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A.K. SherfuddIn Vs. Kairoon Bi and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subjectcivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1944Mad468
AppellantA.K. Sherfuddin
RespondentKairoon Bi and ors.
Cases ReferredIn Arunachalam Chettiar v. Vengatachalapathi A.I.R.
Excerpt:
.....no. the division of the inam in six shares was also considered allowable so long as the mosque for the support of which the inam was given, was efficiently maintained by the grantee's descendants. yet the board, when such is not available, cannot fail to attach the utmost importance, as part of the history of the property, to the information set forth in the inam register. the entries in the two earlier registers give strong indication that the original grant was personal to dharves ali sha, and we consider that on this question these registers must be accepted in preference to the inam register. in fact it was throughout accepted that if the court should hold that the grant was personal to dharves ali sha the appeal must fail, subject to the argument on the question of res judicata......was built by the side of it. when the mosque was erected is not known, but it is clear from the inam register of 1864 that there was then a mosque in existence. the main question which arises in this appeal is whether the grant to dharves ali sha was a grant to him personally or for the endowment of a mosque. we shall in due course examine in detail the evidence relating to this question; but before doing so we think it necessary to refer to two previous suits and to the course which the present litigation has taken. in o.s. no. 96 of 1930, of the court of the subordinate judge of trichinopoly three mahomedans and two hindus brought a suit under section 92, civil p.c., for the recovery of the property now in suit and for the framing of a scheme for its management. there were six.....
Judgment:

Leach, C.J.

1. In the year 1674 a Rani of the Nayakhan dynasty made a grant of land to a Mahomedan named Dharves Ali Sha. The documentary evidence in this case leaves no doubt that the grantee was a member of a sect of Faqirs who were followers of Jalal-ud-din Bukhari. 'When Dharves Ali Sha died he was buried on the property. He has since been regarded as a saint and his tomb as a durga. After the tomb had been recognised as a durga a mosque was built by the side of it. When the mosque was erected is not known, but it is clear from the Inam register of 1864 that there was then a mosque in existence. The main question which arises in this appeal is whether the grant to Dharves Ali Sha was a grant to him personally or for the endowment of a mosque. We shall in due course examine in detail the evidence relating to this question; but before doing so we think it necessary to refer to two previous suits and to the course which the present litigation has taken. In O.S. NO. 96 of 1930, of the Court of the Subordinate Judge of Trichinopoly three Mahomedans and two Hindus brought a suit under Section 92, Civil P.C., for the recovery of the property now in suit and for the framing of a scheme for its management. There were six defendants and it is common ground that they were all descendants of the family of the grantee. They were in fact described as trustees 'of the Jalali Fakir Durga and mosque.' The word 'Jalali' also appears in the Inam register and this gives the indication that Dharves Ali Sha was a member of the sect of Fakirs to which reference has been made. The defendants had no objection to a scheme being framed, but they wanted to be appointed trustees and to be declared to be entitled to the balance of the income of the properties after meeting the expenses of the durga. The insistence that the properties of which they were in possession were the endowment of the durga as distinct from the mosque is not without significance. The fact that two of the plaintiffs were Hindus is another indication of the importance attached to the durga. In the course of the preliminary judgment, the Subordinate Judge expressly held that the mosque was only a subsidiary institution attached to the durga and intended for the purpose of worship by those Mussalmans who resorted to the durga. A scheme was eventually framed by consent. It has been suggested in the present litigation that the decree in O.S. No. 96 of 1930 prevents any claim being made by a descendant of the grantee, even though he were not a party to the suit. This contention cannot, however, be accepted. So far as the properties are concerned, the only members of the grantee's family who are bound by what transpired in O.S. No. 96 of 1930 are the defendants to that suit.

