Decided on March 23,1978

Sri Biswanath Dash Appellant
The Commissioner Of O.H.R. Endowments And Anr. Respondents


P.K. Mohanti, J. - (1.) CHALLENGE in this writ petition is to the older dated 16 -8 -1977 (Annexure -2) of the Commissioner of Endowments passed in Revision Case No. 8 of 1977.
(2.) THE Petitioner is a non -hereditary servant of the temple of Shri Satyabadi Gopinath Dev at Sakhigopal in the district of Puri On 15 -1 -1977 he was suspended from service by the Board of Trustees on the allegation that he had misappropriated 30 Gounis of paddy belonging to the deity. He preferred an appeal under Section 32(2) of the Orissa Hindu Religious Endowments Act, 1951 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act ') before the Assistant Commissioner of Endowments who set aside the order of suspension on the ground of violation of the principles of natural justice. Against the appellate order of the Asst. Commissioner a revisional application under Section 9 of the Act was preferred by the Executive Officer of the temple (opposite party No. 2) before the Commissioner of Endowments and it was registered as Revision Case No. 8 of 1977. The revision was allowed and the order of the Assistant Commissioner was set aside on the ground that under the provisions of the Scheme of Administration for the institution the appeal lay to the Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioner of Endowments bad no jurisdiction to entertain the same. The impugned order is challenged on the ground that the findings of the Commissioner are contrary to the provisions of Sub -section (2) of Section 32 of the Act. In the counter affidavit filed by the opposite party No. 2 it is contended that the order of suspension dated 15 -1 -1977 was an interim order made during the pendency of a disciplinary proceeding against the Petitioner and not in the nature of a penalty under Section 32(1) of the Act and as such the appeal preferred by the Petitioner under Section 32(2) of the Act was premature. It is also contended that the writ application has., become infructuous as the Petitioner tendered resignation from his post which was duly accepted by the Board of Trustees on 12 -11 -1977.
(3.) SINCE the determination of the main question raised in this writ application turns on the true interpretation of subsections (1) and (2) of Section 32 of the Act, it would be convenient at this stage to set out both the Sub -sections of that section witch read as follows: 32(1). All office -holders and servants attached to a religious institution or in receipt of any emolument or perquisite from the institution shall, whether the office or service is hereditary or not be, controlled by the trustee; and the trustee may fine, suspend, remove or dismiss any of them for breach of trust, incapacity, disobedience of orders, neglect of duty, misconduct or other sufficient cause. (2) Any office -holder or servant punished by a trustee under Sub -section (1), may, within one month from the date of the communication of the order to him, appeal to the Assistant Commissioner whose order shall be final. x x x;

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