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Veeraraghava Thathachariar and ors. Vs. Krishnaswami Thathachariar and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported inAIR1916Mad845; 31Ind.Cas.269
AppellantVeeraraghava Thathachariar and ors.
RespondentKrishnaswami Thathachariar and ors.
Cases ReferredMangalathammal v. Narayanaswarni Aiyar
Excerpt:
res judicata - erroneous decision on point of law, if res judicata. - .....are also trustees of the manavala mahamuni shrine and hence the defendants have a general right of superintendence over the acts of the archakaparicharakas. i think it is impossible to hold that the right declared (in the suit of 1852) to exist in the archakaparicharakas of obtaining this re. 0-13-6 a year from the trustees was negatived by the decree of this court in the above second appeals relating to the putting up of pandals and to the right of trustees as such to exercise general superintendence over the whole management of the worship in the manavala mahamuni shrine.8. in the result i would dismiss this second appeal with costs.9. i fear there is no use in hoping that (what mr. justice moore has characterized in his judgment in the second appeals of 1900 as) 'these unfortunate and.....
Judgment:

Sadasiva Aiyar, J.

1. This suit was brought for the recovery of emoluments amounting to Rs. 167-1-11. It was decreed by the District Munsif for the appreciably lesser amount of Rs. 127-4. That decree was confirmed by the District Court against whose decision this second appeal has been preferred, valuing it at Rs. 127-4. But the eight grounds mentioned in the memorandum of second appeal are concerned only with that portion of the plaintiffs' claim which relates to the emoluments due to other temple servants (other than the plaintiff) working during the annual festival of the Sri Manavala Mahamuni shrine, which is a minor shrine situated in the famous Conjeevaram Varadaraja swami temple. The emoluments thus in question in this second appeal amount to the rather paltry sum of Rs. 5-1-0 (at the rate of Re. 6-13-6 per year for the six years before suit).

2. This litigation is now nearly 10 years' old, the plaint having been filed on the 2nd January 1906. This second-appeal which really relates (as above said) to this sum of Rs. 5-1-0, is itself now nearly five years old and has been heard by three different Benches of this Court.

3. It is well known that this famous temple intended for gods' wordship has been in a large degree converted into a field for the sowing of a crop of continual litigation, both civil and criminal, (such litigation being mostly of a childish and trivial, though of a very intricate and ingenious, character) between the Vadagalais and the Tengalais during more than 60 years past. The time of the Courts in dealing with this mass of litigation, cannot be said to be wholly wasted, as the legal learning and acumen of both Bench and Bar have been sharpened and improved and numerous Valuable decisions on questions of law have found their way into the authorised and other reports.

4. The small claim connected with the present litigation seems to have been first started so long ago as in 1852, and that claim is whether this sum of Re. 0-13-6 due (in the shape of cooked rice, uncooked rice or money) to other temple servants is to be distributed among them by the big Dharmakarthas of the Varadarajaswami temple who are Vadagalais, or by the Archakapari-charakas of the Manavala Mahamuni shrine who is a Tengalai saint beloved of the Tengalai Vaishnavite community to which sect the Archakaparicharakas belong.

5. I do not think it necessary to deal in detail with the 300 pages and more of printed matter referred to in the course of the argument in this case (the Exhibits beginning in 1890 and coming down to the time of the suit). The point to be decided is short and simple enough after once the labour of sifting and understanding the mass accumulated by the litigious nature of the parties round that single point, has been accomplished. I am satisfied, after a careful consideration of the plaint in the suit of 1862, the judgment of the Principal Suddar Amin in that suit, of the decision in Sri Krishna Tata Chariar v. Singara Chariar 4 M.K 219, which deals with the interpretation of the decree in that, suit of 1852, of the execution applications in that decree, of the schedule to the plaint in Original Suit No. 291 of 1894and of the other, documents not necessary to be referred to in detail that-

(a) the decree in the suit of 1852 declared the plaintiffs' predecessors' right to get this Re. 0-13-6 a year from the trustees for the distribution to the other temple servants Iarrive at this conclusion, not on the ground that. the construction of that decree is v. judicata by the decision in Sri Krishna Tata Chariar. v. Singara Chariar 4 M.K 219, as a precedent which is entitled to great respect. I do not say that it is res judicata, but only that I do not wish to decide the question whether it is res judicata or not as it is unnecessary. See, however, Rash Behari v. Mahendra Nath Ghose 21 Ind. Cas. 979 which seems not to go so far as the decision of this Court in Mangalathammal v. Narayanasurami Aiyar 17 M.L.J. 250, which laid down very generally that an erroneous decision on a question of law in a previous suit was no bar in a subsequent suit: between the same parties. It is also unnecessary to consider whether the decisions in the suits to which records F to O relate are or are I not res judicata in plaintiff's favour;

(b) from long before 1852, the custom or mamool of the temple has been that the Archakaparicharakas are to receive this Re. 0-13-6; from the trustees for distribution through them (the. plaintiffs and their predecessors) to the other servants;

(c) that there is a finding also of fact in the judgment in the suit of 1852 that such is a mamool or custom in this temple.

6. The findings of fact in the suit of 1852 are, clearly also res judiata between the parties See Bommidi Bayyan Naidu v. Bommidi Suryunarayana 17 Ind. Cas. 415 : 12 M.L.T. 500 : (1913) M.W.N. 1. The declaratory relief given in that suit is also res. judicata, even holding that the finding that the Archakaparicharakas are entitled to receive Re. 0-13-6 from the trustees is a finding on a pure question of law and is wrong. See the observations in Mangalathammal v. Narayanaswarni Aiyar 17 M.L.J. 250 itself which is relied on for the appellants. It follows that the lower Courts' decision in plaintiffs' favour in this case was right.

7. It was, however, argued that a earlier decision of this Court, dated 23rd January 1906, in Second Appeals Nos. 137, 138 and 269 of 1902 between the same parties, has negatived the right of the plaintiffs to recover this Re. 0-13-6 from the defendants. I have carefully gone through that judgment and through the records of the suits out of which those second appeals arose so far as they have been made evidence in this case; and it is clear to me that as ultimately decided the judgment in these second appeals decided only the two following points:

(1) That the trustees are entitled to make all arrangements for the putting up and taking down of pandals in connection with the festivals in the Manavala Mahamuni 'shrine on all occasions and the Archakaparicharakas are not entitled to act independently of the trustees in the matter of putting up and taking down of such pandals.

(2) That the trustees of the bigger temple are also trustees of the Manavala Mahamuni shrine and hence the defendants have a general right of superintendence over the acts of the Archakaparicharakas. I think it is impossible to hold that the right declared (in the suit of 1852) to exist in the Archakaparicharakas of obtaining this Re. 0-13-6 a year from the trustees was negatived by the decree of this Court in the above second appeals relating to the putting up of pandals and to the right of trustees as such to exercise general superintendence over the whole management of the worship in the Manavala Mahamuni shrine.

8. In the result I would dismiss this second appeal with costs.

9. I fear there is no use in hoping that (what Mr. Justice Moore has characterized in his judgment in the second appeals of 1900 as) 'these unfortunate and foolish disputes which have worked so much injury to the temple for many years past' will terminate with this case, which is only a very minor episode in the never-ending drama of the Conjeevaram Temple litigation.

Napier, J.

10. I concur.


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