1. This is a suit to establish the plaintiff's right to worship the idol of a temple at his house, the idol being required to go in procession to the place for the purpose. The defendant denies that the plaintiff has any such right enforceable in a court of law.
2. The facts as found by the Munsif are that there used to be a procession called 'kantakorika' conducted by the authorities of the temple. The 'shadai' and 'chamarams' belonging to the idol used to be placed in-a palanquin and the palanquin was taken in a procession with the paraphernalia belonging to the temple along the street where the plaintiff's house was situated. The terminus of the procession was in front of the plaintiff's house. There the weaver community, living apparently in adjoining villages, used to bring presents of betel nut and other things. After the temple authorities had finally accepted them, distribution of thamboolam (i.e., betel and nut) used to take place and the palanquin would then be taken back to the temple. Certain honours were usually done to the plaintiff called 'rajani thamboolam.' Honors were also done to certain other persons. The distribution of the honours used to take place either in front of the plaintiff's house while the palanquim was detained there, or after it returned to the temple. Coming to the dispute between the weavers and the temple trustees (the defendants) the procession has not taken place regularly during the last seven years, and according to the District Munsif's finding, it would appear that during five out of seven years the procession did not move out of the temple at all.
3. Now, proceeding on these findings we can see absolutely no ground for concluding that the plaintiff received any honours or performed any worship in front of his house as a matter of right Apparently the 'kantakorika' procession was a part of the ceremonial of the temple 'ootsavam' immediately preceding the ceremonial of marriage or 'kalyanam' of the idol. It is most natural that when the palanquin was stopped for a while all persons near that place should offer worship. In the circumstances some evidence should be required to show that the plaintiff's offer of worship was anything more than a natural act of devotion on his part as a Hindu to show respect to the idol. There is no such evidence forthcoming. The receipt of 'rajani thamboolam' did not always take place in front of the plaintiff's house and there is nothing to show that it is necessarily connected with the plaintiff's right to worship.
4. According to the District Judge the right to have the procession called 'kantakorika' was one belonging to the weavers and the plaintiff merely took advantage of the opportunity of the palanquin stopping in front of his house to offer worship.
5. It is unnecessary to decide whether the weavers really had any right to have the procession conducted, because it seems to us clear that the plaintiff has failed to establish, by any evidence, that he used to offer worship at the place in question as a matter of right. Where worship is offered at places other than the temple it should not be inferred, without distinct evidence or circumstances necessarily leading to the conclusion, that any right exists to offer it at the particular place.
6.The cases cited by Mr. Seshagiri Aiyar nodoubt show that besides the ordinary right of worship at the temple, a person may possess the right to worship an idol at particular places when it is carried in procession or otherwise. Nagiah Bathadu v. Muthachari (1900) 11 M.L.J. 215, Subbaraya Gurukkal v. Chellappa Mudali I.L.R. (1881) M. 315 and Krishnasawmi Iyengar v. Rungasawmi Iyengar (1909) 19 M.L.J. 743 do not establish anything more. It is not disputed for the respondents that the right of worship, including any special right of worship which a person may possess, is a civil right, but the question is whether worship usually offered at a certain place - it may be for a long time - was offered as a matter of right at that place. We do not think that the observations of Davits J. in Nagiah Bathadu v. Muthachari (1900) 11 M.L.J. 215 were intended to lay down that the mere fact that a person has offered worship at a particular place for a number of years would necessarily give him a. right to do so. Mamool or usage should, no doubt, be examined to determine whether any special right of worship exists. If the observations were intended to go further, we would not be prepared to agree with them. We have no hesitation in holding that the plaintiff has not proved the right which he seeks to establish in this case. We should be slow to recognise, without proper evidence, claims of right which would materially interfere with the rights of trustees to regulate the worship and ceremonial of temples in the interests of the whole community.
7. We dismiss the second appeal with costs.