Skip to content


A.L.S.P.P.L. Subramaniam Chettiar Vs. S. Natesa Gurukkal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1938Mad713; (1938)1MLJ517
AppellantA.L.S.P.P.L. Subramaniam Chettiar
RespondentS. Natesa Gurukkal and ors.
Cases ReferredRajah Vurmah Valia v. Ravi Vurmah Kunhi Kutty
Excerpt:
- - it is not as if the temple was so badly off that in the interests of the temple it was necessary to resort to this method of getting money, that is to say, by selling the office off trustee of the temple......is such a custom, such a custom could not be recognised by law. it may be that in one sense the temple benefited by the appointment, but the benefit comes in such a 'questionable shape' that the consideration of benefit cannot prevail. it is not as if the temple was so badly off that in the interests of the temple it was necessary to resort to this method of getting money, that is to say, by selling the office off trustee of the temple. it may be that there were other considerations also which led the committee and the board to decide upon the appointment of the third defendant, as trustee, but it is fairly clear that the governing consideration was the payment of rs. 25,000 in cash for the patasala and a promise of annual contribution of rs. 3,000 for the benefit of the temple. we.....
Judgment:

Pandrang Row, J.

1. This is an appeal from the decree of the District Judge of West Tanjore dated 11th February, 1932, in O.S. No. 8 of 1929, a suit under Section 57 of the Hindu Religious Endowments Act to cancel or modify a scheme framed by the Board for Sri Vriddhapureswarar Temple at Thirupunavasal. The suit was decreed and the scheme framed by the Board was set aside. The main ground on which the scheme was cancelled was that the provision in the scheme for the appointment of the third defendant as trustee contained in paragraph 3 of the scheme was illegal. That provision runs as follows:

The said temple shall be under the control and management of a single trustee; and the present trustee Mr. A.L.S.P.P.L. Subramanian Chettiar shall be first trustee under the scheme, and the trusteeship shall continue in him and the other heirs of his father late Chidambaram Chettiar so long as they pay an annual contribution of rupees three thousand which will be set apart for the thirupani work of the temple and for the upkeep and maintenance of the temple walls and its premises. When a vacancy in the trusteeship arises the committee, subject to the approval of the Board, shall appoint one from 'among the family of the said A.L.S.P.P.L. Chidambaram Chettiar preference being given to the most senior in point of age if he is otherwise competent. If for any sufficient reason the Board or the Committee finds him incompetent, the claim of the heirs indicated shall be considered in the order of their seniority in age.

2. As a matter of fact it is found that apart from the appointment being made on condition of the payment of an annual contribution of Rs. 3,000, the third defendant had actually offered to endow a sum of Rs. 25,000 for establishing a thevaram patasala as an adjunct to the temple and that this offer which was accepted by the Committee and the Board, Was also 6ne of the reasons for the appointment of the third defendant as trustee for life under certain conditions, and also for restricting the appointment of future trustees to the members of his family. It is not necessary in our opinion to decide whether the appointment foreshadowed by the scheme is the appointment of a hereditary trustee within the meaning of that expression as defined in the Hindu Religious Endowments Act, and the further question which will then arise whether the Board has the power to make an appointment of a hereditary trustee in a non-excepted temple. Assuming that the appointment is not objectionable on the ground of want of authority in the Board, the question still remains whether the appointment of the kind set forth in the scheme was proper and justifiable, in the circumstances. There can be no doubt that the office of trustee was really transferred by the Board and the Committee to the third defendant in return for a present payment of Rs. 25,000 in cash and a promise to make an annual payment of Rs. 3000. Paragraph 3 of the scheme in terms makes the appointment of the third defendant conditional on his paying an annual contribution of Rs. 3,000 for the benefit of the temple. In our opinion this amounts to a transfer of the office of trustee for a monetary consideration which is opposed to public policy and cannot be recognised as being in accordance with law. It is enough in this connection to refer to the observations of their Lordships of the Judicial Committee in Rajah Vurmah Valia v. Ravi Vurmah Kunhi Kutty . It is not as if appointments of this kind are permitted by custom; and even if there is such a custom, such a custom could not be recognised by law. It may be that in one sense the temple benefited by the appointment, but the benefit comes in such a 'questionable shape' that the consideration of benefit cannot prevail. It is not as if the temple was so badly off that in the interests of the temple it was necessary to resort to this method of getting money, that is to say, by selling the office off trustee of the temple. It may be that there were other considerations also which led the Committee and the Board to decide upon the appointment of the third defendant, as trustee, but it is fairly clear that the governing consideration was the payment of Rs. 25,000 in cash for the patasala and a promise of annual contribution of Rs. 3,000 for the benefit of the temple. We think therefore that the learned District Judge's decree cannot be interfered with in appeal. The appeal is therefore dismissed with the costs of the plaintiffs (respondents 1 to 3).


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //