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Kumud Ban Mohunt Vs. Tripura Charan Choudhury and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Judge
Reported inAIR1921Cal783,60Ind.Cas.464
AppellantKumud Ban Mohunt
RespondentTripura Charan Choudhury and ors.
Cases ReferredUmeshanand Dut Jha v. Ravaneshwar Prosad Singh
Excerpt:
hindu law - religious endowment--mahant, position and powers of--pronami, whether personal property of mahant--residence of mahant--cost of up-kept, whether to be borne by endowment. - .....the plaintiffs who had instituted the suit as representatives of the hindi community, that certain items of expenditure should be excluded on the ground that as the pronami was now to be taken by the mahant some of the items of expenditure, which ii previous years had been met from the income of the endowment, should be thrown upon him. the district judge has accepted this contention as well founded and has modified the budget accordingly. we are of opinion that this view cannot possibly be supported.3. mr. sanyal for the plaintiffs has contended that it was understood when the son sent order was made with regard to the pronami that certain items of expenditure should no longer be borne in future by the endowment, it is impossible for us to entertain this suggestion; whatever the motives.....
Judgment:

Asutosh Mookerjee, Acting C.J.

1. We are invited in this Rule to consider the propriety of an order made by the District Judge with regard to the annual budget of the Sita Kundu Temple, which is the subject matter of a suit under Section 92 of the Civil Procedure Code, in his Court.

2. The litigation has been pending for many years. On the 20th November 1911 an appeal was preferred to this Court against the decision of the District Judge declining to remove the late Mahant. In this Court a decree was made by consent of parties, on the 5th February 1915, and a scheme was drawn up, on the model of the scheme sanctioned by the Judicial commitee in the case of Prayag Doss Ji Varu v. Terumala Srirangacharla Varu 30 M. 138 : 11 C.W.N. 442 : 9 Bom. L.R. 588 : 2 M.L.T. 119 : 17 M.L.J. 236 : 34 I.A. 78, and applied by this Court in Umeshananda Dut Jha v. Ravaneshwar Prosad Singh 17 Ind. Cas. 969 : 16 C.L.J. 431 : 17 C.W.N. 841, One of the directions given in the scheme was that the Mahant, two months prior to the commencement of every Bengali year, would prepare and file in the District Court a budget of the expenses to be incurred in the ensuing year. There was a supplementary provision that the Treasurer would put the Mahant in funds for all disbursements according to the budget and for any further expenditure considered necessary by the Mahant; but unless by leave of the District Court such further expenditure was not to exceed Rs. 500 during any one year. The scheme has been in operation for some years, and there have been disputes from time to time as to the items to be inserted in the budget, with the result that by a subsequent consent order it was decided that the pronami, or personal offering to the Mahant by the faithful, should not be treated as part of the income of the endowment After this order had been made By consent the budget for the following year was sub-mitted by the Mahant to the District Court Objections were thereupon taken on behalf of some of the plaintiffs who had instituted the suit as representatives of the Hindi community, that certain items of expenditure should be excluded on the ground that as the pronami was now to be taken by the Mahant some of the items of expenditure, which ii previous years had been met from the income of the endowment, should be thrown upon him. The District Judge has accepted this contention as well founded and has modified the budget accordingly. We are of opinion that this view cannot possibly be supported.

3. Mr. Sanyal for the plaintiffs has contended that it was understood when the son sent order was made with regard to the pronami that certain items of expenditure should no longer be borne in future by the endowment, It is impossible for us to entertain this suggestion; whatever the motives of the parties might have been, they are bound by the consent order so long as it stands, and by that consent order the pronami is the personal property of the Mahant. This, indeed, is in accordance with what is well established law. It was pointed out by Mr. Justice Banerjee in the case of Girijanund Datta Jha v. Sailajanund Dotta Jha 23 C. 645 : 12 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 429, that there is a fundamental distinction between the offerings made to the duity and the offerings made to the Mahant personally. If offerings are made to the deity, they belong to the endowment and must be applied by the Mahant for the purposes of the endowment: on the other hand, if offerings are made by the faithful to the Mahant personally, they do not be some merged in the income of the endowment. Illustrations of the applications of this principle will be found in the cases of Dhadphale v. Gurav 6 B. 122 : 3 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 539, Kashi Chandra Chuckerbutty v. Kailash Chandra Bandopadhya 26 C. 356 : 3 C.W.N. 279 : 13 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 831, and Kalyana Venkataramana Aiyangar, v. Kasturi Ranga Aiyangar 38 Ind. Cas. 73 : 20 M.L.T. 490 : 5 L.W. 625 : (1917) M.W.N. 400 : 40 M. 212 : 31 M.L.J. 777, whether a particular offering is made to the deity or to the Mahant personally depends upon the intention of the faithful devotee and no inflexible rule can be formulated, no general test can be prescribed, to determine whether on a particular occasion the offering has been made to the deity or to the Mahant personally. But so far as the pronami is concerned there can be no doubt that it is made to the Mahant personally and becomes his personal property. it is consequently, impossible to maintain the view that, because the Mahant takes the pronami, certain items of expenditure, which in previous years had been 'legitimately thrown upon the income of the endowment, should thence forward be thrown upon the Mahant personally. The items have been, placed before us, and we are of opinion that they were rightly charged on the endowment in previous years, and should not have been thrown on the Mahant in the budget under consideration.

4. A question has been railed as to whether money should be spent out of the income of the endowment for the repairs of the dwelling-house of the Mahant. We are of opinion that the necessary repairs should be effected from the income of the endowment. The dwelling-house of the Mahant is part and parcel of the endowment and must be maintained in a suitable condition so as to be proper residence fir the spiritual head of the religious foundation. As was pointed out in the case of Umeshanand Dut Jha v. Ravaneshwar Prosad Singh 17 Ind. Cas. 969 : 16 C.L.J. 431 : 17 C.W.N. 841, so long as the Mahont remains in office, he must be treated with the dignity which belongs to the holder of that office. In the present case,, there is ample indication on the part of the plaintiffs that they have endeavoured to take objections which, if accepted, would seriously affect the dignity and position of the Mahant.

5. The result is that the Rule is made absolute, the order of the District Judge set aside, and the budget approved as submitted by the Mahant.

6. We are finally of Opinion that it is not necessary to have an Examining Committee, on the obvious ground that multiplicity of machinery always leads to increase of dispute. The Examining Committee must consequently be discharged. Rule No. 50F will be discharged.

Ernest Fletcher, J.

7. I agree.


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