K. Veeraswami, J.
1. We are of the view that this appeal by the plaintiffs has to be allowed on a short ground which will presently appear. The appellant filed an application under Section 57(b) of Madras Act XIX of 1951 before the Deputy Commissioner for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments. He held that the appellant was the sole hereditary trustee of Sri Ramaswamy Perumal Temple at Karimbiyul village in Tiruthuraipundi taluk, The first respondent appealed to the Commissioner (second respondent) against that order and claimed that he was a joint hereditary trustee which was denied by the plaintiff. The Commissioner accepted his claim and allowed the appeal. This was followed by the present suit under Section 62 of the Act.
2. It is common ground that the office of trusteeship in the temple is hereditary. The controversy centres round the competing claims of the appellant and the first respondent. The appellant would say that he is the sole hereditary trustee but according to the first respondent, he is a joint hereditary trustee. On the view we have taken, we do not propose to go into the merits of the rival claims.
3. The jurisdiction of the Deputy Commissioner under Section 57(6) is confined to a decision whether a trustee holds or held office as a hereditary trustee. In other words, the Deputy Commissioner can only decide as to the status of the office of the trusteeship, namely, whether it is hereditary. He is not competent to go into the further question as to which of the competing claimants is a hereditary trustee or whether both are joint hereditary trustees. That is a matter not covered by Section 57 of the Act and has to be decided only by a separate suit.
4. On that short ground, we allow this appeal. The result, is, the finding of both the Commissioner and the learned Subordinate Judge on the rival claims of the appellant and the first respondent is discharged and that question is left open. The decree is, therefore, set aside. The effect of this litigation is only to recognise that the office of the trusteeship is hereditary and nothing more. The appellant and the first respondent will bear their costs. The costs of the second respondent will come out of the estate as per the provision of the Act.