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A.S.N.S. Naina Pillai Marakkayar Vs. State of Madras by Secretary, Revenue Department - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported inAIR1958Mad532; (1958)1MLJ248
AppellantA.S.N.S. Naina Pillai Marakkayar
RespondentState of Madras by Secretary, Revenue Department
Cases ReferredEdware Mills v. State of Ajmer
Excerpt:
- - where the government have reason to believe that any hindu or jain public charitable endowment is being mismanaged and are satisfied that in the interest of the administration of such charitable endowment it is necessary to extend thereto all or any of the provisions of this act and of any rules made there under, they may, by notification in the fort st. in the first place the preamble as well as the short title of, the act make it clear that the legislation comprehended both religious and charitable endowments. the short title of the act is 'the madras hindu religious and charitable endowments act, 1951' and the long title is an act to provide for the better administration and governance of hindu religious and charitable institutions and endowments in the stale of madras. it is..........petitioner challenges the constitutional validity of section 3 of the madras hindu religious and charitable endowments act (xix of 1951) in this petition invoking the jurisdiction of this court under article 226 of the constitution.2. section 3 of the act xix of 1951 (which i shall call the impugned section) enacts:where the government have reason to believe that any hindu or jain public charitable endowment is being mismanaged and are satisfied that in the interest of the administration of such charitable endowment it is necessary to extend thereto all or any of the provisions of this act and of any rules made there under, they may, by notification in the fort st. george gazette, extend to such charitable endowments the said provisions and thereupon the provision so extended shall.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Rajagopala Ayyangar, J.

1. The petitioner challenges the constitutional validity of Section 3 of the Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act (XIX of 1951) in this petition invoking the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution.

2. Section 3 of the Act XIX of 1951 (which I shall call the impugned section) enacts:

Where the Government have reason to believe that any Hindu or Jain public charitable endowment is being mismanaged and are satisfied that in the interest of the administration of such charitable endowment it is necessary to extend thereto all or any of the provisions of this Act and of any rules made there under, they may, by notification in the Fort St. George Gazette, extend to such charitable endowments the said provisions and thereupon the provision so extended shall apply to such charitable endowments as if it were a specific endowment:Provided that before issuing such a notification, the Government shall publish in the Fort St. George Gazette, a notice of their intention to do so, specifying the reasons for the action proposed to be taken by them and fixing a period which shall not be less than two months from the date of publication of the notice, for the persons interested in the endowment concerned to show cause against the issue of the notification, and consider their objections, if any.

The petitioner claims to be the trustee of a charitable endowment known as Annapoorani Amman Chatram Dharmam. The petitioner has been in management of this trust for a considerable time and acting in pursuance of the provisions of Section 3 extracted earlier, the State Government issued a notice to the petitioner to show cause why Act XIX of 1951 and the Rules made thereunder should not be extended to the Dharmam of which he was in management for the reason that the endowment was being mismanaged by him. The petitioner has thereupon moved this Court by the Writ Petition now before me and obtained a rule nisi and also orders of stay directing the Government not to proceed further with the enquiry into the misconduct charged.

3. Mr. Jagadisa Ayyar, learned Counsel for the petitioner, formulated the following in support of his attack on the: validity of this provision.

(i) Section 3 constituted an unconstitutional and excessive delegation of legislative power virtually amounting to an abdication by the Legislature of its power over the subject.

(2) The provision offended Article 14 of the Constitution.

4. Learned Counsel sought to sustain the plea of excessive delegation under two heads : (a) that the Act did not formulate any policy to be applied and that it did not lay down any principles for the Government to adopt but had merely left the entire field open for executive action. This, learned Counsel contended was an abdication of the legislative function by the law-making body; (b) that Section 5 of the Act effected repeals of the enactment set out there in case where the Act applied and that as Government were vested with the power to apply the Act to particular institutions Section 5 in effect enabled the executive to repeal laws which were applicable to such institutions before the date of the notification under Section 3.

