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Sarat Chandra Ghose Vs. Pratap Chandra Ghose - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1913)ILR40Cal232
AppellantSarat Chandra Ghose
RespondentPratap Chandra Ghose
Cases ReferredRunchordas Vandravandas v. Parvatibai
Excerpt:
trust - deed of trust, construction of--uncertainty--gift for 'religious acts' (dharmakarmarthe) and for 'religious purposes' (dharmoddeshe)--works of public good--discretion of trustee. - .....desire for the spiritual benefit of the deceased forefathers, and to please vishnu, make over, for religious purposes (dharmoddeshe)' etc. the expressions 'religious acts' and 'religions purposes' do not accurately render the equivalent bengali expressions which connote more.3. the lady then, directs that from the income of the immoveable property belonging to her, certain. thakoors are to be worshipped and maintained and that the income derived from her moveable properties is to be applied for the performance of the annual durgotsab. this is followed by the following directions: sixth clause.---'out of the income which shall remain after incurring all the aforesaid expenses a sum not exceeding one thousand rupees shall be applied to supporting the poor, the blind, and the destitute, and.....
Judgment:

Chaudhuri, J.

1. This was a suit to obtain a declaration that a deed of trust executed by Padmabati Dasee, mother of the plaintiff, affecting certain of her properties was void and inoperative, and that he and her other heirs were entitled to a partition of these properties according to their shares. The plaintiff gave some evidence, but has elected not to go on with it, and rests his claim entirely on the construction of the trust deed. He contends that the trusts created by the sixth clause are void and inoperative. It is, therefore, unnecessary to deal with the evidence recorded.

2. The reason for executing the trust deed is given in the following passage, taken from the Court translation: 'Now I do, for religions acts (dharmakarmarthe) with a desire for the spiritual benefit of the deceased forefathers, and to please Vishnu, make over, for religious purposes (dharmoddeshe)' etc. The expressions 'religious acts' and 'religions purposes' do not accurately render the equivalent Bengali expressions which connote more.

3. The lady then, directs that from the income of the immoveable property belonging to her, certain. Thakoors are to be worshipped and maintained and that the income derived from her moveable properties is to be applied for the performance of the annual Durgotsab. This is followed by the following directions: Sixth clause.---'Out of the income which shall remain after incurring all the aforesaid expenses a sum not exceeding one thousand rupees shall be applied to supporting the poor, the blind, and the destitute, and in imparting education, in upanayan (assumption of the sacred thread ceremony), in removing marriage difficulties (getting girls married), or in works of public good, that is, shall be paid at the discretion of the trustee towards dispensaries, hospitals, charitable societies, schools, or any students' education, feeding the poor etc., marriage upanayan, etc., excavation and consecration of tanks etc. in villages having dearth of water, construction and consecration etc. of ghats and maths,, and the trustee shall, at his discretion, have power to render assistance beyond a thousand. The trustee for the time being shall have full power in the matter of deciding where or for whose education, or upanayan, or for whose daughters' marriage the same shall be applied. The poor, the blind, the destitute, the helpless, and students having, no means, or persons having daughters to be married belonging to the lines of my sons and daughters are not outside the class of the poor, the blind, the destitute, the helpless students having no means, and persons having daughters to marry mentioned above.

4. 'Seventh clause.---The trustee shall take from the executor of my will the amount which will be due according to the provisions of the will and the said money shall form a portion of the property mentioned in the fourth provision of this Deed of provisions.

5. Eighth clause.---If after ail the above expenses there be any balance out of the income of the Government securities or of the property acquired in exchange therefor, the same shall be gradually laid by, because the prices of the articles etc. are gradually rising and will rise, therefore in the event of their being increased in expenditure, increase in the original fund will be necessary. Should ever any one in the lines of my sons being in straitened circumstances, or having daughter to marry or son to educate have no other means, which God forbid, the trustee for the time being shall, at his discretion, help him as much as may be possible, no one, however, shall have any claim or objection thereto.

6. Ninth clause.---If there be any balance after the aforesaid expenses the same shall be gradually laid by, and in the event of any body in my line being in straitened circumstances, which God forbid, the trustee for the time being shall at his discretion occasionally help him a little. No one shall have any claim or objection thereto. The same shall be like an absolute donation.'

7. In the original, there is a full-stop after the words 'or in works of public good,' in the sixth clause, and the next sentence begins with (for example or 'that is' as in the Court translation), 'hospitals, charitable dispensaries etc., etc.'

8. It has been held in a long series of cases that unless the subjects and objects of a trust of the character mentioned in clause six can be ascertained, the trust must be held to be bad.

9. In Trikumdas Damodhar v. Haridas Morarji (1907) I.L.R. 31 Bom. 583. Chandavarkar J. held that there could be no doubt upon the authorities that a bequest ' for purposes of popular usefulness or purposes of charity' was void for uncertainty. In Grimond (or Macintyre) v. Grimond [1907] I.L.R. 31 Bom. 583. Lord Halsbury held that a bequest to such charitable or religious institutions, and societies as the trustees might select, was void for uncertainty. The directions are so vague that the Court is not called upon to make a new will for the testator.

10. In this case the words are similar. Purposes of popular usefulness, of charity, of religious acts are all mixed upland absolute discretion has been given to the trustee to apply any portion of the fund to any of them. I, therefore, hold that the whole of the trust in that clause, is inoperative. It would be impossible for any Court to correct or reform the mal administration of such a trust, or direct due administration thereof. In Bai Chadunbai v. Dady Nusserwanji Dady (1901) I.L.R. 26 Bom. 632. Stirling J. following Williams v. Kershaw (1835) 5 Cl. & F. 111. held, where the gift was for benevolent, charitable and religious purposes, it meant benevolent, or charitable or religious purposes and, therefore, the bequest was void for uncertainty. Reference has also been made to Surbomungola Dabee v. Mohendranath Nath (1879) I.L.R. 4 Calc. 508. in which White J. held that a trust for purposes of construction and erection of a pucca bathing ghat, at a suitable place on the river Hooghly surrounded by a chandney, and two temples of Siva, was void for uncertainty. This case shows to what extent our Courts have gone against bequests of a vague and uncertain character.

11. It Was held in Runchordas Vandravandas v. Parvatibai (1899) I.L.R. 23 Bom. 725. that a gift for dharam was too vague to be given effect to. It was said that the objects which can be considered to be meant by the word are too vague and uncertain for the administration of them to be under any control. Having regard to all these decisions and upon the construction of the document, I hold, as I have already said, that the trusts in clause six are inoperative.

12. The result, therefore, is that the properties dealt with in the trust deed, or such properties as now represent them, are merely charged with such necessary expenses as were incurred in the lifetime of the lady for the maintenance and worship of the Thakoors mentioned in the third, clause, and the annual Durgot-shab mentioned in the fourth clause.

13. To avoid an expensive reference the parties have agreed to a scheme of'management in. respect of these properties. Those terms will be put in signed by the adult parties.

14. So far as the infants are concerned, I hold that the termination of this suit in this manner is beneficial for them. There was prospect of long and bitter litigation involving expensive enquiries, and I consider it for their benefit that the suit, should have terminated in this way. I sanction the scheme as for their benefit.


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