2. In O.S. No. 135 of 1933, of the Court of the District Munsif of Trichinopoly the trustees who had been appointed by the Court in O.S. No. 96 of 1930, brought a suit to recover certain properties which they claimed to be part of the endowment of the durga. These were then in the hands of alienees. They were quite distinct from the properties now in suit but the question whether the original grant was personal to Dharves Ali Sha or to him for the endowment of a mosque arose. It was held that the grant was personal. That decision, however, only affects the properties which formed its subject-matter and also only binds the parties to the suit. On 12th October 1936, one Mohamed Ibrahim Sahib, a descendant of the grantee, instituted the suit which has given rise to the appeal. He died during its pendency, but it was continued by his legal representatives. The plaintiff advanced the plea that the properties which were held by the trustees appointed in O.S. No. 96 of 1930, belonged to the descendants of Dharves Ali Sha and did not constitute an endowment of the durga or the mosque. He claimed a one-eighteenth share and it is accepted that if his case is well founded his heirs will be entitled to this share. The defendants to the suit were the trustees appointed in O.S. No. 96 of 1930 and the other members of the family. The District Munsif held that the properties in suit constituted an endowment of the mosque. The plaintiff's legal representatives appealed to the Subordinate Judge, who held that the grant was personal to Dharvesh. Ali Sha and as the plaintiff was not bound by the decree in O.S. No. 96 of 1930 he was entitled to a one-eighteenth share in the property. The executive trustee appointed under the scheme appealed to this Court. The appeal was heard by King J. who held that the finding of the Subordinate Judge that the original grant was a personal one was a finding of fact and could not be challenged in second appeal. The learned Judge agreed with the Subordinate Judge that the decree in O.S. No. 96 of 1930 did not operate as res judicata, as the appellant had contended. The present appeal is from the judgment of King J. under Clause 15, Letters Patent. The appellant is the executive trustee.

3. The first question which the Court is called upon to decide is whether King J. was right in holding that the decision of the Subordinate Judge that the original grant was personal to Dharves Ali Sha could not be challenged as it constituted a finding of fact. We find ourselves unable to share the opinion of the learned Judge. In order to decide the question of title it is necessary for the Court to interpret entries in (I) Wallace's Register which was compiled in 1802, (II) Traverse's Register which was compiled in 1814 and (III) the Inam Register which was compiled in 1864. In Dhanna Mal v. Moti Sagar , the Privy Council pointed out that the proper effect of a proved fact is a question of law and the question whether a tenancy is permanent or precarious is a legal inference to be drawn from facts and not itself a question of fact. In Ballabh Das v. Nur Mohamed their Lordships held that the inference to be drawn from a revenue survey Khasra and a map constituted a question of law. The position is very much the same here. As the Court has to decide what are the inferences to be drawn from the entries in the registers referred to, we have no doubt that the question is one of law. '

4. It is now necessary to decide whether the Subordinate Judge was right in holding that the grant was personal to Dharves Ali Sha. Wallace's Register shows that the claimant to the property was a grandson of the original grantee and the grant was registered as an inam, though the purpose is not specified. The entries only refer to a part of the property in suit, but it has not been suggested that any other portion was held on different terms. This register gives the year of the grant as 1739 and the grantor as Nababkanza Abdulla Cawn. It is common ground that this means that the original grant was confirmed by the Mahomedan ruler who succeeded the last Nayak ruler. The entries in Traverse's Register are very similar, but the following interesting statement is made in the ' Remarks' column:

On enquiry, it appears that 250 goolies of punjee and 50 goolies of nanjee land in the village of Airi-mapettah and 1 1/2 chays of land in the village of Tenoor as also one chay of garden land in the garden of the Royal demesne was granted in the year Racha of Salivahana 1606 by Meenachamrnal to a Fakir named Durvaish Ally. The present incumbents state themselves to be the Fakhir's grandsons and produce a copper Sashamam to this effect. They also delivered the purvanah inserted in this register of Goya Abdulla Khan to Mr. Wallace and have beside several other documents, which they now bring forward, these do not make the grant hereditary, but they further produce an Enayetnamah by Mohammed Ally to Kissemulmoolk, making the grant hereditary in the family of Durvaish Ally. This document is dated 4th of Rabulaval Heejeera 1207. The inam is very suspicious as this last voucher may be a forgery.' Salivahana 1606 corresponds to the year 1674. The Traverse's register covers the whole of the property comprised in the original grant.

5. Two extracts from the Inam Register have been exhibited. One is dated 9th March 1864 and the other 12th March 1864. In the column headed 'General class to which the inam belongs' is inserted the word Devadayam which is defined in Wilson's Glossory as 'lands or allowances for the support of a temple, an endowment.' It is accepted by both sides in this case that the word Devadayam could be rightly used for an endowment of any religious or pious institution. Therefore the word Devadayam in itself does not signify that the lands referred to in the register constituted an endowment of a mosque. But in the column headed ' description of inam' appears under the date of 9th March 1864 the entry 'For the support of Jalali Fakuri mosque.' In register of 12th March 1864 the entry is 'For the support of Jelale mosque. It is well kept up.' Column 13 was for the insertion of the name of the original grantee. In the register of 9th March 1864, the name of Dharvesh Ali Sha is inserted; and the entry of 12th March 1864 is 'For Jalale mosque Dharvesh Ali Sha.' In both cases in col. 16 which was intended for the insertion of the name of the then owner are inserted the names of the managers of the 'Jalale Fakir Dharvesh Ali Sha mosque'. In the remarks column under the date 12th March 1864, there are these statements:

The inam is enjoyed in six shares by the six managers who are the lineal descendants of the grantee.

