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A.K. Vavallevvai Maricair Dharmam, Represented by A.K.V. Ahamed Maricair Sole and Managing Trustee Vs. the State of Tamil Nadu Represented by the Collector - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies;Property
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1979)2MLJ121
AppellantA.K. Vavallevvai Maricair Dharmam, Represented by A.K.V. Ahamed Maricair Sole and Managing Trustee
RespondentThe State of Tamil Nadu Represented by the Collector
Cases ReferredMuthuchami v. Muthiah Chettiar
Excerpt:
- .....according to the learned counsel, since the object of the trust was to run a madarasa wherein muslim girls and boys are given religious lectures and also lessons in koran, the trust deed should be taken to be of religious nature.3. the learned tribunal proceeds on the basis that the objects 'for which the trust has been created are to conduct mouluds (ceremonies) and fatihas and public feedings during the month of mohurrum and rabiyul avval. according to the tribunal the performance of mouluds, fatihas and public feedings are only of charitable nature and even if it is held that they are being performed by the trustees, no religious significance can be attached to those objects.4. though the order of the tribunal refers to various charitable objects as being performed by the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

G. Ramanujam, J.

1. The Authorised Officer, Nagapattinam, took proceedings under Section 9 of the Tamil Nadu Act LVIII of 1961 in, respect of the lands held by a trust called A. K. Vavallavai Maricair Dharmam, Nagore, and declared an extent of 21-88 standard acres as surplus by a draft statement under Section 10(1) of the Act. Against such a declaration, the managing trustee of the said trust filed an appeal and in that appeal the draft statement issued by the Authorised Officer was set aside and the matter was remitted to the Authorised Officer for fresh disposal. After remand the Authorised Officer took up the matter for fresh enquiry. Before the Authorised Officer, the managing trustee, one Ahamed Maricair, was examined as P.W. 1. He deposed that the trust was created by his father A. K. Varalebbai Maricair in 1934, that the object of the trust was to hold fatihas and conduct public feedings and mouluds (ceremonies) during the months of Mohurrum and Rabiyul Avval of the Arabic era. He also filed the trust deed, Exhibit P-1 to show that the trust created by the document is of religious nature. He also produced accounts relating to the trust, Exhibits P-3 to P-11 and P-19 as also Exhibit P-2, a partition deed under which some more properties have been set apart for the trust erected by Exhibit P-1. The Authorised Officer, after considering the recitals in the trust deed and the oral evidence of P.W. 1, held that the trust in question is not entitled to be declared as a public trust of religious nature, that the trust created under. Exhibit P-1 is only of a charitable nature and that therefore, the trust is not entitled to claim exemption in relation to the lands held by it under Section 2 of the said Act. There was an appeal to the Tribunal by the managing trustee. That appeal having failed, the trustee has come before this Court.

2. Before me it is contended that the objects set out in the trust deed, Exhibit P-1 are of religious nature, and therefore, the trust should be taken to come within the scope of Section 2 of the Act. The learned Counsel has taken me through the recitals in the trust deed, Exhibit P-1, and also the evidence of P.W. 1, the managing trustee, who has deposed as to the purpose for which the income from the trust is spent. According to the learned Counsel, since the object of the trust was to run a madarasa wherein Muslim girls and boys are given religious lectures and also lessons in Koran, the trust deed should be taken to be of religious nature.

3. The learned Tribunal proceeds on the basis that the objects 'for which the trust has been created are to conduct mouluds (ceremonies) and fatihas and public feedings during the month of Mohurrum and Rabiyul Avval. According to the Tribunal the performance of mouluds, fatihas and public feedings are only of charitable nature and even if it is held that they are being performed by the trustees, no religious significance can be attached to those objects.

4. Though the order of the Tribunal refers to various charitable objects as being performed by the trustees, we have to decide the nature of the trust created under Exhibit P-1, only with reference to the objects specified therein and not with reference to the objects actually performed now as deposed by P.W. 1. The object specified in Exhibit P-1 is to run a madarasa where Muslim girls and boys are given lessons in Koran and also given lectures in Islamic religion. The actual words used in Exhibit P-1 are:

This indicates that religious instructions and lessons on Islamic religion are given in the madarasa for the benefit of Muslim girls and boys. The question is whether the running of such madarasa will be taken to be a religious object or it is merely a charitable object.

