w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n


Sri Kakumani Audikesavulu Chetty's Charities, rep. by its President & Trustees & Others v/s Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple rep. by its Executive Officer Chennai & Another

    SECOND APPEAL NO. 51 OF 2006
    Decided On, 28 June 2012
    At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE T. RAJA
    For the Appellants: P.K. Sivasubramaniam, Advocate. For the Respondents: Hema Sampath, SC. for R1 - S.D. Ramalingam, R2 No appearance.


Judgment Text
(Prayer: Second Appeal filed under Section 100 CPC as against the judgment and decree dated 24.1.2005 on the file of the I Additional Judge, City Civil Court, Chennai in A.S.No.184/2004 confirming the judgment and decree dated 31.03.2003 on the file of the V Assistant Judge, City Civil Court, Chennai in O.S.No.320/1994.)

JUDGMENT

1. The present Second Appeal was brought by the unsuccessful plaintiffs-Sri Kakumani Audikesavulu Chetty's Charities, represented by its trustees against (i)Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, rep.by its Executive Officer, 48, Mulla Sahib Street, Chennai-600 079, the first defendant; and (ii)Sakunthala Devi, Proprietrix of Fomra Sales Corporation, the second defendant, tenant, against the judgment and decree dated 24.1.2005 on the file of the I Additional Judge, City Civil Court, Chennai in A.S.No.184/2004 confirming the judgment and decree dated 31.03.2003 of the V Assistant Judge, City Civil Court, Chennai in O.S.No.320/1994.

2. (i) The plaintiffs/appellants herein have filed the suit (i) for a declaration that the plaintiffs are entitled to be in Management and administration of the house and ground bearing Old Door No.57, New No.4, Narayana Mudali Street, Sowcarpet, Madras 79 which is described as Vasantha Mandapam by way of specific endowment attached to the 1st defendant temple;(ii)for a direction to the defendants 1 and 2 and its Officers to deliver the vacant possession of the property set out in the schedule in the plaint; (iii)for a permanent injunction restraining the defendants 1 and 2 and their agents from in any manner interfering with the peaceful possession and enjoyment of the suit property; and (iv)for payment of costs of the suit.

(ii) The claim of the plaintiffs/appellants is that the suit property Vasantha Mandapam and land bearing Old Door No.57, New Door No.4, Narayana Mudali street, Sowcarpet, Madras-79 lying around the Vasantha Mandapam originally belonged to Sri Kakumani Raghavalu Chetty who executed the registered document dated 14.3.1885, bearing Document No.550/1885 in the office of the Registrar of Madras, showing that the Vasantha Mandapam and the land have been dedicated to the deity of Sri Ranganathaswamy in the first defendant's temple for the performance of Andal Utsavam and also for other Utsavams. Further, it was averred in the plaint that the Mandapam was constructed by Sri Raghavalu Chetty and dedicated as a specific endowment attached to Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. The gift deed dated 14.3.1885 also has got a recital speaking that the Utsavams, Mandapa alangarams etc were being conducted by the founder-Raghavalu Chetty and his heirs. Whileso, Sri Raghavalu Chetty was performing the Andal Utsavam during his life time and after his death, his son Sri Kakumani Audikesavalu Chetty dedicated all his immovable properties in the City of Madras by his last will and testament dated 20.07.1913 duly probated in O.P.No.143/1913 on the file of the High Court of Judicature at Madras whereby the plaintiff trust was founded and they were directed to perform the Andal Utsavams and other Utsavams in Sri Ranganathaswamy temple Devasthanam. This is how the trustees of the specific endowment was created under the gift deed dated 14.3.1985 and the plaintiffs and the predecessors-in-office were in exclusive possession and enjoyment of the suit property from 1913. They have been performing the Andal Utsavam and other Utsavams by bringing the deity and keeping the same in the Vasantha Mandapam during Utsava period. The said Vasantha Mandapam is also known as "Vasantha Bungalow" and was enclosed by a compound wall on the road side and iron gates were installed in the front side and from the date of taking charge of all the trust property of the founder Sri Kakumani Audikesavulu Chetty, the trustees were in exclusive possession and enjoyment of the Vasantha Mandapam and making use of the same for Andal Utsavam and for other Utsavams in Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. In the will dated 20.07.1913 it is mentioned that a sum of Rs.3,000/- per annum should be paid for conducting the charities including the utsavam in Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. Accordingly, the trustees for the time being have been spending amounts on the increase scale of expenditure from year to year and during utsavam period, the deity was placed in Vasantha Mandapam, the utsavam was performed and after utsavam, the three rooms in the backside of the Vasantha Mandapam were being kept under the exclusive use and enjoyment of the plaintiffs and the front side mandapam along with the appurtenant land enclosed by compound wall on the road side with an iron gate was kept under lock and key by the plaintiff trust from the date of foundation of the trust till 14.7.1991.

