundarambal Ammal v. Yogavana Gurakkal I.L.R. (1914) Mad. 850 We have not been referred to any authority directly to the contrary although a custom recognising the validity of a transfer to those who by birth or marriage are entitled to hold the office was held to be reasonable in Mahamaya Debi v. Haridas Haldar I.L.R. (1914) Cal. 455 and in Mancharam v. Pranshankar I.L.R. (1882) Bom. 298, a transfer to one next in the line of succession was also held to be valid. These exceptional cases need not be considered now for the transfer in the present case was made for consideration to a stranger. In accordance with the dictum in Rajah Varma Vallia v. Ravi Varma Kunhi Kutti I.L.R. (1876) Mad. 235. which has been followed by all the subsequent decisions of this Court we hold that the alienation sued on was invalid and dismiss this Second Appeal with costs.