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Sri Paramahamsa Sriranga Narayana Jeer Swamigal Vs. Sri Paramahamsa Ahobila Jeer Swamigal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1926Mad166
AppellantSri Paramahamsa Sriranga Narayana Jeer Swamigal
RespondentSri Paramahamsa Ahobila Jeer Swamigal and ors.
Excerpt:
.....consider more than whether the plaintiff's personal grievacceis well founded, and whether the grievance gives plaintiff any cause of action. now, clearly it is not a matter which can be decided merely on the opinion of the..........statements of fact in the plaint were correct,that he fills the capacities be claims and that the jeer and trustees will be introducing an innovation when the former is allowed to enter the outer gates of the temple with his paraphernalia.4. then he goes on to lay down correctly that if the trustees make alterations in the ritual or decide questions of respect to visitors, etc, which affect the religious sanctity of the temple, they cannot in law do this, if it amounts to a breach of their trust. he goes on to consider whether it is a reasonable contention that the resolution of the trustees is subversive of the tengalai character of the trust; but in considering that question, he does not at any stage consider more than whether the plaintiff's personal grievacceis well founded, and.....
Judgment:

Wallace, J.

1. This Revision Petition is against the order of the Subordinate Judge of Trichinopoly cancelling a temporary injunction granted by the District Munsif, Srirangem in O.S. No. 430 of 1924, on his file. The plaint in that suit was filed by the head of the Tengalai Mutt at Srirangam and the principal defendant is the Jeer of the Ahobila Mutt; the other defendants are the trustees of the Srirangam Temple. The general relief claimed in the plaint is that the Jeer of Ahobila Mutt should be restrained from bringing into the Srirangam Temple certain paraphernalia and emblems pertaining to his office some of which bear the Vadagalai Namam, when he proposes to enter the temple for the purpose of worship. The trustees are made parties because they have by a resolution permitted him to enter accompanied by these emblems. The plaintiff's contentions as I read the plaint are mainly two. First, that such entry involving the introduction of Vadagalai Namams is opposed to usage and tradition, is offensive to the worshippers in the plaint temple which is claimed to be exclusively Tengalai, is a sacrilege to the Deity, and this is therefore a breach of trust by the trustees whose duty it is to preserve and not to destroy the essential customs and usages of the temple of which they are trustees, and secondly, that by according to the head of the Ahobila Mutt honours which are not permitted and are not claimed by the plaintiff himself, the plaintiff's own position and sanctity are likely to suffer in the eyes of the ordinary worshippers. Pending the trial, the District Munsif granted the injunction sought for. The Subordinate Judge has reversed that order, and the plaintiff comes up in this Revision Petition against the Subordinate Judge's order.

2. The plaintiff is bound to show that the lower Court has exercised its jurisdiction irregularly or illegally. His main point is that the Subordinate Judge has not at all considered his cause of action based on a breach of trust by the trustees, but has only regarded his contention about his personal humiliation.

3. The extent of the plaintiff's authority to control the ritual in the temple, the validity of his claim that the temple is exclusively Tengalai and other matters are challenged and these matters have not been so far gone into by the lower Courts. The Subordinate Judge professed to base his order on the assumption that the plaintiff's statements of fact in the plaint were correct,

that he fills the capacities be claims and that the Jeer and trustees will be introducing an innovation when the former is allowed to enter the outer gates of the temple with his paraphernalia.

4. Then he goes on to lay down correctly that if the trustees make alterations in the ritual or decide questions of respect to visitors, etc, which affect the religious sanctity of the temple, they cannot in law do this, if it amounts to a breach of their trust. He goes on to consider whether it is a reasonable contention that the resolution of the trustees is subversive of the Tengalai character of the trust; but in considering that question, he does not at any stage consider more than whether the plaintiff's personal grievacceis well founded, and whether the grievance gives plaintiff any cause of action. He finds that this grievance is imaginary and sentimental and that it is no ground for a civil action. I would, here, emphasise the undesirability of the lower Court in appeal from an interlocutory order laying down that a plaintiff has no cause of action. He goes on casually to remark that it is difficult to see how the introduction of the Jeer's paraphernalia with Vadagalai Namams into the temple for a short time could alter the ritual of the temple or go counter to its usages. Now, clearly it is not a matter which can be decided merely on the opinion of the Judge. It is the chief issue in the suit to be decided on the evidence. The Subordinate Judge merely dismissed this claim as an ebullition of sectarian hatred. That may or may not be so, but it cannot be decided merely by the Judge's own personal feelings that the entry of the Jeer with his paraphernalia into the temple could not have ' the far-reaching effect of affecting the character of the temple as a Tengalai institution '. I do not find in his order any consideration, from a judicial point of view, of the question, whether or not the plaintiff's contention that the trustees have committed a breach of trust is so unreasonable as to be refused a judicial hearing. The Subordinate Judge assumes that it is an innovation on the established usage. In such a case, in the matter of an interlocutory order, I should have thought, the proper course was to maintain the status quo until the disposal of the suit. The assumption may, of course, be a wrong one but the Subordinate Judge has not looked at the case from that point of view. His order in effect is:

Granted that this is an innovation ray private impression is that it will not affect the character of the temple and therefore, I dismiss the plaintiff's petition.

5. This is not a judicial order or a proper exercise of jurisdiction. Judicial matter cannot be decided on the private opinions of the Judge nor can that opinion be substituted for a decision on evidence, even, though the taking of that evidence may involve much time and trouble.

6. It is urged for the 1st defendant, the Jeer, that the lower Court did not think it worth while enlarging on this part of the case, because the suit so far as it is founded on an alleged breach of trust is not maintainable, because no sanction has been obtained under Section 92 of the Civil Procedure Code. There is nothing in the Subordinate Judge's order to indicate that, and so far as this Court is concerned, I do not think it proper at this stage to go into the question whether Section 92 applies. I understand there is an issue on this very point, and it is certainly not a matter concluded against plaintiff by authority. It may be advisable-I merely throw out the suggestion-that the trying Court should dispose, first, of this issue as to whether the suit so far as the relief based on the breach of trust is concerned is maintainable.

7. I am of opinion, for reasons given, that the lower Court has not exercised its jurisdiction regularly and that the order under revision cannot be supportel and must be set aside. The appeal against the District Munsif's order will have to be re-heard and I therefore allow the petition and direct the appeal against the District Munsif's order to be re-heard by the District Judge, to whom I hereby transfer the appeal for hearing. The injunction order passed by the District Munsif is thus restored bending the re-hearing of the appeal. The petitioner will gat his costs in this petition from the 1st defendant and the other parties will bear their own costs.


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