(iii) It was further averred in the plaint that the Vasantha Mandapam was periodically maintained, repaired and whitewashed out of the trust funds by the plaintiffs and the same was being kept in their exclusive possession and enjoyment. While so, the General trustees of the 1st defendant temple were never in possession and enjoyment of the suit property, namely, Vasantha Mandapam situated in the premises bearing Old Door No.57, New Door No.4, Narayana Mudali Street, Madras 79. In this context, the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department under whose jurisdiction the Executive Officer of the first defendant temple was appointed to manage the same deputed the temple Tahsildar of H.R.&C.E.Department on 26.08.1977 to inspect the Vasantha Mandapam and he has also made a note that the property though dedicated to the deity, was under the management of the plaintiff institution. Thereafter, the then Executive Officer of the first defendant temple on 27.6.1979 requested the plaintiffs to vacate the said mandapam and handover the vacant possession. But no action was taken on the aforesaid letter dated 27.6.1979.

(iv) Further, it was averred in the plaint that the plaintiffs have also employed a Watchman and kept the Vasantha Mandapam under lock and key. In respect of the open vacant land in the front side of the Vasantha Mandapam, it was stated that the same was permitted to be used by the students of K.T.C.T. Girls' Higher Secondary School for congregational prayers and for physical training every day. On that basis a letter dated 11.3.1980 was addressed to the H.R.& C.E.Department requesting not to use the Vasantha Mandapam. But the Executive Officer of the first defendant colluded with the 2nd defendant indicating the 2nd defendant as a tenant by fabricating the lease deed to make it appear that the first defendant has let out the property to the second defendant on 1.7.1991 and also created further document that they received rent for the month of July 1991 in advance on 1.7.1991 and during the night hours of 14.7.1991. With this background during the night hours of 14.7.1991 the 2nd defendant assisted by the first defendant and also an unruly element, trespassed into the suit property and clandestenly unloaded electrical cables by unlawfully breaking open the locks in the front side gate and relocked the same and took unlawful possession of the Vasantha Mandapam much against the protest of the Watchman of the plaintiff trust. The Executive Officer and the 2nd defendant conceived the idea of taking possession and letting out the suit property to convert the same as godown for storing the electrical cables loaded in big roles. When there was objection by the plaintiffs, the 2nd defendant already filed a suit-O.S.No.4590/1991 for injunction against the plaintiffs. During the pendency of the suit, when I.A.No.13190/91 was filed by the plaintiff, the learned trial Court after holding enquiry various documents including the gift deed dated 14.3.1885, the letters dated 27.6.1979 and 11.3.1980 came to the conclusion that the second defendant was not entiled to have any injunction order against the plaintiffs and finally dismissed the suit for injunction filed by the 2nd defendant/tenant. The findings given in that suit by the trial court clearly simplifies the issue involved in the present suit whether the plaintiffs have got any right in the suit property. Therefore, the plaintiffs filed the suit praying for a declaration that the plaintiffs are entitled to management and administration of the suit property - Vasantha Mandapam by way specific endowment attached to the first defendant temple and for a direction to the defendants 1 and 2 to deliver vacant possession of the property and for permanent injunction restraining the defendants 1 and 2 from interfering with the peaceful possession and enjoyment of the suit property.