5. I shall deal with these two contentions in that order. The steps in the reasoning of learned Counsel on which the first of these points was urged were these. Section 1(2) of the Act limits the operation of the enactment to all Hindu public religious institutions and endowments and therefore not to public charitable endowments. It is Section 3 which enables the Government to extend the provisions of the Act to public charitable endowments. The extension of the Act therefore to the Hindu public charitable endowments is not by any act of the Legislature but by virtue of what might be termed executive legislation. This it was said was excessive delegation. I feel wholly unable to accept this argument. In the first place the Preamble as well as the Short title of, the Act make it clear that the legislation comprehended both religious and charitable endowments. The Short title of the Act is ' The Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1951' and the Long title is

An Act to provide for the better administration and governance of Hindu religious and charitable institutions and endowments in the Stale of Madras.

The Preamble follows the Long title by stating that it was expedient to amend and consolidate the law relating to the administration and governance of Hindu religious and charitable institutions in the State of Madras. That the legislation comprehended within its scope charitable endowments is therefore beyond question. The enactment no doubt primarily and of its own force applied to Hindu religious institutions and endowments. In regard to them detailed provisions are made for supervision over such endowments and for securing due and proper administration of their affairs. That is the framework and the embodiment of legislative policy in relation to such institutions. The Legislature did not consider it expedient or necessary to bring within the scope of the enactment every charitable endowment but considered that it was sufficient if the provisions of the Act were applied to those charitable endowments whose affairs were mismanaged. Naturally some authority had to be created vested with power to find out those cases of charitable endowments whose affairs were mismanaged. The executive Government was vested with this power under Section 3. It was for the Legislature to determine the authority to be invested with such power, and so no objection, could be taken on the score that the Government were chosen for that purpose. In my judgment the validity of this delegation in the present case is so clear as to render it unnecessary to cite any authority but as the matter was argued at some length, I would refer to the decision of the Supreme Court in Edware Mills v. State of Ajmer : (1954)IILLJ686SC , and particularly the passage at pages 747 to 750 as applying to the present case. The case on hand is just in line with the case before the Supreme Court where their Lordships had to deal with the validity of the prescription of employments by the appropriate Government, so as to bring them within the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act. I have therefore no hesitation in repelling this contention urged on behalf of the petitioner.

3. Point (b) has even less substance than the first. Section 5 no doubt effects the repeal of the enactments set out in their application to institutions and endowments brought within the scope of the Act. It is not disputed that this repeal was within the power of the Legislature. When by a proper legislative delegation the State Government are vested with power to extend the operation of Act XIX of 1951 to particular institutions Section 5 would certainly be attracted to those institutions and to the extent to which provisions of this Act are made applicable to such endowments the enactments mentioned in Section 5 would cease to apply or would be overborne. But this effect is not by virtue of the 'legislative act' of the Government in notifying the institution but because the Legislature has so provided. It would be a true case of a conditional legislation which is within the powers of the Legislatures in India.

7. The next head of objection was based on the power conferred by Section 3 being obnoxious to Article 14 of the Constitution, The point was put this way, To start with it was urged that the expression 'mismanaged' was vague and lacked precision and was open to the construction that a subjective satisfaction by the Government of this vague requirement was sufficient to enable the Government to issue this notification. The power was thereby stated to be affected by the vice of arbitrariness. I feel unable to accept this argument which rests primarily On the word 'mismanagement' being a term of indefinite import. In my judgment 'mismanagement' indicates improper management or management in a manner not in conformity with the law, in accordance with the intentions of the founder or in the interests of the institution. This is certainly not vague. It is well known to the law as a ground for action against persons in possession of funds in a fiduciary capacity. Of course Government had to be satisfied that there was 'mismanagement' before they could take action under Section 3 but this surely cannot render the law permitting such action arbitrary within Article 14. This point about Article 14 was presented in a slightly different form by stating that the Government were not on the terms of Section 3 bound to take action in every case of mismanagement and they might pick and choose institutions to which they might make the provisions of the Act applicable. I am unable to uphold this objection either. Under the terms of Section 3 it is only if the Government were satisfied that an endowment was mismanaged and that in its interest the provisions of the Act should be made applicable that they are directed to issue the notification. None is precluded from bringing to the notice of the Government the mismanagement of any institution and it is only if they are satisfied that they are enabled to do so. The argument of learned Counsel would really mean that every enabling power was necessarily violative of Article 14 and that to satisfy the requirement of the Article there must be a compellable duty enjoined upon the authority. This proposition has only to be stated to be rejected and I do not think that it merits further consideration.

8. The petition fails and is dismissed. This rule is discharged. There will be no order as to costs.


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