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S. Krishnaswamy Pillai Vs. the Deputy Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (Administration) Dept. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1970)1MLJ365
AppellantS. Krishnaswamy Pillai
RespondentThe Deputy Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (Administration) Dept. and ors.
Excerpt:
- .....had not been made by the trustees regularly, the trustees of the tiruchendur temple applied to the deputy commissioner, hindu religious and charitable endowment (administration ) under section 64 (1) of the hindu religious and charitable endowments act, 1959 for the framing of a scheme. a draft scheme has been prepared and that covers not merely the religious charities above mentioned, but also three other religious charities in kanyakumari district itself. this draft scheme has been signed by four trustees of the trust including the present petitioner. subsequently, the petitioner has filed o.a.no. 58 of 1965 under section 63 (a) and (b) of the act to decide whether these are specific endowments within the scope of the terms as defined in the act. this writ petition, though filed as one.....
Judgment:
ORDER

A. Alagiriswami, J.

1. The petition claims to be the President of what is called the Kottar Mahimai Trust in Kanyakumari district. According to him it came into existence about 200 years ago having been constituted by tobacco merchants belonging to three castes from out of the Mahimai collected in respect of purchases and sales of tobacco by them. It appears that one of the religious charities for which the trust was contributing was what was called Uchikala Velli Thambala Kattalai in Tiruchendur Temple. On the ground that the contributions to that Kattalai had not been made by the trustees regularly, the trustees of the Tiruchendur temple applied to the Deputy Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (Administration ) under Section 64 (1) of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1959 for the framing of a scheme. A draft scheme has been prepared and that covers not merely the religious charities above mentioned, but also three other religious charities in Kanyakumari district itself. This draft scheme has been signed by four trustees of the trust including the present petitioner. Subsequently, the petitioner has filed O.A.No. 58 of 1965 under Section 63 (a) and (b) of the Act to decide whether these are specific endowments within the scope of the terms as defined in the Act. This writ petition, though filed as one for a writ of prohibition to restrain the first respondent, the Deputy Commissioner, from proceedings with the framing of a scheme, the learned Counsel for the petitioner has restricted his claim to the Issue of a writ of prohibition directing the Deputy Commissioner to forbear from appointing a fit person under the provisions of Section 64 (4) of the Act.

2. Various contentions were raised on behalf of the petitioner. One of them was that as the three other religious charities in Kanyakumari district are in respect of incorporated and unincorporated dewaswoms in Kanyakumari district, which are governed by Act XXX of 1959, it is not open to the Deputy Commissioner to frame a scheme to govern them also. I am afraid this contention has no substance. Act XXX of 1959 governs the dewaswoms themselves. They do not govern any kattalais or specific endowments in those dewaswoms. The Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act extends to the whole of the State of Madras including the Kanyakumari district and it applies to all Hindu Public religious institutions and endowments except the incorporated Dewaswoms and unincorporated Dewaswoms. It is, therefore, obvious, that endowments or Kattalais in respect of incorporated and unincorporated dewaswoms are also governed by the provisions of this Act.

3. The second contention is that as the trustees of the Subramaniaswami temple Devasthanam, Tiruchendur, applied for framing of a scheme only in respect of the specific endowment of the Uchikala Velli Thambala Kattalai in that temple, it was not open to the Deputy Commissioner to frame a scheme to cover not merely that Kattalai, but also three other religious charities in Kanyakumari district. This contention again has no substance. Under Section 64, the Deputy Commissioner can frame a scheme not merely on his being moved to do so, but also of his own motion. The Deputy Commissioner is not a mere quasi-judicial authority who can take action only on being moved to do so by parties. He is also an administrative officer, in charge of the administration of various temples and religious charities and that is why he has been given the power to frame scheme suo motu. Therefore, when an application was made before him by the general trustees of the Tiruchendur temple in respect of a specific endowment relating to that temple, if the Deputy Commissioner came to know of the existence of the other endowments, which are connected with that endowment, it was certainly open to him to frame a scheme under Section 64 of the Act covering the whole of the religious endowments and charities.

4. The third objection is that pending decision on the O.A.No. 58 of 1965 filed by the petitioner under Section 63 of the Act, it is not open to the Deputy Commissioner to appoint a fit person under Section 64 (4). As I have already mentioned the draft scheme is one to which the petitioner and three other trustees were parties. I do not, therefore, think that it is proper to prohibit the Deputy Commissioner from proceeding with the further consideration of the scheme pending disposal of the petition filed by the petitioner under Section 63 (3) ; nor do I think there is anything to prevent the Deputy Commissioner taking action under Section 64 (4). In doing either of these things, the Deputy Commissioner cannot be said to be contravening any provision of law. There is certainly no question of his not having the jurisdiction to do so.

5. The Writ Petition is devoid of merits and it is accordingly dismissed. There will be no order as to costs.


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