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Komminedi Kotayya and anr. Vs. Raja Manuri Venkata Gopala Rao Pantulu Garu and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in125Ind.Cas.237
AppellantKomminedi Kotayya and anr.
RespondentRaja Manuri Venkata Gopala Rao Pantulu Garu and ors.
Cases ReferredIn Mutleyi Srinivasacharyulu v. Dinavah Pratyanga Rao
Excerpt:
civil procedure code (act v of 1908), section 92 - grant of inam--definite scale for daily prayer in temple--balance for certain services and archakas personal benefit--scheme, whether can be framed--inam grant--construction--conduct, effect of. - .....of the archakas, the land might have been described as belonging to seetharamaswami varu in the inam documents. but in the face of ex. v, i do not think it can now be said that the land was wholly an inam to the deity. in attorney-general v. sidney sussex college (1869) ch. a. 722 the two colleges were appropriating all the rents and profits not spent for the specific trusts in favour of the testator's descendants. it corresponds to the specific trusts of daily worship in the present case and the colleges right to the surplus corresponds to the right of the temple for the services and the right of the archakas. in attorney-general v. grocer's co. (1843) 49 e.r. 929 : 6 beav. 526 : 12 l.j. ch. 195 : 3 jur. 1155 : 63 r.r. 166, the surplus after the expenses for the charity are met was.....
Judgment:

Ramesam, J.

1. This appeal arises out of a suit by three plaintiffs under Section 92 of the Civil Procedure Code for a scheme respecting the temple of Sri Seetharamaswami Varu at Koritepad, formerly a village but now a flourishing suburb of Guntur included within its Municipal limits. There are 8 items of lands in the plaint schedule. The Subordinate Judge held 'that items Nos. 1 to 7 of the plaint schedule do not constitute a grant to the suit deity as its absolute property, but they are inams granted in favour of the defendants' ancestors to be held by those grantees and their heirs burdened with the trust of doing the specific services mentioned in Ex. IV(a) for the benefit of the deity.' He similarly found on the 8th issue that Item No. 8 of the plaint schedule was not an endowment to the suit deity. He, therefore, thought that a scheme was not necessary and dismissed the suit. The plaintiffs appeal.

