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Shree Vinayaka Valli Devasena Subramanyeshwara Swamy Temple Trust, Represented by its Trustee, B. Chinnappa Naidu, Kolar v/s State of Karnataka, Represented by the Secretary, Bangalore & Others

    W.P. No. 926 of 2014 (GM R/C)

    Decided On, 03 January 2020

    At, High Court of Karnataka


    For the Petitioner: Sunil S. Rao, T. Seshagiri Rao, Advocates. For the Respondents: R1 to R7, N. Balaji AGA, R8 & R9, Hariprasad Mathru Assts, Advocates.

Judgment Text

(Prayer: This Petition is file under Articles 226 & 227 of the Constitution of India, praying to quash the Notification vide Annexure-A dated 29.12.2009 issued by R-1 in and pass such other necessary orders to quash the Consequential proceedings initiated on the basis of the impugned Notification vide Annexure-A and etc.)1. The petitioner is a trust called ‘Sri Cheluva Vinayaka Swamy Temple Trust’. The said Trust is stated to be a Registered Trust formed by 12 people for the purpose of maintenance, management and improvement of the temple called Sri Cheluva Vinayakaswamy Temple, situate at Robertsonpet, KGF Town, Bangarpet Taluk, Kolar District. It is stated that this Trust was formed on 11.08.2004 under a registered Deed of Trust. It is stated that the trust is maintaining the temple in question which has been in existence right from the year 1918 and the Pooja in the temple has been performed by hereditary Archaks right from its inception without depending on any external aid including from the Government or general public in question. It is further contended that the temple in question is situate on private property.2. The Petitioner-Trust is assailing the impugned order dated 29.12.2009 (Annexure A) issued by the Respondent No.1 – State of Karnataka by which it has notified the Chelvua Vinayaka Swamy temple as a Muzarai Institution under Section 23 of the Karnataka Religious & Charitable Institutions Act, 1927. (Hereinafter called as ‘the Act’).3. The order passed by the Government at Annexure A states that Sri Chelvua Vinayaka Swamy temple was a ‘C’ Class temple belonging to Muzrai Department and it had been notified along with three other institutions but the temple was omitted from the notification, by mistake. The order further states that the management of the temple was being done by the committee formed by the Government and an Administrator has been appointed by the Government. It is also stated that the temple is being run with the aid of donations and also rents derived from the houses.4. The Government Order further states that the Commissioner of Religious and Charitable Endowments has requested for inclusion of the said temple amongst the list of notified institutions. The State acting upon the said recommendation, has notified the institution which had been left out in the original notification.5. A Reading of the said order indicates that the temple was being managed by a committee which had been constituted by the Government and the principle source of income for the Temple was the Hundi created by the State and also by the rents derived from the houses which were attached to the Temple. It is thus clear that the public revenues were being expended on the maintenance of the temple and the management of the temple was by a Committee constituted by the State. In my view, since public revenue was being expended on the maintenance of the Temple. The Temple is required to be notified under Section 23 of the aforesaid Act.6. It may be pertinent to state here that the original notification dated 30.4.2003 (Annexure J to the Writ petition) which was issued in exercise of the power conferred under Section 23 of the Act clearly stated that apart from the list of temples mentioned therein, liberty was reserved to the State Government to publish additional list of institutions, if any, in due course. Thus, it was open for the State to include or add any temple in the notification and thereby make the temple a notified institution.7. Perusal of Annexure-B, the order passed by the Secretary, Revenue Department, Bangalore in exercise of power of review under the provisions of the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997 would indicate that Sri Cheluvavinayakaswamy temple was endowed by one Smt Muniyamma and the State Government by its order dated 11.1.1955 had taken over the management and the Deputy Commissioner had also declared that the said temple as a minor muzrai institution by his order dated 23.7.1970. The Secretary has also recorded a finding that the committee of Dharmadharsees had been constituted for the temple in the years 1970, 1974, 1977, 1981 and 1987. The Secretary also recorded a finding that the Deputy Commissioner has passed several orders from 1972, to 1988 granting allowance for running of the temple and he has also taken note of the fact that the Commissioner of Religious and Charitable Endowments had granted approval for renovating the houses attached to the temple and the Deputy Commissioner has also revised the rents in respect of the houses under his order dated 14.7.1986. The Secretary has categorically recorded a finding that right from the year 1970, the temple in question has been under the control of the department and the temple has been in receipt of the allowances from the Government and the Committee of Dharmadarshees had also been constituted from time to time by the State.8. In view of the fact that this temple in question had been declared as minor muzrai institution on 23.7.1970, it cannot be contended that the temple cannot be included under Section 23 of the aforesaid Act.9. It is also pertinent to notice here that the Secretary has recorded a finding that the said temple had been omitted from the list at the instance of an employee in the taluk office in order to favour Sri Ramesh, the convener of the petitioner-trust.10. The fact that the declaration of the temple as a minor muzrai institution in the year 1970, had remained unchallenged for more than three decades, is by itself, sufficient to hold the temple in question is indeed a Muzrai temple which deserves to be notified as institution U/s 23 of the aforesaid Act.11. In may view the petitioner which claims to be managing the Trust under a Deed of Trust dated 11.8.2004 cannot take upon itself the task of certifying whether the temple in question was in receipt of any revenue or grant from the State Government. The Trust, in my view, is disentitled to contend that the Government has no fiduciary control over this temple in the light of the finding of facts recorded by the 2nd and 3rd respondent.12. Another factor to be noticed is that the respondents 8 and 9 have filed statement of objections, in which documents are produced to show that the Government had been spending public revenue for maintenance of the temple. Further more, it may be noticed that the sworn statement given by one Ramesh in CC No.310/2000 is produced along with the said statement of objections. The said Ramesh is the one of the trustees of the petitioner-trust and he has stated during the course of his statement that he was a

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n employee of the Revenue Department for more than 30 years and he has further stated that the temple in question belongs to Muzrai department.13. In my view, the aforesaid documents and statement of Ramesh are more than sufficient to hold that the temple in question is required to be notified U/s 23 of the Act.14. Merely because the Petitioner-Trust raises objections and questions the contribution of the Government, it is cannot be held that the Temple was not required to be notified under S.23 of the Act. In my view, the Trust being created by a few devotees cannot maintain the writ petition as being representatives of the deity.15. I am therefore, of the view that there is no merit in the writ petition and the same is rejected.