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Selvadas and ors. Vs. Rev. A.M. Bensam and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1972CriLJ799
AppellantSelvadas and ors.
RespondentRev. A.M. Bensam and ors.
Cases ReferredBhinka v. Charan Singh
Excerpt:
- - it is now well-settled that this court sitting in revision cannot reappraise the evidence and interfere with the order unless there is an apparent error in procedure or in law resulting in substantial miscarriage of justice vide daya ram das v. 31 for the period after 13-1-1970 and this book clearly indicates that he was the president of the church committee on that date......statements setting forth their claims. this they did and thereupon he transferred the case to the district magistrate (j), kanyakumari for disposal. before him both the sides filed documents and affidavits. by his order d/- 1-8-1970 he declared that the church was in the possession of the members of the a party and ordered that they were entitled to be in possession until evicted therefrom in due course of law. the members of the b party canvass the correctness of this order in this revision.2. rev. a. m. bensam. no. 1 in the a party contends that the church belongs to the london mission which has on its roll 3000 members, that these members have elected him as the president of the church committee, that in his capacity both as pastor and president of this committee he is in actual.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Somasundaram, J.

1. This revision is directed against the orders passed by the District Magistrate, Kanyakumari, in MC 59/70 on his file, wherein he has upheld the possession of the Christ Koil Church situate as (sic) Palliyadi in Kanyakumari district in the members of the A party. There were disputes about the possession and management of this Church between two groups. The Inspector of Police. Thuckalay reported on 19-2-70 that breach of the peace was imminent. Thereupon the Executive Additional First Class Magistrate, took the matter on his file as MC 2/70 issued a preliminary order under Sections 145 (1) and 147 Cr. P. C. and called upon the members of both the groups to appear before him and file written statements setting forth their claims. This they did and thereupon he transferred the case to the District Magistrate (J), Kanyakumari for disposal. Before him both the sides filed documents and affidavits. By his order D/- 1-8-1970 he declared that the Church was in the possession of the members of the A party and ordered that they were entitled to be in possession until evicted therefrom in due course of law. The members of the B party canvass the correctness of this order in this revision.

2. Rev. A. M. Bensam. No. 1 in the A party contends that the Church belongs to the London Mission which has on its roll 3000 members, that these members have elected him as the President of the Church Committee, that in his capacity both as Pastor and President of this Committee he is in actual possession and management of the Church and its properties ever since the year 1942. The contention of the B party is that this Church which was originally known as the London Mission Church formed by the Missionaries in London merged with the South India United Church in the year 1908 and then with the Church of South India in 1947. They further aver that Rev. Bensarn himself was ordained by the Bishop of South Travancore Diocese of the Church of South India and that he was allowed to continue as pastor only by the C. S. I. They also contend that the Civil Courts have now settled that after the formation of C. S. I, in 1947 all the Christians of the London Mission Society became C. S. I. Christains and the C. S. I. alone has the right to conduct services in all Churches through its appointees.

3. The dispute in this case relates to the possession of a Church and its properties. The learned District Magistrate has, on consideration of the documents and affidavits, arrived at the conclusion that possession is with the members of the A party. It is now well-settled that this Court sitting in revision cannot reappraise the evidence and interfere with the order unless there is an apparent error in procedure or in law resulting in substantial miscarriage of justice vide Daya Ram Das v. Raja Ram . When passing an order under Section 145 (6) of the Criminal Procedure Code, the Magistrate does not purport to decide the parties' title or right to possession of the land but expressly reserves the question to be decided in due course of law. Further the orders are themselves merely police orders and they decided no question of title. It has been so held in Bhinka v. Charan Singh : 1959CriLJ1223 .

4. From the materials on record, the learned Magistrate has rightly arrived at the conclusion that on the relevant date possession was only with the A party. No. 1 in the A party had in fact produced the key of this Church when the same was attached by the orders of the Executive Magistrate Ex. A. 1 the marriage register, produced by the A party commences from the date 24-10-1963. No. 1 in the A party has celebrated marriages in this Church. There is no evidence on record to show that after the civil litigation possession of the disputed properties was in fact taken by the members of the B party. There is also no substance in the contention that No. 1 in the A party was in the position of a dismissed manager and that as such he cannot claim possession of the Church. It is true that he had resigned on 13-1-1970. but the Deacons themselves had made an endorsement that he would be released only on 28-2-1970. Thus, it is obvious that he had not gone out of office or possession on the relevant date. There is also no evidence to show that No. 1 in the A party was a servant under the control of the B party or their Church at any time. No. 1 in the A party has produced the Minutes book Ex. A. 31 for the period after 13-1-1970 and this book clearly indicates that he was the President of the Church Committee on that date. The B party has not adduced any evidence or filed any affidavit to show that any control was in fact exercised over No. 1 of the A party by the C. S. I. Church at any time before. Exs. A. 3 to A. 14, the reports relating to the Pastorate published in each year also do not show that there was any contribution from the management of the C. S. I. No. 1 in the A party has paid the property tax for the disputed immovables from the year 1964 to 1970 as will be evident from Exs. A. 18 to A. 21. He had repaired the Church and purchased materials for the year 1966 as will be seen in Ex. A. 26.

5. Thus, on a careful consideration of the evidence placed before him, the learned District Magistrate has correctly held that possession of the properties involved in this dispute was only with the members of A party. It cannot be said that the conclusion thus arrived at by him is vitiated by any error in procedure or wrong view of the law. The Cr. R. C. fails and the same is dismissed.


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