2. The history of the connection between the suit lands and the suit temple may now be discussed. First, we have got two documents, Exs. IV and IV(a). These documents are dated 20th October, 1822. Both were addressed by Raja Manuri Ven-katarayanimagaru. The Manuri family were at the time owners of a zemindari in the Kistna District. Some time afterwards the zemindari was sold for arrears of revenue and the zemindars are now in receipt of a pension from Government. The present representative of the family is the 1st defendant. The zemindari was not lost at the time of Ex. IV and Ex. IV(a). Exhibit IV(a) was a letter by the Rajah of Peddinti Rathnamacharyulu and Paruchuri Appalacharyulu. Their description in Ex. IV(a) shows that they must have been learned Vaishnavite Brahmins, The former is the ancestor of defendants Nos. 2 to 11, and the latter was the ancestor of the 12th defendant. The letter Ex. IV(a) says that 4 kuchallu of land was allotted for the purpose of the daily worship of the temple and a certain scale on which the worship is to be conducted is given in the letter. Then the letter concludes thus: 'With the money remaining after spending for the Nitya Nipedya (daily worship) in the said manner, (you) should perform the Friday Sevas (services) Punarvasu Sevas (services) and festival sevas (services). We would ourselves perform the annual utsawams (festivals).' The heading in the document describing it as a Wad' does not appear in the document itself. One would think that this is at least a document providing for the daily worship in the temple on a definite scale. It leaves no discretion to the worshippers or Archakas to reduce the scale. As to the manner in which the surplus should be spent while it refers to services on Fridays, Punarvasu days and festivals it fixes no definite scale. Exhibit IV is a letter addressed to the karnams and ryots. It says 'We have granted 4 kuchallu of land (as) many am for meeting the expenses of the daily offerings, Friday seva and Punarvasu sevas.' This sentence shows that the other document which was executed simultaneously with Ex. IV was really intended to be a grant at least of the income required for the daily worship and this letter directs the karnams to measure of the land and mark it with boundaries according to the practice in those days. Both these documents are very old. They bear the zemindar's seal in Nagari characters. It has been urged before us by the learned Advocate for the appellants that the inam statement for these lands, namely, Ex. A says that the sartad is lost, (vide. Col. 6) and, therefore, Ex. IV (a) cannot be genuine. But whether the statement in the inam statement that the document is missing is true or whether the document was suppressed by the Archakas for some purpose of their own, it seems to me that Ex, IV(a) is genuine. It provides for the daily worship of the temple on a definite scale. Five days after this document the Raja addressed another letter Ex. V to the former of the two Archakas, Txaraely, Peddinti Ratnamacharyulu. It is dated Friday the 10th Aswija Suddham of Chitrabhanu. The translator of the document has converted this into an English date 27th September, 1822, but 27th September, 1822 corresponds not to the 10th day but to the 11th day of Aswija Suddham which was inter corollary or adhika. But the 10th Aswija Sudha proper was a Friday and corresponds to 25th October, 1822. Exhibit Vis 5 days later than Exs. IV and IV(a). That this is also the correct date is seen from the fact that the Raja in this letter is giving further directions as to the mode of enjoyment of the land as I will presently show. The Subordinate Judge has also read it as 5 days latter than Exs. IV and IV(a). This document says that the addressee should enjoy one-half share and the other Archakas Paraswuri Appalacharyulu should-enjoy the other half share of the archaka, inam of Sitharamaswami Varu 'whose samprokshana (purification ceremony) was caused to be performed by our mother Rukmayamma Garu in Koritepad of our zemindari.' It then proceeds to say that all the other functions of the archaka shall be discharged and the money derived from the various services shall be enjoyed half share each from son to grandson. The document then finally winds up thus: 'so you shall, in the said manner, enjoy the same happily from son to grandson and so on in succession so long as the sun and moon last.' It is true that the first word 'from son to grandson' refer only to the enjoyment of the perquisites derived by the archakas from the services of the temple and cannot indicate the interest of the archakas in the archaka inams, though they may indicate that the office of the archaka is hereditary. Bat the last sentence in the document which must be taken to cover the whole of the arrangement referred to in it refers to enjoyment from son to grandson. The first question that arises in connection with this document is whether the archaka inam referred to in it is the same as that in Ex IV(a). The fact that this is written 5 days after the other suggests it, but beyond this there is nothing in the document to describe or identify the inam. To clear up this point we called for the Diglat register of the village. It was obtained from the Revenue Board's Office and we nowdirected it to be exhibited as Ex. VIII. This document is the Survey and Settlemen Register and describes all the holdings inthe village. Among the inams there, the suit lands are all described. But there is no other inam described as archaka inam. I, therefore, infer that Ex. V relates to the same inam as Ex. IV(a). Seeing that Ex. IV (a) was primarily a document providing for the daily worship in the temple and the meaning of the word 'archaka' is worship, I think the words 'archakas inam' in Ex. V mean the inam providing for the daily worship of Seetharamaswamy and that inam must be the same inam as that of Ex. IV(a). Still we have the words that 'the archakas should enjoy from son to grandson in this manner,' These words mean that the archakas were intended to have some beneficial interest in this archaka inam. How much it is it is not stated and it is left indefinite. The net result of these documents Exs. IV, IV {a) and V is that this inam provides first, for the performance of the daily worship on a definite scala which the archakas have no discretion to reduce, secondly, conducting the Friday service Punarvasv, service and festival services and, thirdly, their own enjoyment. The 2nd and 3rd items are left indefinite showing that some latitude was intended to be given to the archakas as to the manner in which they should apportion these two items. If they conduct the 2nd item in an economical scale more will be left for their own benefit then when the services are conducted on an extravagant scale. What they should do seems to be left to their discretion. If they are otherwise well off they may be extravagant in the performance of the services. But if