1. This Civil Revision petition raises what is in my opinion an important point and one that I should like to have had more time to consider. On the other hand it is an Urgent matter which cannot conveniently be transferred to the next term or sent to another judge for disposal. The question in issue can be stated as follows: On behalf of the general body of worshippers of an excepted temple can some of them bring a suit for a declaration that a certain article in the temple is a sacred article the sale of which would be a breach of trust and for an injunction restraining such sale. It is said in the order which this petition seeks to revise that whether or not such a suit lies, the claim by way of an interim injunction pending disposal of the suit restraining the sale of the object in question should not be granted.
2. Whether the suit lies or not is a matter of wide general importance. It may well be that these objects in question here are matters of no great moment. I say nothing as to that. The mere fact that one of them is a very valuable jewel oris alleged to be a very valuable jewel does not make the matter important. What is important is the principle. The principle is this: Can worshippers (or indeed the trustees of a temple) seek the aid of the Court in preventing the desecration of the temple or breaches of trust in relation to a temple, or are they to be limited to the various specific remedies given by the various sections of the Madras Hindu Religious Endowments Act. I have searched in vain the various sections and I can find nothing which provides anything in the nature of a quiatimet suit or anything that enables worshippers to prevent a breach of trust as distinct from claiming a femedy in respect of a breach of trust already committed. I respectfully agree with Vaithyalinga Pandara Sannathi v. Ranganatha Mudaliar I.L.R.(1933) 57 Mad. 362 : 66 M.L.J. 98 in that it takes the view that a certain dictum of Curgenven, J., in Vaithyalinga Pandara Sannadhi v. Temple Committee, Tinnevelly Circle I.L.R.(1931) 54 Mad. 1011 : 6 1 M.L.J. 813 in which he construes the words in Section 73, of the Hindu Religious Endowments Act 'except as provided by this Act' as meaning contrary to the provisions of this Act as obiter and I should have hesitated to go so far myself: but I am also clearly of the opinion that Section 73 of the Madras Hindu Religious Endowments Act should be strictly construed (see Tulasiram v. Chairman, Municipal Council Madura I.L.R.(1931) 55 Mad. 298 : 62 M.L.J. 77) and I do not find that it prohibits the bringing of suits other than a suit in respect of administration or management. I do not think that proceedings which have for their object a declaration that a particular thing is a sacred thing and which claim an injunction to restrain its sale - fall within the meaning of a suit for administration or management, though it may well be that as a consequence of the suit being successful the trustees may be restrained from doing an act which would otherwise, if not a breach of trust, be a act to be done in course of administration and management. But I should have considered it my duty to have considered much more fully the exact scope of Section 73 were it necessary at this stage to decide the suit but that is not what has now to be decided. Indeed the learned District Munsif proceeded on the basis that the suit will continue and he has refused an interim injunction. I can see nothing more stultifying than to permit the alleged sacred object to be sold or pledged while at the same time keeping on foot this litigation which has for its purpose a declaration that the sacred object cannot be sold or pledged and which seeks a perpetual injunction to restrain such sale or pledge on the ground that to do so would be to desecrate a sacred object. Had the parties agreed, evidently the proper course to adopt would have been to feat the application for interim injunction as the trial of the action; but that course did not commend itself to either side. It seems to me therefore that as the action is continuing the only possible course to take on the application for interim injunction is to grant it. This may result in considerable inconvenience and some loss and that inconvenience and loss should be restricted as much as possible. I therefore direct that the suit be expedited as much as possible. The injunction will continue till the trial of the action.
3. The civil revision petition succeeds, costs throughout to be costs in the cause.