3.(i) The prayer of the plaintiffs/appellants was objected by the defendants/respondents contending that the suit filed by the plaintiffs/appellants is not maintainable for the reason that the suit property is not a specific endowment nor the same was managed by the trustees of the plaintiff. As per the gift deed dated 14.3.1885 made by Sri Kakumani Raghavalu Chetty, the suit property was absolutely donated to the first defendant temple including the right to maintain the Vasantha Mandapam and the subsequent will dated 20.7.1913 executed by Sri Kakumani Audikesavulu Chetty, the founder of the trust on 14.7.1991 mentioned therein that the expenses for the utsavams alone have to be paid by them separately. Further, it was also the case of the defendants that the suit property did not find place in the alleged will dated 20.7.1913 left by Sri Kakumani Audikesavulu Chetty under which the plaintiff trust was said to have been created. Though the suit property was in exclusive possession of the Devasthanam in the year 1913 and the descendants of Raghavalu Chetty were allowed to decorate the Mandapam and expenses for Mandapapadi was collected from them, the plaintiffs are nothing to do with the suit property.

(ii) The first defendant further denied the allegation that the plaintiffs have employed the watchman and the Vasantha Mandapam was kept under lock and key. It was further denied by the first defendant that the open vacant land was not permitted to be used by the K.T.C.T.Girls Higher Secondary School for prayers and physical training every day by the plaintiffs. The first defendant also averred that during the pendency of the suit in O.S.No.4590/1991, the defendants never broke open the locks of the roofs in the rear portion nor removed any furniture and other articles belonging to the trust. They also pleaded that the suit is barred by limitation since the first defendant dispossessed the plaintiff of the property on 14.7.1991. Therefore, the plaintiff is not entitled to restoration and management of the property. On that basis, the defendants pleaded that the plaintiff trust is not entitled to possession of the suit property and hence, the suit is liable to be dismissed, they prayed.

4. Under this background, the matter was taken up for trial by the trial Court. The trial Court, after framing as many as 10 isssues which are given as under

(i) Whether the suit property belonged to the plaintiff Trust?

(ii) Whether the suit property was in plaintiff Trust's long enjoyment?

(iii) Whether it is true that the suit property was all along maintained by the plaintiff Trust?

(iv) Whether it is correct that the right of administration of the suit property vests only with the 1st defendant?

(v) Whether the plaintiff is entitled for the relief of declaration?

(vi) Whether the plaintiff is entitled for the possession of the suit property from the first defendant?

(vii) Whether the court fee paid by the plaintiff is right?

(viii) Whether the plaintiff is entitled for the permanent injunction as prayed for?

(ix) Whether this suit is maintainable?

(x) What relief the plaintiff is entitled to?"

examined P.Ws.1 to 3, considered the documents marked as Exs.A1 to A21 and after analysing the evidence of the Executive Officer who was cited as D.W.1 and also considering the documentary evidence Ex.B1, came to the conclusion that the suit property is not a specific endowment holding that the suit property was absolutely given to the temple and therefore, the plaintiff is not entitled for possession of the suit property from the first defendant/first respondent by giving a reason that the suit filed on 04.1.1994 after expiry of six months from the date of dispossession viz., 14.7.1991 is barred by time under Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act 1963. For, when the plaintiff was aggrieved by dispossession of the suit property made by the defendants by entering into Vasantha Mandapam on 14.7.1991, no suit under Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act 1963 shall be brought after the expiry of 6 months against the Government. When the suit was filed on 4.1.1994 from the date of admitted dispossession on 14.7.1991, it was held that the suit was not maintainable, as the same should have been filed within 6 months from the date of dispossession. Therefore, the Trial Court refused the relief of permanent injunction.