they have no other means of livelihood they may conduct the service more economically provided they are performed in a reasonable manner. The lands must have been yielding a very small income in 1822, leaving a very moderate surplus for the other services and for the livelihood of the archakas. Even by 1860 when Ex. A, inam statement was filed and Ex. C inam register was prepared, the income was only Rs. 135 8-0 though the extent was 81 acres and 80 cents andel-4th of the income namely, Rs. 34 was fixed as the quit rent. In col. 15 of the inam register 'Rs. 4' is a mistake for '4 kuchaUas'. After conducting the daily worship according to the fixed scale during all the 365 days, a very moderate amount would be left for the other services and for the benefit of the archakas. Recently the income of the inam has increased. According to the evidence of D. Ws. Nos. 1 and 8 it is now about Rs. 1,600. Some five years back it was Rs. 80 : Vide P. Ws. No. 2, who says that the lands were yielding Rs. 10 an acre. Ten years ago it was Rs. 400. Vide para. 10 of the Subordinate Judge's judgment. We know the income in 1860 was only Rs. 135. The question now is, who should take the beneficial interest of the surplus? The archakas say that the grant is a grant to the archakas burdened only with the duty of rendering the daily worship and services to the temple and, therefore, they should get all the benefit of the surplus. The appellants say it is a grant to the temple and only reasonable remunetion should be given to the archakc and after the reasonable remunerate all surplus should again go to the temple. I think the proper legal in of erenow lie midway between these two extreme contentions, We note first that there is a provision for a definite purpose connected with the temple and then two purposes which were not made definite but in respect of which some latitude was left to the archakas, namely, services connected with the temple and the archakas enjoyment. Whatever may be spent for the definite purposes mentioned in the first item, that is, the daily worship, the rest Bhould, I think, go wholly to the benefit of the temple and the archakas. If the income is increased, both would participate in the increase and if the income is diminished both would suffer the loss. No one is entitled to say he should take all the Burpluj. Thus I would say that the inam is not purely an archakas inam in the sense of a grant to the archakas only burdened with their doing duty in the temple; nor is it also an inam, entirely belonging to the temple, but it is an inam a definite portion of the income, of which was specially allotted to the temple and the rest of the income is again allotted in two shares one to the temple and one to the archakas and is liable to increase or decrease according as the land yieldsa higher or a lower income. In this respect it is somewhat different from the many cases that have come up before the Courts, Most of the cases in this Court were examined by me in a judgment of myself and Cornish, J, reported in Vadlamannaty Bala v. Secretary of State for India : AIR1928Mad282 . Most of the cases discussed therein proceeded on the footing of only two alternatives either a grant to the archakas or a grant to the temple. But on the construction of Exs. IV, IV(a) and V in this case I would say that' the present is an intermediate case. Before referring to the English cases cited by the learned Advocates I would say one word about the inam statement and the register. The learned Advocate for the appellants strenuously contended that these documents show that the grant must be treated as a grant to the deity only. No doubt, where the grant itself is not forth-coming, utmost importance must be attached to the inam statement and register us evidence of later conduct. But where the original grant is forthcoming, later conduct cannot affect their proper construction Vide Dost Muhammad Khan v. Ghulam Ghouse Sahib : AIR1927Mad599 . The fact that the laid is described as 'Devadayam' in these documents does not necessarily show that the it is to a temple, but merely that it is connected with a religious purpose; and such a description is consistent with being a grant to the archakas also. This I pointed out in the case already referred to. Seeing that in 1860 the income was very small and a large portion of it was to be spent for the daily worship and even out of the remainder a portion went for the temple service and the other portion for the maintenance of the archakas, the land might have been described as belonging to Seetharamaswami Varu in the inam documents. But in the face of Ex. V, I do not think it can now be said that the land was wholly an inam to the deity. In Attorney-General v. Sidney Sussex College (1869) Ch. A. 722 the two Colleges were appropriating all the rents and profits not spent for the specific trusts in favour of the testator's descendants. It corresponds to the specific trusts of daily worship in the present case and the Colleges right to the surplus corresponds to the right of the temple for the services and the right of the archakas. In Attorney-General v. Grocer's Co. (1843) 49 E.R. 929 : 6 Beav. 526 : 12 L.J. Ch. 195 : 3 Jur. 1155 : 63 R.R. 166, the surplus after the expenses for the charity are met was held to belong to the Company though there is no express beneficial gift. In Attorney-General v. Cordwainer's Co. (1833) 3 My. & K. 534 : 40 E.R. 405 : 116 R.R. 120. it was held that the Company took a beneficial interest in the rents of the estates, subject to the payment of the specified sums for charitable purposes. In the present case both the temple and the archakas take the surplus after the specific bequest. The same principle is laid down in Attorney-General v. Trinity College, Cambridge (1856) 24 Beav. 383 : 53 E.R. 405 : 116 R.R 156 and in Attorney General v, Dean and Canons of Windsor (1860) 8 H.L.C. 369 : 11 E.R. 472 : 30 L.J. Ch. 529 : 6 Jur. (N.S.) 833 : 2 L.T. 578 : 8 W.R. 477 : 125 R.R. 206, In the present case it cannot be said that the whole of the income was to be spent in one way or the other and only for the purpose of the temple as Ex. V says that the archakas were to enjoy the inam. The case of Attorney-General v. Mayor of Bristol (1820) 2 Jao. & W. 294; 37 E.R. 640 : 3 Mad. 319 : 22 R.R. 136 may be mentioned as an application of the principle. The principle itself is clear from these cases though there is some difficulty in the application of the same to the particular facts of each case. In Mutleyi Srinivasacharyulu v. Dinavah Pratyanga Rao 61 Ind. Cas. 816 : 30 M.L.T. 101 (not discussed by me in the decision referred to already) the deed of gift itself was to the deity. In the Law I have taken above, the Subordinate Judge is not right in dismissing the suit. The temple is so much interested in the income that it cannot be left to the total discretion of the archakas and a scheme is necessary to safeguard the interests of the temple.