5. The trust created for running such a madarasa is a public trust of religious nature as contemplated by Section 2 of the Act. Admittedly, the madarasa has been founded for the benefit of Muslim girls and boys who form a section of the public. Therefore, that the institution is of public character, cannot be disputed. The question is whether the institution is of a charitable character or of a religious nature. Here as already stated, Exhibit P-1, the trust deed contemplates the running of a madarasa wherein the Muslim boys and girls are given lessons in Koran and also lectures on principles of Islamic religion. The trust deed does not merely direct the giving of general education to the Muslim boys and girls, but it specifically refers to religious instructions to be given and also the teaching of Koran to the boys and girls. That means, the madarasa is intended to give only religious instructions to Muslim boys and girls and not general education. If it is merely a general education that is imparted in the madarasa, then it will be charitable. But, as the main object of the madarasa is to give religious instructions to Muslim boys and girls, it can only be treated as pertaining to religion.

6. It has been held in Makkaram Ali Khan v. Anjumanunnissa Bivi I.L.R.(1923) All. 152 that a wakf created for reading of fateha and for charitable purposes including the maintenance of the founder's poor relations and dependants was valid according to the Muhammadan law. In that case the main purpose of the endowment was the remembrance of the anniversary of the Inam Hussain Saheb and the holding of annual majlis on that occasion to celebrate it. Since the said celebration involved the offering of prayers and reading of Holy Koran, the trust was held to be a valid public religious endowment. The principle laid down in that case was approved by this Court in Sattar Imail v. Hamid Salt : AIR1944Mad504 . In that case, the founder of the wakf merely directed Koran to be read over his tomb. Reading of Koran either in a public or a private place was regarded as of religious and pious object and it was also taken to be a charitable object as reading of the Koran is for the benefit of all Muslims. It was observed in that case that even if the money is spent on reading of Koran in private places that will not detract from the religious, pious and charitable character of the object. In Bai Hirabai and Kesarbai Charitable and Religious Trust v. Commissioner of Income-tax : [1968]68ITR821(Bom) the Bombay High Court has approved the principle laid down by the Madras High Court in Sattar Ismail v. Hamid Sait : AIR1944Mad504 and has held that the reading of holy Koran is not only a religious and pious act, but it would constitute a valid purpose of public religious endowment. These decisions clearly lay down that where a trust has been created for the purpose of running a madarasa for teaching Koran and for giving religious instructions to Muslim boys and girls, the trust should be taken to be of a religious character.

7. The learned Counsel for the respondent would however point out that it has been held by a Division Bench of this Court in Muthuchami v. Muthiah Chettiar (1975) T.L.N.J. 21 that mere running of a Vedapatasala will not amount to a religious purpose and that in view of the reasoning in that decision, the trust in this case cannot be held to be of religious nature. In that case, an endowment had been created for running a patasala teaching Yajur Veda in the temple premises. It was claimed that the said trust will come under the definition of religious endowment. The Division Bench took the view that teaching of Yajur Veda by itself will not be of a religious object so as to convert the endowment into a religious endowment, that a religious institution is one in which worship is done to an idol or some service is done to an idol or in connection with a festival in a temple, and that the location of the Veda Patasala in the temple premises will make no difference any more than if an ordinary school imparting secular instruction were situate therein. I do not see how the principle laid down in that case will apply to the facts of the case before us. In the above case, the patasala was started only for teaching Yajur Veda and the Court held that teaching of Yajur Veda by itself cannot be said to be a religious object since the teaching of Yajur Veda is not connected with any religious object. In this case, however, the object of running a madarasa for which the trust was created is to impart instructions in Islamic religion and to teach Koran to the Muslim boys and girls. Therefore, the entire object of the trust was to give religious instructions to Muslim boys and girls, that is, to spread religious tenets, and therefore, the trust is only of religious nature.

8. The result of the above discussion is that the trust which has been created with the object of running a madarasa wherein religious instructions are to be imparted to the Muslim boys and girls is a public trust of religious nature, and it will therefore, come under the exemption provided under Section 2 of the Act. The Civil Revision Petition is therefore allowed. There will be no order as to costs.


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