5. Aggrieved by the dismissal of the suit when first appeal was filed before the learned first appellate court under Section 96 read with Order 41 Rule 31 CPC on the file of the Principal Judge, City Civil Court, Chennai, the learned first appellate Court also finding that the suit was filed belatedly beyond the period of limitation, confirmed the findings of the trial Court that the plaintiffs were not entitled to the recovery of possession and hence dismissed the appeal. Being aggrieved by the concurrent findings, the present Second Appeal has been filed.

6. This Court at the time of entertaining the Second Appeal framed the following substantial questions of law.

"1.Whether the suit filed by the appellants for declaration of their right to manage the property of a specific endowment in favour of the first respondent temple has been misunderstood by the learned Appellate Judge on the basis of dedication of the property in favour of the deity under Ex.A1 ?

2. Whether the learned Judge failed to consider that the suit for declaration, possession and injunction is not a suit under Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act ?

3. Whether the learned Judge failed to appreciate that the suit for recovery of possession is by Kattalai trustees of the vasantha mandapam under the possession and enjoyment by the Appellants from 1885 to 1991 has been totally overlooked in holding that the suit is barred by limitation under section 6 of the Specific Relief Act ?

4. Whether the learned Judge failed to consider that the suit relief for declaration, possession and injunction are reliefs contemplated under Section 5, 34 and 36 of the Specific Relief Act ?

5. Whether the second respondent has prevented the appellants from filing the suit for possession by obtaining interim injunction in O.S.No.4590 of 1991 on 15.7.1991 in respect of dispossession on 14.7.1991 and the injunction having been vacated on 3.4.1995, the period of interim injunction between 15.7.1991 to 3.4.1995 has got to be excluded under Section 15 of the Limitation Act ?"

7. (i) Mr.P.K.Sivasubramaniam, learned counsel for the plaintiffs/appellants stenuously contended that the donor Sri Kakumani Raghavalu Chetty having created a specific endowment under Ex.A.1 in respect of the suit property-Vasantha Mandapam, by a subsequent will-Ex.A.2, also created a trust to administer the specific endowment and from the date of execution of both Exs.A1 and A2 and as such, the plaintiff/appellant had been in continuous possession of the suit property till the temple authority unlawfully had dispossessed the said possession on 14.7.1991, hence the suit for restoration of possession even beyond six months from the date of possession is legally maintainable, as the suit property is a specific endowment, for which the period of limitation is three years.

(ii) The learned counsel further contended that the plaintiff/appellant is entitled to be in possession of the suit property and as the temple authorities had unlawfully dispossessed the plaintiff/appellant without seeking the recovery of possession by due process of law, the dispossession is illegal. Hence, the plaintiff/appellant is entitled to restoration of possession of the suit property.

(iii) Again the learned counsel submitted that when Sri Kakumani Raghavalu Chetty has created a specific endowment for the suit property, the title of the property need not be transferred to the donee-temple. However, the donor's son-Sri Kakumani Audikesavulu Chetty, in his will-Ex.A2 having created the plaintiff trust, various charitable activities including suit item, the plaintiff trust is entitled to management and administration of the suit property.

(iv) By relying on section 6(19) of the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1959 the learned counsel further pleaded that the suit property is only a specific endowment and therefore, the plaintiff trust has the right to manage the same.

8.(i) Opposing heavily the above contentions, Mrs.Hema Sampath, learned senior counsel appearing for the first defendant/first respondent contended that when the suit property was given to the temple absolutely under Ex.A1, the recitals in Ex.A1-gift deed clearly shows that the suit property has been donated to the temple including the right of management of the suit property by further adding in the gift deed that neither he nor his family members shall have any right whatsoever in the suit property as the suit property should be used only for temple purposes. Therefore, Ex.A1 clearly shows that Sri Kakumani Raghavalu Chetty had conveyed the suit property absolutely to the temple. It is pertinent to note that under Ex.A1, the donor did not even appoint any trustees or kattalaidarars.