3. The Subordinate Judge has found that the archakas have so far not been guilty of any serious breach of duty (vide finding on the no 3rd issue) and the finding on this issue has not been attacked before us. So long as the archakas are properly performing the duties, they ought not to be ousted from the possession of the inams. Even if there is a general trustee looking to the general interests of the temple there is no objection to the archakas being regarded as trustees for the specific purpose of the daily worship and the specified services on Fridays etc. We frame the following scheme for the purpose of ensuring the proper, performance of the duties of the daily worship etc.

(1) As the first defendant is reported to be dead, the Court will appoint his nearest heir in the line succession who is willing to be trustee or if there is no heir, any other siutable person as the trustee for all the general purposes of the temple and for supervising the work of the archakas in connection with the daily worship and the services on Fridays etc.

(2) The archakas will continue to be in possession of the suit lands and will lease them out to tenants, but on each occasion of leasing they will take written leases or muchilikas, from the tenants. Drafts of the muchiliko shall be submitted by them to the trustee before execution for his suggestions and approval. The leasing may, wherever possible, be effected by auction.

(3) The archakas will maintain accounts showing how much gross income has been derived from the lands, any incidental expenses and the net income and how the net income of every year has bean spent. In particular, will show first how much has been spent for the Nithya Nivedya, etc., required for the daily worship according to the scale in Ex. IV(A). They shall spend the amount required for the service on Fridays etc, out of half of the surplus. But how much the surplus amounts to will be shown in the account and the other half of the surplus will be taken as remuneration by the archakas themselevs. The trustee shall frame a scale for the Friday service, festival service and Punervasu service so as to be within half of the surplus after paying the expenses of the daily worship and any balance after the expenses of the services are met, should be invested in the name of the trustee in. a local bank, and 'if the amount exceeds Rs. 100 or more it may be invested in Government promissory notes. To explain ray meaning, J would give an arithmetical illustration, The Subordinate Judge finds that about Rs. 100 a month will be required for the daily worship. Taking Rs. 3 a day tentatively as the expense of the daily worship, this item requires Rs. 1,095 or Rs. 1,100 annually. If the income is Rs. 1,600 this leaves a balance of Rs. 500. Half of this would be Rs. 250. Towards services on Fridays etc. Rs. 150 may be spent, and Rs. 100 shall be invested as the property of the deity so that it may be useful for the repair of the temple or its accessory buildings or repairing the valanams or other similar purpose. Rupees 250 will be taken as the remuneration of the archakas.

4. No question inter se between the archakas families which now seem to consist of 5 or more branches has been raised before us and is not intended to be decided. Once every quarter the trustee will be entitled to call for the accounts from, the archakas for inspection.

5. The 8th issue relates to item No. 8 of the plaint schedule. It is in a different village called Pasumaru and only the lath defendant is interested in it. Issue No. 6 relates to this inam and it is dated 13th September 1833. This shows that an inam for the archakas was originally allotted to them. But they afterwards surrendered that deed and Parasuri Applacharyulu wanted his archakas inam should be given to him in Pasumaru. So one kuchulu and 9 pagodas were given to him. It appears that there is no other inam belonging to Peddinti people as purely archakas inam and it also appears that Paruchuri people are not interested in the other inam in Koretipad already discussed. It may be that by some arrangement prior to Ex, VI between 1822 and 1832 the archakas inam of Peddinti people is somehow included In items Nos. 1 to 7 which contains perhaps 4 kuchulu in Ex. IV and also the archaka inam of Peddinti people, This, of course, is a conjecture. If it is true our earlier conclusion is still more justified. Anyhow, so far as the Pasumaru inam is concerned, it is a grant to the archakas only. The inam. statement connected with this, Ex. D, is entirely in favour of the archaka and is in contract with the inam statement of the other land. This laud, therefore, belongs solely to the archakas and is not subject to any specific trust in favour of the temple and any scheme we can frame ought not to include this land.

6. So far as the appeal against the 12th defendant is concerned, it is dismissed with costs. As between the plaintiffs and the 11th defendants each party will bear his own costs. The appellants will be entitled to get the costs of both Courts, from the surplus income of the inam ear-marked for the temple if any.

Jackson, J.

7. I agree.


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