1. This suit was brought for the removal of the defendants Nos. 1 to 4 from the management of the temple of Ayyanar Karuppannaswami and Mutharasakulanthaswami and for framing of a scheme. This is a small temple in Vitalapuram alias Vijiaramaberi of Ettiyapuram Zamindari in the Ramnad District with properties yielding a moderate income of about Es. 400 per annum. The Subordinate Judge's Court passed a decree in accordance with the prayers in the plaint, and the 1st defendant appeals.
2. Two main points have been argued at the hearing of this appeal. The first is whether the plaintiffs are sufficiently interested in the temple to maintain this suit. It appears from the evidence that the 1st and 2nd plaintiffs have contributed to its funds and it is not denied that the 1st plaintiff is a worshipper at the temple. It has also been found that all the plaintiffs belong to the Vysia Kasukara Cbetty community, which community has a peculiar interest in worshipping at this shrine. These facts are sufficient to give the plaintiffs Nos. 1 and 2 at least a right to institute a suit, and the fact that the 3rd plaintiff has not been proved to be one of the worshippers will not affect the right of the other two who have joined together to institute the suit.
3. The next question is whether the defendants should have been removed from the office of trustees. The lower Court was unable to find any dishonesty or fraud proved against the 1st defendant who was the principal manager. The sum total of the lower Court's finding is that the 1st defendant was inefficient, that he became insolvent and that he set up a title hostile to the trust.
4. As regards insolvency, it appears from the affidavit, which is not contradicted, that he has become a discharged insolvent. As regards the title set up by him it appears from the documents executed by him that he described himself as a trustee. There is nothing to show that he at any time made a claim adverse to the trust. On the other hand, it does appear that he collected money for the temple, that he got the compound wall built, that he introduced daily worship that he has kept accounts of the income and expenditure, and that he has generally displayed a praiseworthy interest in the maintenance and worship of this temple. The lower Court's finding as to the 1st defendant's management being inefficient is not of such a grave character as to amount to a breach of trust. As I observed in Seshadri Reddi v. S. Subramaia Iyer A.I.R.1923 Mad. 163 when it is not proved that the defendants have misappropriated any of the temple income, and when it is found that they are as much interested as anyone else in maintaining the temple worship it will not be for the benefit of the trust to remove them from office and put strangers who have no such interest in their place. The appellant's Vakil has frankly admitted that he cannot argue that there should be no scheme for this temple or that the defendants Nos. 1 to 4 are the hereditary trustees. On the other side, it is contended that the 1st defendant was responsible for the disappearance of the temple jewels. This has not been made a charge against him and there is no finding on the point. There is no allegation in the plaint that he connived at their disappearance or was in any way to blame for their not being now forthcoming. On the whole, we are of opinion that sufficient reasons have not been shown for the removal of the 1st defendant from the management of this suit trust and we are not inclined to interfere with the order of the lower Court directing a scheme to be framed. When the lower Court frames that scheme, it should consider the advisability of associating other trustees with the 1st defendant and of fixing a term for which they should hold office. If such term should be fixed by the scheme, the 1st defendant's term of office will be regulated accordingly, not on the ground that he has hitherto been regarded as having a hereditary right, but in consideration of his past services. The appeal succeeds to the extent that the direction of the lower Court that the 1st defendant should be removed from the management of the suit trust is set aside but the direction for a scheme to be framed will stand. The order of the lower Court that the defendants should pay the cost of the suit to the plaintiffs cannot be supported in view of our present finding that they should not have been removed. Costs of the suit in both Courts may be defrayed from the income of the institution when funds become available. The order that defendants should pay costs of the suit to the plaintiffs is set aside. Ninth respondent claimed at the trial of the suit that be was an unnecessary party. This respondent was the 7th defendant in the lower Court, and in his written statement he stated that he did not want the management of the suit temple and that no cause of action had been shown against him. In the plaint it appears that he was included to prevent him from setting up any title to the suit temple subsequently on account of his father's management. As he disclaimed all interest in the temple and the plaintiffs failed to show that it was necessary to obtain a decree against him he should have been exonerated from the suit. We direct that he be exonerated with costs of his Memorandum of Objections at Rs. 50 payable by the plaintiffs who may include it in their costs recoverable from the institution.