(ii) The learned senior counsel further contended that as per Section 6(19) of the of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act 1959, "specific endowment" means any property or money endowed for the performance of any specific service or charity in a math or temple or for the performance of any other religious charity, but does not include an inam of the nature described in Explanation (1) to Clause (17). In the present case, clause 13(2) of the will specifically directs allocation of Rs.3,000/- per annum to meet the expenses of the various charities in the temple and clause 13(1) mentions about Rs.300/- per month for temple utsavam and these expenses are directed to be allocated out of the income from their properties other than the suit property. Therefore, she pleaded it is not open to the plaintiff/appellant to claim that the suit property is a specific endowment.

(iii) Adding further, the learned senior counsel again submitted that when it is the admitted case by the plaintiff/appellant that the suit property was dispossessed from their possession on 14.7.1991, as per section 6 of the Specific Relief Act for recovery of possession, the suit should have been filed within six months from the date of dispossession. Since the suit was filed only in the year 1994, both the Courts below have rightly held that the remedy sought for by the plaintiff is lost by limitation. On this basis, the learned senior counsel further contended that the plaintiffs are not entitled to recovery of possession for the simple reason the suit is not maintainable in view of section 6 of the Specific Relief Act.

9. Heard Mr.P.K.Sivasubramaniam, learned counsel for the appellant and the Mrs.Hema Sampath, learned senior counsel appearing for respondent No.1. None appears for the respondent No.2.

10.(i) In regard to the first issue whether the suit property is a specific endowment and whether the plaintiff has got a right to possess and administer the suit property, the learned trial court by analying the two crucial documents, namely, (i) Ex.A.1-gift deed dated 14.3.1885 and (ii) Ex.A.2-will dated 20.7.1913 came to the conclusion that the plaintiff is not entitled to the right of management and administration of the suit property, namely, Vasantha Mandapam by way of specific endowment, attached to the first defendant temple. The reason given was found in the gift deed-Ex.A1 and will-Ex.A2. The last will and testament of Sri Kakumani Audikesavulu Chetty dated 20.7.1913 clearly mentions what are his properties given away to various persons. The house bearing No.51, Narayana Mudally street was given for the purpose of using for Patasala. House No.50, Narayana Mudally Street was also given for Padasala and the expenses to be incurred for the said Padasala was also directed to be met out of the income to be received from the market which he had got in Wall Tax Road. House No.I, Cope Venkatachella Iyer Street was given to Samarthi Parthasarathy Chetty, Venkatesaperumal Chetty and Venkata Vijayaraghavulu Chetty. Therefore, it is specifically mentioned that they will enjoy that house subject to the right of maintenance now subsisting on that house. The aforesaid 3 persons shall enjoy that house in equal shares as tenants-in-common. Another house No.45, Strotten Muthia street, was given to Magi Chetty Ramaswamy Chetty. House No.49, Narayana Mudally Street in which he lived was given for the trustees to keep records and hold meetings and the rooms occupied by the tenants were given to his mother and wife to be used equally. After the death of his mother and wife, the said house was directed to be used by Komatis for marriages without any rent. From this allocation of the properties in the said will it can be seen that the Vasantha Mandapam was not mentioned. The reason being, even before executing his last will and testament dated 20.7.1913, Sri Kakumani Raghavalu Chetty had already executed a gift deed Ex.A.1 dated 14.3.1885. It is for this reason that the suit property-Vasantha Mandapam was already gifted to Sri Ranganathaswamy temple on 27.12.1984 as per Certificate No.672 that was presented to the Madras Deputy Collector's Court along with the documents relating to the said Vasantha Mandapam. A Will of Gift is executed to alter the ordinary mode of succession. If a person intends his property to pass on to his natural heirs, there is no necessity at all of executing a Will. It is also true that a propounder of the Will has to remove all suspicious circumstances. Suspicion means doubt, conjecture or mistrust. A Will is an instrument by which a person makes a disposition of his property to take effect after his decease, and which is in its own nature ambulatory and revocable during his life. The Apex Court in Uma Devi Nambiar and others v. T.C.Sidhan (dead) ((2004) 2 SCC 321) had delineated the well established principles of interpretation of Will as follows:

