KANNAGANTI SURYANARAYANAMURTHI AND ORS. Vs. PIDUGU RAMA RAO AND ANR.
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
Kannaganti Suryanarayanamurthi And Ors.
Pidugu Rama Rao And Anr.
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Chandra Reddi, J. -
(1.) THE respondents herein filed a suit in the Court of the District Munsif of Tenali for a declaration that they have exclusive right to hold the lighted torch, Sannidhikola inside the Chariot during the Radhotsavam of Sri Agastheswara Swami at Nandivelugu and for a permanent injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with their right. The basis of the suit was that, ever since the inauguration of the car festival, the ancestors of the plaintiffs & the plaintiffs have been exercising exclusive right of holding the lighted torch inside the chariot and that this right was being exercised till they were obstructed by the defendants in the year of 1945.
(2.) THE suit was resisted by the defendants. Who are the trustees of the temple mainly on two grounds. The exclusive right of the plaintiffs to hold the Sannidhikola was denied; and it was also pleaded that the suit was not cognisable by a civil Court as the right claimed related only to a religious honour or dignity. The trial Court, while holding that the plaintiffs have proved their exclusive right to hold the lighted torch, though for a few years before the institution of the suit they did not exercise this right, dismissed the suit on the ground that the right claimed by them was a mere religious honour and, as such, could not be enforced in a civil Court. On appeal, the Subordinate Judge, while confirming the judgment of the Court of the first instance with regard to the right of the plaintiff to hold the lighted torch, reversed it on the point whether the right claimed was not cognisable by a civil Court. In the opinion of the lower appellate Court, the right to hold the lighted torch can be deemed to be attached to a service or an office and that it was, in any event, a mode of worship, which could be enforced through a Court of law. In the result, he decreed the suit.
(3.) THE defendants, who are dissatisfied with this judgment of the Subordinate Judge, have preferred this second appeal. In this appeal, the conclusion of the learned Subordinate Judge is challenged by Mr. Sankar Rao for the appellants as being erroneous. He urges that the view of the lower appellate Court that the right to hold the lighted torch inside the chariot is one that is attached to a service or an office is not correct and secondly that the lower appellate Court erred in holding that it was a mode of worship when the plaintiffs did not seek to enforce the right as a mode of worship.;
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