(1.) .This is a reference made by the Sessions Judge, West Godavari, recommending that the order of the First Additional District Munsif-Magistrate, Kowur, dated nth May, 1960, in Criminal M.P. No. 194 of 1959 be set aside and that an order under section 87 of the Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act be issued by this Court in favour of the Managing Trustee of a temple.
(2.) In the village of Kanya Kumudavalli, there is a temple called Sri Kanchi Kamakshiammavari temple. Ramayanam Chitti Abboyi, as managing trustee of the temple, filed a petition under section 87 of the Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act (XIX of 1951), hereinafter referred to as 'the Act ' praying for delivery of properties, consisting of four items of land. Along with the petition, the petitioner filed a certificate issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments, which was to the effect that the lands in dispute belonged to the temple. Respondents i to 3 remained ex parte. Respondents 4 to 7 raised various contentions. The learned Munsif-Magistrate framed four points for decision as follows : " 1. Whether the petition schedule lands do not belong to the Kanchi Kamakshiammavari temple ? 8. Whether the landlords of Respondents 4 to 7 are necessary parties to this petition ? 3. Whether the said landlords are still rendering services to temple and hence entitled to be in possession ? 4. Whether section 87 of the Act has no application to the present case ? " On Point No. 1 the learned Magistrate answered it in the affirmative. He pointed out that even the fourth respondent, as R.W. 3, admitted in cross-examination that the lands belonged to the deity and that Exhibit P-6, the certified extract of the Inam Fair Register, clearly showed that Items 2 to 4 of the lands belonged to the temple. On Point No. 2 he held that the landlords of Respondents 4 to 7 were not necessary parties as they had already been made parties to proceedings before the Deputy Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments, Masulipatam. On Point No. 3 he held that though the lands belonged to the tempk, those lands were granted as service inams to Respondents i, 2 and the landlords of Respondents 4 to 7 and that the petitioner failed to prove that the landlords of Respondents 4 to 7, who had to perform services, were not performing their services regularly and that, therefore, Respondents i, 2, and 4 to 7 were entitled to be in possession of the petition schedule lands. On Point No. 4 he held that section 87 of the Act applied to the present case. The petitioner filed Criminal R.P. No. 17 of 1960 before the learned Sessions Judge, West Godavari. The latter observed as follows : " Now the point is whether the Magistrate could refuse to direct delivery of properties to the petitioner in spite of the mandatory provisions of section 87 that the Magistrate shall direct delivery on production of a certificate from the Deputy Commssioner." He held that the order of the learned Munsif-Magistrate was clearly incorrect and. untenable for various reasons and accordingly made reference to this Court, with the recommendation already referred to above.
(3.) As regards title to the lands (Items 1 to 4), the Munsif-Magistrate himself has found on the evidence as well as the clinching admission of R. W. 3 that the. petition schedule lands belonged to the temple (deity). Further, there is the presumption contained in the Second Proviso to section 87 of the Act which provides that for the purpose of proceedings under section 87, the certificate issued by the Commissioner shall be conclusive evidence that the properties to which it relates belong to the religious institution. It is, therefore, clear that all the four items of land certainly belonged to the temple (deity). Item I consists of Northern half and Southern half. As pointed out by the learned Sessions Judge and as is clear from the evidence, none of the respondents claimed any interest in the Southern half of Item I. Consequently, the learned Munsif-Magistrate was certainly wrong in refusing delivery regarding this Southern half of Item i. In any case, delivery of this half has to be ordered. As regards the Northern half, the case of the respondents was that it belonged to Relangi Rajalingam, Birudukota Sarvesalingam and minor Birudukota Ramayya alias Hamalingam. Sarvesalingam and his brother Ramayya executed registered leases of Eastern half of this Northern half in favour of the fifth respondent by a document (Exhibit D-1), dated a6th January, 1955, for a period of six years. The Western half of this Northern half was leased by Relangi Chittamma by a registered lease deed (Exhibit D-a), dated a6th January, 1955, for a period of six years in favour of the fifth respondent. On aoth May, 1956, Relangi Rajalingam leased the entire Northern half of Item i to the fourth respondent for five years by a deed (Exhibit D-3). Thus, in effect, the fifth respondent was the lessee for six years on two separate lease deeds, dated a6th January, 1955 and the fourth respondent was the lessee of this entire Northern half by another lease deed, dated 20th May, 1956, for five years.;