(1) In construing a document whether in English or in vernacular, the fundamental rule is to ascertain the intention from the words used; the surrounding circumstances are to be considered; but that is only for the purpose of finding out the intended meaning of the words which have actually been employed.

(2) In construing the language of the Will the Court is entitled to put itself into the testator's armchair and is bound to bear in mind also other matters than merely the words used. It must consider the surrounding circumstances, the position of the testator, his family relationship the probability that he would use words in a particular sense. But all this is solely as an aid to arriving at a right construction of the Will and to ascertain the meaning of its language when used by that particular testator in that document.

(3) The true intention of the testator has to be gathered not by attaching importance in isolated expressions but by reading the Will as a whole with all its provisions and ignoring none of them as redundant or contradictory.

(4) The Court must accept, if possible such construction as would give to every expression some effect rather than that which would render any of the expressions inoperative. The Court will look at the circumstances under which the testator makes his Will, such as the state of his property of his family and the like. Where apparently conflicting dispositions can be reconciled by giving full effect to every word used in a document, such a construction should be accepted instead of a construction which would have the effect of cutting down the clear meaning of the words used by the testator. Further where one of the two reasonable constructions would lead to intestacy, that should be discarded in favour of a construction which does not create any such hiatus.

(5) To the extent that it is legally possible, effect should be given to every disposition contained in the Will unless the law prevents effect being given to it. Of course, if there are two repugnant provisions conferring successive interests, if the first interest created is valid the subsequent interest cannot take effect but a Court of construction will proceed to the farthest extent to avoid repugnancy so that effect could be given as far as possible to every testamentary intention contained in the Will.

By keeping the above established principles of interpretation laid down by the Apex Court if a careful reading is given to the Gift Deed-Ex.A1 intension of the donor clearly goes to show that the donor had donated the suit property to the temple-first defendant, including the right to maintain the Mandapam.The relevant portion of the gift deed as translated by the Official translator of this Court is given as under:

"I donate the Mandapam, situated opposite to my house, bearing Door No:57, at Narayana Mudali street, Peddinayakkanpettai to Sri Ranganada Swamy, the main deity of the temple, situated at Peddinayakkanpettai, Police-2nd street for "Vasantha Urchavam" and "Andal Urchavam:,. Its land was purchased for Rs.1625/- on the 2nd day of December 1884 and it was registered as certificate No.672, before the Deputy Collectyor, Madras, on the 12th day of December 1884. Since I have donated the aforesaid land, the parent documents xxxxxxxxxx(illegible). Hereafter, you shall maintain the Mandapam. I, myself, shall take care of the expenses for the "Mandapa padi" and decoration of the "Mandapam". Hereafter, myself or any of my family members, do not have any right over the aforesaid Mandapam. The aforesaid Mandapam shall be used only for the Temple purpose. Other than this, the aforesaid "Dharmakartas" do not have any authority to subject it to any encumbrance such as sale, mortgage, gift etc., During my lifetime, myself and my son Adhikesavalu Chetty shall enjoy the respect of :Mandapa padi", garland and fulfill the aforesaid duties from generation to generation. I shall also bear the expenses for "Vasantha Urchavam" and "Andal Urchavam" and xxxxx(illegible) charities in Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple."

