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P.T. Narayana Ayyar and ors. Vs. Baghirathi Ammal and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1963)1MLJ123
AppellantP.T. Narayana Ayyar and ors.
RespondentBaghirathi Ammal and anr.
Excerpt:
.....of doubt and an honourable acquittal, is to ensure that no person shall be tried for a second time for the same offence for which he is tried and convicted or acquitted once. what is provided under section 300(1) of cr.p.c. is only a reassurance of the constitutional right guaranteed under article 20(2). the principle behind this prescription under section 300 of cr.p.c. is to avoid double jeopardy to a person. if the code recognizes such a distinction, it may make inroads into this concept of double jeopardy. but the concept of double jeopardy, to some extent, is allergic to service law. in many cases the supreme court has made it clear - (i) that the imposition of a punishment and the denial of promotion did not amount to double jeopardy, and (ii) that the conviction by a criminal.....s. ramachandra iyer, c.j.1. the only question for determination in this appeal is whether the suit filed by the appellants under section 62 of the madras hindu religious and charitable endowments act is within time. the facts necessary for the consideration of the question can be briefly set out:one lakshmi ammal who was a resident of perur in coimbatore district died in the year 1940 leaving a will dated 9th may, 1921. during her lifetime she was worshipping sri chakra rajeswari whose idol had been installed in her house. by her will, the testatrix set apart two items of properties for the conduct of worship of the deity on ordinary days and also on other important festive occasions. out of the surplus income available after meeting the puja expenses the will directed that the trustees.....
Judgment:

S. Ramachandra Iyer, C.J.

1. The only question for determination in this appeal is whether the suit filed by the appellants under Section 62 of the Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act is within time. The facts necessary for the consideration of the question can be briefly set out:

One Lakshmi Ammal who was a resident of Perur in Coimbatore district died in the year 1940 leaving a will dated 9th May, 1921. During her lifetime she was worshipping Sri Chakra Rajeswari whose idol had been installed in her house. By her will, the testatrix set apart two items of properties for the conduct of worship of the deity on ordinary days and also on other important festive occasions. Out of the surplus income available after meeting the puja expenses the will directed that the trustees were to feed as many Brahmins as possible who did veda Parayanam at the time of the annual festival of Perur Devasthanam.

2. The appellants who are certain Brahmin residents of the locality, alleging that under the will of Lakshmi Ammal there has been a dedication for a religious and. charitable purpose and complaining that the trustee, Sankaranarayana Iyer (who died pending suit) was mismanaging and misappropriating the trust funds filed an? application under Section 58 of the Act before the Deputy Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments at Coimbatore for the settlement of a scheme. The Deputy Commissioner accepted their case and framed a scheme. Sankaranarayana Iyer thereupon filed an appeal under Section 61 of the Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act to the Commissioner. The Commissioner held that on the terms of the will no endowment which would come within the scope of the definition of ' Religious Institution ' under the Act, was created. The appeal was allowed and the finding of the Deputy Commissioner that a religious institution had been created under the will of Lakshmi Ammal was set aside. The Commissioner, however, directed that consequential, orders should be issued by-the Deputy Commissioner. The order of the Commissioner is dated 20th September, 1954. That was communicated to the appellants on 12th October, 1954. In pursuance of the direction issued by the Commissioner the Deputy Commissioner-passed an order formally dismissing the application of the appellants. That' order is dated 7th December, 1954. The appellants feeling aggrieved by the decision of the Commissioner instituted a suit under Section 62 of the Act. The relevant portion of the section reads thus:

Any party aggrieved by an order passed by the Commissioner:

(i) under Section 61, Sub-section (1) or Sub-section (2)

(ii) and relating to any of the matters specified in Section 57, Section 58 or Section 60.

* * * * * * *may within ninety days from the date of the receipt of such order by him, institute a suit in the Court: against such order; and the Court may modify or cancel such order, but it shall have no power to stay the Commissioner's order pending the disposal of the suit. (Rest of the section omitted as not necessary).

3. The suit in the instant case was not, however, filed within the time limited by Section 62(1) of the Act. It was filed only on 11th January, 1955, one day beyond the time permitted by law. The learned Subordinate Judge held that as the suit had not been filed in time, it was not maintainable. The appellants challenge the-correctness of the decision in this appeal.

4. Mr. Vedantam Srinivasan appearing for the appellants contends that the starting point for the purpose of a suit under Section 62(1) of the Act will be the date of the final order passed by the Deputy Commissioner on remand by the Commissioner and if that date, namely, 6th December, 1954 is taken the suit will be within time. To appreciate the argument it has to be considered first as to Which, of the two orders furnishes the cause of action for the suit. The grievance of the appellants can only be against that order which held that the trust came within, the purview of the Act. That was decided by the Commissioner by his order dated, 20th September, 1954. Nothing else remained to be done. The consequential orders of the Deputy Commissioner did not form the subject-matter of any fresh grievance; if it did, the remedy of the appellants would lie in an appeal to the Commissioner and not in a suit under Section 62. Under Section 61 of the Act it is open to the Commissioner to cancel 01 modify the order of the Deputy Commissioner. If as a result of the exercise of his appellate powers the Commissioner finally holds, that an institution is not a religious institution within the purview of the Act, it is obviously that order that has got to be set aside, under Section 62 of the Act. There can be no doubt that in the present case it is the order of the Commissioner, and indeed the plaint makes this clear, which is the subject-matte of grievance. The Deputy Commissioner was directed to do nothing more than to pass a consequential order. It follows that the time for filing the suit will begin to run from the. date of the communication of the order of the Commissioner. We agree with the learned Subordinate Judge that the suit has got to be filed within 90 days of the date of the communication of the order of the Commissioner and that as in the present case the suit was not so filed it must be held to be incompetent.

5. There is, however, one other matter to be considered. The suit was valued for Rs. 15,000. The lower Court in taxing the costs directed ad valorem advocate's fee of Rs. 800 to be paid. Having regard to the fact that the question involved in the suit is a simple one which did not require such evidence or even arguments we do not consider that Rs. 800 should be allowed as costs to the successful defendants. We reduce that sum in the circumstances of the case to Rs. 250 which in our opinion is a fair measure of advocate's fee to be taxed against the appellants. We set aside the decree of the lower Court in the matter of costs and substitute in its stead a sum of Rs. 250 towards advocate's fees before the trial Court. This will be in addition to the other expenses taxed in favour of the respondents. In this appeal also advocate's fee will be taxed at Rs. 250. In other respects the appeal will stand dismissed with costs.


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