The share enjoyed by the father of the manager No. 1 formed the subject of a lapse report by the Collector, which led to much correspondence.

This correspondence resulted from certain doubts suggested regarding the genuineness of some of the Persian grants produced in support of the inam and felt as to the tenure of the inam being a mosque grant or mere mutalignan continuable for life. After all, it was admitted according to the terms of the original grant on the copper plate that this was religious grant together with another in Tennure referred to in the plate.

The division of the inam in six shares was also considered allowable so long as the mosque for the support of which the inam was given, was efficiently maintained by the grantee's descendants. The share then vacant was also continued to No. 1. vide Collector's order on 21-11-1847.

Another lapse on the death of the elder brother of No. 2 named Haideralisha was reported to Colleotor in Arzies 1-8-1858 No. 386 and 11-12-1858, No. 671. It was not, however, disposed of by the Collector. There was a terraced mosque which having been swept away by the freshes of 1858, another tiled one has been now rebuilt. To be confirmed free in one title deed so long as the mosque exists.

6. In the statement which was filed by the inamdars in the proceedings before the Inam Commissioner the following entry was made in col. 13 which was headed 'Particulars of present enjoyment':

Out of the income derived from this excluding the expenses of the Pallivasal (mausoleum) as per shares set out in col. 2, the balance we are enjoying for ourselves.

7. The meaning of the word 'pallivasal' is given in the Tamil lexicon as 'mosque'. The word here is immediately succeeded by the word mausoleum which indicates that the descendants of the grantee regarded the lands as constituting an endowment of the durga. In Arunachalam Chettiar v. Vengatachalapathi A.I.R. 1919 P.C. 62, Lord Shaw in delivering the judgment of the Board said that it must not be forgotten that the preparation of the Inam Register was a great act of state, and its preparation and contents were the subject of much consideration under elaborately detailed reports and minutes. His Lordship proceeded to say:

It is to be remembered that the Inam Commissioners through their officials made enquiry on the spot, heard evidence and examined documents, and with regard to each individual property the Government was put in possession not only of the conclusion come to as to whether the land was tax free, but of a statement of the history and tenure of the property itself. While their Lordships do not doubt that such a report would not displace actual and authentic evidence in individual cases; yet the Board, when such is not available, cannot fail to attach the utmost importance, as part of the history of the property, to the information set forth in the Inam Register.

8. If the only evidence before the Court were the extracts from the Inam Register, we should, in face of these remarks of their Lordships, feel constrained to hold that the Sub-ordinate Judge was wrong in describing the original grant as personal to Dharves Ali Sha. Their Lordships have, however, made it quite clear that the Inam Register is not conclusive with regard to title when there is other evidence bearing on the question. The entries in Wallace's register and Traverse's register cannot be ignored, and the entries therein were made long before the entries in the Inam Register. The entries in the two earlier registers give strong indication that the original grant was personal to Dharves Ali Sha, and we consider that on this question these registers must be accepted in preference to the Inam Register. The entries in them are entirely inconsistent with the case set up by the trustees. Moreover, there is no evidence of any mosque having been erected on the property until we come to the Inam Register. The mosque is admittedly an adjunct of the durga and therefore it could not have been built before the tomb of Dharves Ali Sha had become recognised as the tomb of a saint. For these reasons, we hold that the lands were granted personally to Dharves Ali Sha. We may add that it has not been suggested that the descendants of the grantee had dedicated the lands as an endowment of the durga or the mosque. In fact it was throughout accepted that if the Court should hold that the grant was personal to Dharves Ali Sha the appeal must fail, subject to the argument on the question of res judicata. We have held that the grant was personal to Dharves Ali Sha, and we have also indicated that we agree with King J. that the decree in O.S. No. 96 of 1930 does not operate as res judicata. For these reasons the appeal is dismissed with costs.


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