Decided on November 22,1938



- (1.)At Kasbe Mirajgaon in the District of Ahmednagar there is a devasthan of Shri Gopal Krishna Maharaj belonging to the family of the respondent. The respondent Vishnu had two brothers, Maharudra and Ramkrishna. Ramkrishna filed suit No. 271 of 1881 in the Court of the First Class Subordinate Judge of Poona for a partition of the family property, and the decree in that suit provided that the property endowed to the deity and its management were vested in the family, that their vahiwatdars were not competent to alienate it in any way and that the vahiwat should be made by the three brothers by annual turns. Maharudra died in 1889 when it was his turn to make the vahiwat and after his death his widow Prayagbai was in vahiwat during his turn. She died without any male issue and the appellant, who is the son of her daughter, is her heir. When his turn of vahiwat came, he filed this darkhast to execute the partition decree against the respondent and claimed the right of vahiwat. The respondent contended that as he belonged to a different family, he had no right to inherit the vahiwat or the management of the property of the family deity. The lower Court upheld the contention and dismissed the darkhast on the strength of the principle laid down in the ruling in Ranchhod v. Bai Jayanti, (1925) 28 Bom. L.R. 463. That was a case of a private deity where certain property1 was granted in inam to the deity and the management was vested in a family,the vahiwatdar not being competent to alienate it, and it was held that the vahiwat in the grant was meant to be assigned to the family of the grantee, and the moment any descendent passed out of the family, as for example by adoption or by marriage, the right ipso facto ceased. It was not contended that females were debarred from exercising the right to the property or the right to the vahiwat of the property of the devasthan ; but if the intention of the grantor was to keep the vahiwat in the family, then the females who left the family and their descendants could not claim to become vahiwatdars by inheritance. It is, however, pointed out that the decree under execution in this case specifically provides in paragraph 8 that Vishnu Sakharam Naik and Vinayak Vithal Naik, who are strangers to the family, should keep supervision as to whether or not the plaintiff and the defendants in that suit incur expenses as agreed and whether or not they properly maintain and manage the devasthan property and that in case they mismanage the devasthan and do not incur the necessary expense, then the whole of the property of the devasthan should be taken from their possession and that the aforesaid two persons should go on incurring the expenses according to the list of the devasthan expenses annexed to the application. This contemplates that a stranger to the family was competent under certain circumstances to manage the devasthan and perform the worship and hence the inference which was drawn from the condition of inalienability in the case of Rmchhod v. Bai Jayanti should not be drawn from the wording of the decree under execution. But the appellant claims to inherit the property as of right even though the members of the family have not been guilty of mismanagement. The contingency contemplated in paragraph 8 of the decree has not arisen and even in that case the two persons named have a right to supervise and see that the property is properly managed. This does not come in the way of the inference to be drawn from the condition of inalienability laid down in paragraph 7 of the decree. There is hardly any distinction between the facts in the case of Ranchhod v. Bai Jayanti and this case, and I hold that the appellant is not entitled to inherit the management of the deity and the devasthan property.
(2.)The appeal is, therefore, dismissed with costs.

Click here to view full judgement.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.