Decided on August 31,1944

Rao Bahadur S.A.S. Rm. Ramanathan Chettiar Appellant
M.P. Palaniappa Chettiar And Ors. Respondents


Patanjali Sastri, J. - (1.) THIS is an appeal from the judgment and decree of the Court of the District Judge of South Arcot dismissing with costs a suit brought by the appellant under Section 73 of the Madras Hindu Religious Endowments Act (II of 1927) for the removal of the respondents and two other members of their family, since deceased, from the trusteeship of a temple known as Sri Elamaiyakkinar temple situated at Chidambaram, for the appointment of a proper trustee and for an account of the respondents' management of the temple properties. The appellant alleged in his plaint various acts of misfeasance and malfeasance and misappropriation of trust moneys by the respondents' family in the course of their management, as grounds for the reliefs sought. The respondents pleaded, inter alia, that the appellant was not a " person having interest" in the temple within the meaning of the Act referred to above and was therefore not entitled to sue, that the temple owned only about one acre of nanja land in cusba Chidambaram, which fetched an annual rent of about 15 to 20 kalams of paddy, that it had no other source of income, that the temple was maintained only by the private munificence of the respondents and that they were not accountable. The respondents also denied the allegations of mismanagement and breaches of trust and claimed to be the hereditary trustees of the temple not liable to be removed. The Court below held that the appellant was not entitled to sue as a person having interest in the temple and that he had failed to prove that the respondents or any of them committed any of the acts of misfeasance or malfeasance alleged in the plaint, and dismissed the suit.
(2.) AT the previous hearing of the appeal this Court held that the appellant came within the definition of a "person having interest" in Section 9, Sub -section 9, of the aforesaid Act and was thus entitled to sue and, finding that the trial was neither complete nor satisfactory, set aside the dismissal of the suit and referred the case back to the lower Court for trial on the following issues : (?) Whether any amounts or properties have been dedicated in trust to the navarathri kattalai, deepa kattalai and uchikala kattalai and are in the hands of the defendants, (ii) Whether any fund or property has been dedicated to the pooja paditharam and is in the hands of the defendants. (iii) Whether any Immovable properties other than the admitted extent of one acre and odd have been dedicated to the temple and are in the hands of the defendants. (iv) Whether there has been any breach of trust by the defendants in respect of the above funds or properties. Both parties were permitted to adduce additional evidence on these issues. The learned Judge having submitted his findings after an elaborate trial, the appeal comes on for further hearing and disposal. It is common ground that the temple in question is an " excepted temple " as that term is defined in Section 9, Sub -section 5 of the said Act and that the respondents' family are the hereditary trustees thereof. It is also common ground that the family carried out extensive renovations and repairs to the temple premises spending large sums of money for the purpose, though the source of the money is a matter of dispute between the parties; the appellant alleging that the bulk, if not the whole of it, consisted of subscriptions collected from the public, while the respondents alleged that practically all the money came out of their own family funds. It is also not seriously disputed that the respondents have throughout been conducting the customary services and festivals in the temple in accordance with mamool and that the temple has been greatly benefited by their management.
(3.) THE following pedigree shows the relationship of the respondents to one another and the persons who have been in management of the temple on behalf of the family from time to time (marked by the letter "M" annexed to their names). Periakaruppan Chetti | ______________________________________________________________ | | Meyyappa Palaniappa | | Nagappa | __________|_____________ ________________|__________ | | | | Meyyappa (M) Chidambara d. (M) Chinnayya (M) Subramanya | | d. 1901. d. 1907 Meyyappa | | | | | | | Ramanadha | | | (defendant 5) _______________ ______________ _________________ | | | | | | Somasundara Nagappa (M) Palaniappa Kasi Malayandi Pichakutti (deft.3)d. (deft.4)d. (1st deft.) (2nd deft.) (deft. 6) (deft. 7) | d. 1940. | Chidambara (adopted) (deft. 8) added as legal representative of deft. 4.;

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