Decided on October 27,1977

The Madras State Wakf Board By Its Secretary Appellant
Vellayan Chettiar And Ors. Respondents


A. Vardarajan, J. - (1.) The Madras State Wakf Board represented by its Secretary, the plaintiff in the 38 suits filed before the District Munsif, Tirumangalam for recovery of possession of the suit properties with past and future mesne profits who failed in both the Courts below on the question of the Civil Court's jurisdiction to entertain the suits is the appellant in these second appeals. The properties involved in O.S. No. 232 of 1968 out of which S.A. No. 271 of 1974 has arisen are situate in Ponmeni Village, Madurai Taluk. The properties involved in the other suits out of which the other appeals arise are situate in certain other villages in Nilakottai Taluk. The properties in the suits were admittedly minor Inams which were abolished by the Tamil Nadu Minor Inams (Abolition, and Conversion, into Ryotwari) Act, 1963 (Madras Act XXX of 1963) with effect from 15th February, 1965. The Wakf Act (XXIX of 1954), was passed by the Parliament to provide for the better administration and supervision of wakfs in the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. There is no dispute that this Act has come into force in this State on 15th January, 1955. Sec. 4(1) of that Act provides for the State Government by notification in the Official Gazette appointing a Commissioner of Wakfs and as many Additional or Assistant Commissioners as may be necessary for making a survey of the wakf properties existing in the State at the date of commencement of the Act, Under Sub -section (3) of Sec. 4 the Commissioner has power, after making such enquiry as may be considered necessary, to submit his report to the State Government containing the particulars mentioned in Clause (a) thereof. Under Sec. 5(1) of the Act, on receipt of a report under Sub -section (3) of Sec. 4, the State Government shall forward a copy thereof to the Board of Wakfs, establishment under Sub -section (1) or Sub -section (1 -A) of Sec. 9. Under Sec. 5(2) the Board shall examine the report and publish in the Official Gazette a list of wakfs containing such particulars as may be prescribed. The publication in these cases was made on 27th May, 1959. Under Sec. 6(1), if any question arises whether a particular property specified as wakf property in a list of wakfs published is wakf property or not or whether a wakf specified in such list is a Shiawakf or Sunni wakf, the Board or the Mutawalli of the wakf or any person interested therein may institute a suit in a Civil Court of competent jurisdiction for the decision of the question and the decision of the Civil Court in respect of such matter shall be final. According to the Proviso to Sec. 6(1) no such suit shall be entertained by the Civil Court after the expiry of one year from the date of the publication of the list of wakfs.
(2.) On the basis of the aforesaid notification dated 27th May, 1959, the suits for possession were filed by the appellant in these appeals. As already stated, the Inam was notified under Act XXX of 1963 on 15th February, 1965.
(3.) The defence was that the Notification was not binding on the respondents, that the suit properties were minor Inam properties governed by Act XXX of 1963 and that no civil suit lies in view of the Notification of the Inam under that Act. An issue relating to jurisdiction was framed in all the suits and it reads thus: Whether the Court of the District Munsif, Tirumangalam has no jurisdiction to entertain the suits?;

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