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Commr. for Hindu Religious Endowments Board, Madras Vs. Vinayakar Arudra Tiruppani Sabha, Having Its Office at No. 32, Vinai theertha Vinayakar Koil Street, Kosapet, Madras - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberO.S. Appeal No. 9 of 1950
Judge
Reported inAIR1953Mad407; (1952)1MLJ282
ActsMadras Hindu Religious Endowments Act, 1927 - Sections 9(11A)
AppellantCommr. for Hindu Religious Endowments Board, Madras
RespondentVinayakar Arudra Tiruppani Sabha, Having Its Office at No. 32, Vinai theertha Vinayakar Koil Street,
Appellant AdvocateM. Seshachalapathi and ;T.A. Ramaswami Reddi, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateN.K. Mohanarangom Pillai, ;M.V. Gopalaratnam and ;N.K. Pattabhiraman, Advs.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredIndaura v. Managing Committee
Excerpt:
- - their lordships of the judicial committee accepted the statement of the law as made in the judgment of the high court, namely, that all that was necessary for the foundation of a charitable endowment by a hindu was that the purpose should be clearly specified and that the property intended for the endowment should be set apart as dedicated to that purpose......in the temple of sri vinaitheertha vinayakar in the said locality and that the income is a specific endowment as defined in section 9 (11-a), madras act 2 of 1927.2. in or about 1908 some of the residents of the said locality formed themselves into an unregistered society with the object of collecting funds and performing festivals in the temple of sri vinaitheerthavinayakar, kosapet, at the time of the arudra darsanam. in 1913 the premises in question were purchased in the name of one of the members of the society, but evidently with the moneys collected by way of subscriptions from the members of the society. there is no dispute that the property belongs to the society. subsequently the society was registered under act 21 of 1860 in 1929. ex. p. 4 is the memorandum of.....
Judgment:

Rajamannar, C.J.

1. This is an appeal by the Hindu Religious Endowments Board, Madras, against the judgment of Rajagopalan J. setting aside its order dated 22-2-1949 in and by which they declared that the income from the property, namely, premises No. 32, Vinaitheerthavinayakar Koil Street, Kosapet, Madras, is intended for the performance of Arudra festival in the temple of Sri Vinaitheertha Vinayakar in the said locality and that the income is a specific endowment as defined in Section 9 (11-A), Madras Act 2 of 1927.

2. In or about 1908 some of the residents of the said locality formed themselves into an unregistered society with the object of collecting funds and performing festivals in the temple of Sri Vinaitheerthavinayakar, Kosapet, at the time of the Arudra Darsanam. In 1913 the premises in question were purchased in the name of one of the members of the society, but evidently with the moneys collected by way of subscriptions from the members of the society. There is no dispute that the property belongs to the society. Subsequently the society was registered under Act 21 of 1860 in 1929. Ex. P. 4 is the memorandum of association of this registered society. The object of this society was given as the conduct of the festival during Margali month on Arudra Nakshatram day in the temple of the said Vinayakar at a cost not less than Rs. 150 out of the income which may be derived from the said property. The balance was to be kept as savings and out of the amount saved in this manner other immovable properties were to be purchased. The festival was being performed year after year till the year 1947 when the members of the society met and passed a resolution at a special meeting of the general body altering the object of the society. As altered the object ran as follows:

'To perform Arudra Archanai Abhishegam and Tirupavadam every year when the day of Arudra Dharisanam occurs in the month of Margali to Sree Vinayakar installed in any temple in Kosapet locality or in any other place, within or without the City of Madras as the members may by a majority decide year after year.'

The Hindu Religious Endowments Board launched proceedings to collect contribution from the society treating the income from the said property as a specific endowment. There was a protest by the society and the Board decided the question under Section 84 of the Act, in the manner already set out above. Thereupon tho society filed an application under Section 84 (2) of the Act to set aside the order of the Board. Rajagopalan J. held on the evidence that there was no specific endowment within the meaning of the definition contained in Clause 11-A of Section 9 of the Act and, therefore, allowed the petition and set aside the order of tho Board. Hence the appeal.

3. We have no hesitation in agreeing with Rajagopalan J. in his conclusion. The definition of a 'specific endowment' is as follows:

' 'specific endowment' means any property or money endowed for the performance of any specific service or charity in a temple or math.'

It is not the case of the Board that the property as such was ever endowed. It is only the income that is said to have been endowed and before us Mr. Seshachalapathi, the learned counsel for the Board was willing to limit it to a sum of Rs. 150 being the minimum mentioned in the articles of association. The question, therefore, is whether there can be said to be an endowment of the entire income or part of the income of this property lor a specific religious charity. The appellant's case rested almost entirely on the terms of the memorandum of association, fix. P. 4. According to him, the fact that the object was mentioned as the conduct of the festival in a particular temple was sufficient to prove an endowment. We cannot agree. There cannot be an endowment unless there is a clear divesting of ownership by the owner in favour of a third party as trustee or by a declaration constituting the owner himself as trustee. Neither alternative had happened in this case. The property has always been treated as the property of the Sabba; likewise the income also has been treated to be at the unfettered disposal of the Sabha, though by a common agreement, they provided for the conduct of the festival in the Vinayakar temple at a cost of not less than Rs. 150. An association (sic) under Act 21 of 1860 is entitled to change its objects. No doubt such a change will not operate to affect any valid trust which might have been created before the alteration, but so long as there was no irrevocable trust, there is nothing to prevent the association from changing its objects. In this case as there is no divesting of ownership even as regards the income, there was nothing to prevent the society from changing its objects.

Mr. Seshachalapathi drew our attention to a decision of the Judicial Committee in -- 'Sunder Singh-Mallah Singh Sanatsn Dharam High School Trust, Indaura v. Managing Committee, Sundar Singh Mallah Singh Rajput High School, Indaura', 65 Ind App 106 (PC). In that case the owner of certain property constituted a committee for the management of a school which he endowed with considerable properties. In effect the owner divested himself of his ownership and transferred it to a committee which occupied the position of a trustee. Once this position is made clear, it is not difficult to follow the ruling of the Judicial Committee, namely, that it was not permissible for this committee to give up the trust or in any manner to destroy the effect of the dedication irrevocably made by the owner. Their Lordships of the Judicial Committee accepted the statement of the law as made in the judgment of the High Court, namely, that all that was necessary for the foundation of a charitable endowment by a Hindu was that the purpose should be clearly specified and that the property intended for the endowment should be set apart as dedicated to that purpose. It was necessary that the donor should divest himself of the property. Once a valid endowment was created, it could not be revoked by the donor. In the case before us, we are unable to find any divesting by the society of either the pronerty or the income therefrom . There was therefore, no endowment within the meaning of the definition. The learned Judge was right in setting aside the order of the Board in the circumstances.

4. The appeal fails and is dismissed with costs.


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