The recitals in the gift deed, namely, "Hereafter, you shall maintain the Mandapam. I, myself, shall take care of the expenses for the "Mandapa padi" and decoration of the Mandapam" clearly shows that even the right of maintenance of the Vasantha Mandapam-suit property was also given to the temple only. In the said gift deed it was made further clear that Sri Kakumani Raghavalu Chetty had agreed to spend for mandapapadi expenses and decoration etc. While doing so, Sri Kakumani Raghavalu Chetty also made his intention very clear therein that neither he, the executor-Sri Kakumani Audikesavulu Chetty nor his descendants and family members shall have any right, whatsoever, in Vasantha Mandapam. Further, two more wishes of the Sri Kakumani Audikesavalu Chetty can be found in his Gift. As per the gift deed dated 14.3.1885 the deity of Lord Ranganathaswamy during the festival season while going on procession should be kept in the suit property-Vasantha Mandapam, i.e., during Vasantha Utsavam and on these days Sri Kakumani Raghavalu Chetty and subsequent to his death, his sons shall be honoured by the trustees of the temple by presenting garland and the same will continue from generation to generation. Further, he has also directed that the above mentioned temple shall use the property for the benefit of the temple, but should not be misused for any other purpose. In fact, after the gift deed was prepared, the same was also presented in the Madras Deputy Collector's Court on 27.12.1984 as per Certificate No.672. Therefore, a clear reading of the gift deed-Ex.A1 proved beyond controversy that the suit property Vasantha Mandapam was intended to be given absolutely to Sri Ranganathaswamy temple and after the gift, neither Sri Kakumani Raghavalu Chetty nor his family members have got any right of maintenance over the suit property except the right of honour and respect to be given by the trustees of the temple to Sri Kakumani Raghavalu Chetty during his life time and subsequent to his death, to his sons, during all utsavams, namely, festival time as it was admitted by the defendants in the written statement. If this is the position of the case it will be far from truth to accept the case of the plaintiffs that the plaintiffs have the specific endowment by which they have got the right to manage the suit property. When the last wishes of Sri Kakumani Raghavalu Chetty which are found in the gift deed, still even now, speak clearly in one voice that the suit property was gifted to Sri Ranganathaswamy temple without any right whatsoever, to the donor or his family members except the right of honour and respect during utsavams, the findings by both the courts below that the plaintiffs have not created any specific endowment needs to be confirmed. Therefore, it is made clear that the plaintiff trust is not entitled to the right of management and administration of the suit property-Vasantha Mandapam by way of specific endowment attached to the first defendant temple.

(ii)Even section 6(19) of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act 1959 clearly means what is specific endowment. Section 6(19) of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1959 is extracted as under:

"specific endowment" means any property or money endowed for the performance of any specific service or charity in a math or temple or for the performance of any other religious charity, but does not include an inam of the natre described in Explanation (1) to Clause (17);

Explanation.(1)-two or more endowments of the nature specified in this clause, the administration of which is vested in a common trustee, or which are managed under a common scheme settled or deemed to have been settled under this Act, shall be construed as a single specific endowment for the purposes of this Act;

Explanation.(2)-Where a specific endowment attached to a math or temple is situated partly within the State and partly outside the State, control shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of this Act over the part of the specific endowment situated within the State;

A mere reading of the above definition clearly shows that any property or money endowed for the purpose of any specific service in a temple will be specific endowment. But, the recitals in the gift deed-Ex.A.1 dated 14.3.1885 makes it clear that neither Sri Kakumani Raghavalu Chetty nor his family members shall have any right in the suit property, it goes without saying that it is not a specific endowment as the suit property is already gifted to Sri Ranganathaswamy temple. Accordingly, the first substantial question of law is answered against the plaintiffs/appellants.

