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P.Narayanaswamy v/s Sri Addepalli Kandaswamy Chetty & Chenchu Venkatasubbu Guruvajamma Charities rep. by its Trustees & Others

    C.R.P.(NPD) No. 2920 of 2009 & M.P. No. 1 of 2009
    Decided On, 21 June 2010
    At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE G. RAJASURIA
    For the Petitioner : V. Reghupathi, Advocate. For the Respondents : R2 to R4 Shivakumar, R5 - R. Gopinathan, R6 - T.N. Rajagopalan, R8 - Rathina Asokan, Advocates.


Judgment Text
(PRAYER: Civil Revision Petition filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India against the order dated 30.04.2008 passed by the learned Principal Judge, City Civil Court, Chennai in O.P.No.31 of 2008.)


1. Inveighing the order dated 30.04.2008 passed by the learned Principal Judge, City Civil Court, Chennai in O.P.No.31 of 2008, this civil revision petition is focussed.


2. Heard both sides.


3. The epitome and the long and short of the relevant facts absolutely necessary and germane for the disposal of this revision petition would run thus:


a. The learned Principal Judge, Chennai vide order dated 30.04.2008 in O.P.No.31 of 2008 filed by the respondent herein passed orders. The prayer in the said petition would run thus:


- to pass an appropriate direction permitting the schedule mentioned property under this petition to vest with the society in the name and style of M/s.Addepalli Kandaswamy Chetty and Chenchu Venkatesubhu Guruvajamma Charities Association for carrying on the objects of the erstwhile trust,


and the operative portion of the order would run thus:


"In the result, this petition is allowed and permission is granted to vest the petition mentioned property with the society in the name and style of M/s.Addepalli Kandaswamy Chetty and Chenchu Venkatesubbu Guruvajamma Charities Association for carrying on the objects of the erstwhile trust and to submit the report to that effect within a period of one month."


b. The revision petitioner herein, who claims to be the worshipper of the deity Subramania Swami alleged to be maintained by the respondent Trust filed this revision challenging the said order on the following grounds among others:


(i) The respondent made misrepresentations to the lower court and obtained direction under Section 7 of the Charitable and Religious Trust Act, 1920, which is liable to be struck down.


(ii) In the said temple of Arulmighu Subramania Swami maintained by the respondent, festivals are conducted and the said Trust is having extensive properties.


(iii) Quite contrary to the intention of the testators of the Trust, namely, Mr.A.Subbukrishnan and A.S.Nagaraj, the trustees without getting prior permission from the competent court of law sold the most valuable properties of the trust for a song and mortgages were also created illegally.


Accordingly, he prays for setting aside the order of the lower court.


4. The learned counsel for the revision petitioner reiterating the grounds of revision would also develop his arguments thus:


The petitioner being a worshipper has got the right to invoke the jurisdiction of this court by filing this revision because, the trustees of the said trust had no right to effect sales and to that effect they have not even obtained permission from the court concerned. It is a fact that a society was formed subsequently, as per the trust deed itself. But the society had not obtained any permission from court for effecting any sale. According to the learned counsel for the revision petitioner, the murky transactions should necessarily be taken note of by this court and the order of the lower court has to be set aside.


5. Whereas by way of torpedoing and pulverising the arguments as put forth on the side of the revision petitioner, the learned Advocates for the respondents would put forth and set forth their arguments, the quintessence of them would run thus:


1. The petitioner is having no locus standi to file this revision petition.Furthermore, the revision itself would not lie as against the order of the lower court.


2. The trust is a private trust and in such a case, the petitioner is having no right to invoke the revisional jurisdiction of this court.If at all any one is aggrieved, only the beneficiaries under the trust could set the law in motion.


3. There is nothing wrong in the order passed by the learned Principal Judge in O.P.No.31 of 2008.


4. The transactions took place only for the interest of the beneficiaries.


Accordingly, they prayed for the dismissal of the revision petition.


6. The point for consideration is as to whether the order of the learned Principal Judge dated 30.04.2008 in O.P.No.31 of 2008 is liable to be set aside on the grounds set out in the revision?


7. The learned counsel for the revision petitioner would make a supine submission during his argument that the learned Principal Judge did not give any direction either to the trustees or to the society to dispose of the trust properties but what the learned Judge ordered was that the trust properties were ordered to be vested in the newly formed society. Even though the society was not a party in the OP, the learned Judge passed such order.


8. As such, before me now the facts lie within a narrow campus in this revision.


9. This court is not going to weigh or adjudge as to whether the encumbrances or alienations made by the trustees are valid and binding or not?


10. The petitioner herein is undoubtedly a third party. In case of public trust, Section 92 of Code of Civil Procedure enables any two persons to set the law in motion and see that the properties of the public trust are not dissipated or siphoned off illegally. But here, it is not a suit under Section 92 of CPC pending before me. It is only a revision challenging the said order of the learned Principal Judge.


11. I would like to recollect that the learned Principal Judge did not order for alienating or encumbering the trust property and in such a case, this court need not ponder over the said alienations or encumbrances. If at all the petitioner could make out a case by invoking Section 92 of CPC, it is for him, by establishing his locus standi and his right to challenge those encumbrances or alienations, to initiate action and at that time, it is for the forum concerned to decide the same after hearing all the persons concerned.


12. As of now, I would like to point out that there is a controversy between the petitioner and the respondents relating to the nature of the trust.


13. The learned counsel for the respondents would submit that the respondent trust asserted that it is a private trust and accordingly, invoked The Charitable and Religious Trusts Act, 1920 (14 of 1920) .


14. At this juncture, I would like to raise a query as to why then the respondent-trust invoked the Charitable and Religious Trust Act, which ex facie and prima facie is applicable to public trust. Section 7 of the Act, is extracted here under for ready reference:


"7. Powers of trustee to apply for directions:


1. Save as hereinafter provided in this Act, any trustee of an express or constructive trust created or existing for public purpose of a charitable or religious nature may apply by petition to the Court, within the local limits of whose jurisdiction any substantial part of the subject-matter of the trust is situate, for the opinion, advice or direction of the court on any question affecting the management or administration of the trust property, and the court shall give its opinion, advice or direction, as the case may be, thereon:-


......................................................................."


(emphasis supplied)


However, the learned counsel for the respondents would answer the query by pointing out that the Charitable

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properties are for providing charity to the family members and descendants of the trustees and therefore, according to her the respondent Trust is a private trust. 15. Be that as it may, it is for the forum concerned, which would be dealing with the matter on a future date to decide on that as to whether the Trust Act is applicable or some other Act. As such, in view of my discussion and observation supra, I am of the considered view that in this revision finally, this court cannot decide about the validity or otherwise of the alienations and encumbrances and also about the role of the society as well as the trustees and it is open for the petitioner to take action in the way known to law as observed supra. 16. With this observation, this revision is disposed of. No costs. Consequently, the miscellaneous petition is closed.
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