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Palayakayal Swami Sangumugeswarar, Through Its Trustee Pillaimuthu Pillai Vs. Veyinramuthu Pillai and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in59Ind.Cas.183
AppellantPalayakayal Swami Sangumugeswarar, Through Its Trustee Pillaimuthu Pillai
RespondentVeyinramuthu Pillai and ors.
Cases ReferredAnnasami Pillai v. Ramakrishna Mudaliar
Excerpt:
religious endowment - resumption by government--fresh grant to committee--committee, power of, to appoint trustee. - - 8. in the result, therefore, i find that the plaintiff has failed to prove that item no......endowments, as they had power to do, and themselves made a fresh grant of the assessment on the suit lands and on other lands to the temple. they, no doubt, donated the lands to the committee and asked them 'to make satisfactory arrangement for the due performance of the service, etc.' this is the weakest point in the government order and mr. krishnaswami aiyar was not slow to take advantage of it. his contention was that the government appointed the committee as trustees and that, therefore, the appointment of trustees by this body was ultra vires. we are of opinion that the language of exhibit bb should not be so narrowly construed. in our opinion, the government, as the grantor, gave ample power to the committee not only to see that the services were properly conducted, but also to.....
Judgment:

1. The main question for decision in all these second appeals is, whether the plaintiff, who claims to be the trustee of the temple, has been validly appointed. The history of the negotiations that preceded the transfer of management by the Government to the Siva Temple Committee of the Tinnevelly District is this, There were no regular trustees for the temple previously and, ex conceisio, the temple was not managed by the Board of Revenue order Regulation VII of 1817. Apparently, the temple would not come under Section 3 of Act XX of 1863. The archal as of the temple were doing the duties of the dharma kartas, as is the case even to day in many temples. That they grossly neglected the affairs of the temple, end allowed others to trespass on the property are clear. Government, in the year 1910, resolved to put an end to this state of affairs and resumed the lands from the archakas, Exhibit BB. In respect of the ryoti lands, they converted them into ryotwari holdings and resolved to give the temple by way of a dastik allowance, the assessment fixed on them. As regards the bulk of pannai lands, they granted pattas to the temple, Exhibits K and K1. The order of resumption is in these terms:

The inam lands covered by title-deeds Nos. 1129 and 1246 in the Ottapidaram Taluq of the Tinnevelly District will be fully assessed, Ryotwari pattas will be issued in favour of the persons who possess she occupancy rights therein.

2. The Board of Revenue is requested to ascertain whether the District Temple Committee is willing that the net assessment on the inam lands should be assigned to it on condition that it makes satisfactory arrangements for the due performance of the service in the Sunkumaheswaraswami Temple at Pazhayakayal in the Srivaikuntam Taluq.

2. Upon this, the Temple Committee made inquiries in the neighbouring villages and appointed plaintiff as the trustee. We are inclined to think that this appointment must have been communicated to the Government through the Collector, as Exhibit S, the order, refers to directions from the Collector on the subject.

3. The question is, was the appointment of the plaintiff by the Temple Committee valid? We think it was. It can hardly be doubted that, if the Temple Committee were themselves appointed trustees and if that appointment was by a private donor, the donees would not be competent to delegate their functions. It would offend the rule against the alienation of public offices, and the principle delegates non potest delegare. But the present case is not within their mischief. The proper way to look at the action of the Government is this. The Government, as the supreme authority, found that endow, ments made by previous rulers were mismanaged. They resumed the endowments, as they had power to do, and themselves made a fresh grant of the assessment on the suit lands and on other lands to the temple. They, no doubt, donated the lands to the Committee and asked them 'to make satisfactory arrangement for the due performance of the service, etc.' This is the weakest point in the Government order and Mr. Krishnaswami Aiyar was not slow to take advantage of it. His contention was that the Government appointed the Committee as trustees and that, therefore, the appointment of trustees by this body was ultra vires. We are of opinion that the language of Exhibit BB should not be so narrowly construed. In our opinion, the Government, as the grantor, gave ample power to the Committee not only to see that the services were properly conducted, but also to appoint competent men to supervise the performance of those services. The fast that the appointment of a trustee, was made under instructions from the Collector strengthens this view of Exhibit BB. The next question is, was it competent to the Government to delegate such powers. Under the Grown Grants Acts, the restrictions under which private donors labour are not binding on the Government. As pointed out in Rajindra Bahadur Singh v. Rani Raghubans Kumar 48 Ind Cas. 213, the Government can make a grant to which objections based on the rule against perpatuities cannot apply. Therefore, it was within the power of the Government to give the property to the Committee and to invest them and their successors in office with the power of nominating successive trustees. The matter can be looked at from another point of view. It was held in Annasami Pillai v. Ramakrishna Mudaliar 11 M.L.J. 1 that a person holding the office of trustee can prescribe to appoint future trustees by Will. What can be acquired by prescription against a private owner, is certainly ultra vires of a grant from Government. It is open to the Government to clothe the donee and his successor-in-office with powers to appoint trustees. The fact that the power is not to appoint successors, but persons during the lifetime of the donee cannot make a difference in principle. We must, therefore, hold that the trustee was properly appointed and that the suit by him was sustainable. We have purposely refrained from basing our judgment on the very narrow ground that the temple did not some within Section 3 of Act XX of 1863 which was the view taken in the Courts below, because, as was pointed out by Mr. Krishnaswami Aiyar, they do not seem to have realised the difference between management of trust and ownership of property.

4. On this conclusion, we proceed to deal with each of the second appeals separately. In some of them, there is a finding by the District Munsif that the lands in suit are not included in Exhibits K. and E1., granted to the Committee. The lower Appellate Court has expressed no opinion on that question. There must be a finding by it whether the lands claimed in the suit are included in the patta granted to the temple by Exhibits K. and KI.

5. We must, therefore, ask for a finding on the evidence on record on the above point in Second Appeal No. 2386 of 1917; as regards Item No. 1, in 2388 of 1917; as regards the entire property, in Second Appeal No. 2392; as regards 1 acre and 62 cents not lost by prescription. Findings will be submitted within six weeks and seven days will be allowed for filing objections.

6. In pursuance of the order contained in the above judgment the District Judge of Tinnevelly submitted the following

Finding

7. These three appeals have been remanded for a finding on the question whether certain lands concerned in them are included in the patta Exhibits K. and K1. granted to the temple.

* * * *

8. In the result, therefore, I find that the plaintiff has failed to prove that Item No. 1 in Original Suit No. 297, (i.e., 39(sic)7, 35.54), the land concerned in Original Suit No. 293 and the portion of Survey No. 88 concerned in Original Suit No. 305 are included in the pattas (Exhibits K and K1) granted to the temple. I would, therefore, answer the issue sent to me in the negative, in all three suits.


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