(iii) In respect of substantial questions of law Nos.2, 3 and 4 it has to be seen whether the suit filed by the plaintiffs/appellants beyond the expiry of 6 months from the date of dispossession against the Government is barred by time or not. Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act 1963 says that if any person is dispossessed without his consent of any immovable property otherwise than in due course of law, he may file his suit to recover possession thereof within six months from the date of dispossession. Therefore, it is not out of context to read section 6 of the Specific Relief Act 1963 and the same is extracted hereunder:

"Suit by person dispossessed of immovable property.- (1) If any person is dispossessed without his consent of immovable property otherwise than in due course of law, he or any person claiming through him may, by suit, recover possession thereof, notwithstanding any other title that may be set up in such suit.

(2) No suit under this section shall be brought-

(a)after the expiry of six months from the date of dispossession; or

(b) against the Government.

(3)No appeal shall lie from any order or decree passed in any suit instituted under this section, nor shall any review of any such order or decree be allowed.

(4)Nothing in this section shall bar any person from suing to establish his title to such property and to recover possession thereof."


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/>A careful reading of the above section shows that when the plaintiff was dispossessed from the suit property by the defendant on 14/7/1991, admittedly, the suit-O.S.No.320/1994 was filed only on 4.1.1994. As I have already held that the suit property is not a specific endowment for the reason that under Ex.A.1-gift deed dated 14.3.1885 when Sri Kakumani Raghavalu Chetty had conveyed the property absolutely to the temple by making a specific recital against himself and his family members that neither he nor his descendants will have any right in the suit property, he himself divested of his right in the property in favour of Sri Ranghanathaswamy temple. Further, the donor, namely, Sri Kakumani Raghavalu Chetty did not appoint any trustees and it further makes it clear that he has gifted the property only to the temple-Sri Ranganathaswamy temple absolutely and the property was conveyed to the temple alone. Hence, in view section 6 of the Specific Relief Act, six months' time from the date of dispossession alone will apply for filing the suit for recovery of possession, whereas, the plaintiff has filed the suit beyond six months' time, hence in view of section 6 of the Specific Relief Act, the remedy is last by limitation. Accordingly, the plaintiffs/appellants are not entitled to declaration and the consequential reliefs of recovery of possession and injunction on the basis of Sections 5, 34 and 36 of the said Act. Consequently, the substantial questions of law Nos.2,3 and 4 are answered against the plaintiff/appellant. (iv) In respect of the last substantial question of law No.5, it was argued by the learned counsel appearing for the appellants that when the plaintiff/appellant was dispossessed from the suit property on 14/7/1991, the second defendant/second respondent had already filed a suit O.S.No.4590/1991 on the file of the V Assistant City Civil Court, Madras. On 15.7.1991 the trial Court has granted injunction. But the said injunction got vacated on 03.4.1995. Therefore, the period of interim injunction granted against the plaintiff in a suit filed by tenant-second defendant, of the first defendant temple between 15.7.1991 and 03.4.1995 has got to be excluded under Section 15 of the Limitation Act 1963, is nothing to do with the exclusion of time for filing the present suit, for the reason that when the first defendant-Sri Ranganathaswamy temple has not filed any suit against the plaintiff, this court fails to find any good reason for not filing the present suit by the plaintiffs/appellants against the first defendant-Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple within the period of limitation, namely, within 6 months from the date of dispossession. Therefore, the suit filed by the second defendant is nothing to do with the exclusion of limitation. Accordingly, the last substantial question of law No.5 is also answered against the plaintiff/appellant. 11. In view of the foregoing reasons, as Ex.A1-Gift deed has conveyed the suit property absolutely in favour of the first defendant-Sri Ranganathaswamy temple and the donor Sri Kakumani Raghavalu Chetty himself had divested his and his descendants' right in favour of the first defendant-Sri Ranganathaswamy temple, by donating the suit property by specifically mentioning that the temple shall maintain the Mandapam, he and his descendants will not have any right in the Vasantha Mandapam-the suit property, except the right of honour and respect to his sons during the period of utsavams, when the deity is visiting the suit property- Vasantha Mandapam. 12. For the aforesaid reasons, this Second Appeal is dismissed. The judgments of the courts below are confirmed. No costs.
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