RAGHUBAR RAMANUJA DAS Vs. COMMISSIONER OF ENDOWMENTS
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
RAGHUBAR RAMANUJA DAS
COMMISSIONER OF ENDOWMENTS
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S.K.Ray, C.J. -
(1.) The petitioner is the Mahant and hereditary trustee of Biranchi Narayan Math alias Buguda Math at Buguda, District Ganjam. Opposite party No. 1 who is the Commissioner of Endowments initiated a suo motu proceeding under Section 35 of the Orissa Hindu Religious Endowments Act, 1951 (hereinafter called the Act) as per Annexure-1 dated 4-10-1977, This proceeding was occasioned in consequence of allegations made by members of general public against the petitioner. By Annexure-1 the Commissioner of Endowments framed three charges and called upon the petitioner to show cause as to why he shall not be disqualified and shall not cease to hold office.
(2.) During the pendency of this proceeding under Section 35 of the Act the opposite party No. 1 issued the impugned Annexure-2 in purported exercise of his powers under Section 7 of the Act, whereunder the Inspector of Endowments was appointed as an interim trustee of the religious institution in question and its properties until further orders. Opposite party No. 1 in his counter has stated that the expression 'interim trustee' in Annexure-2 has been inappropriately used and what was intended by Annexure-2 was to appoint the Inspector of Endowments as a fit person to look after the management of the institution pending finalisation of the proceeding under Section 35 of the Act. In view of this counter, the expression 'a fit person' has to be read in place of 'interim trustee' in Annexure-2 while considering the challenge made to its legality and propriety. The religious functions of the institution, however, have been allowed to be retained by the petitioner. This annexure has further directed the Inspector of Endowments to take charge of the institution and its properties from the petitioner and to manage the institution subject to the duties and functions of the petitioner which have been expressly left with him. Consequent to Annexure-2 the Divisional Inspector of Endowments, Berhampur who is the opposite party No. 2 issued Annexure-3 dated 25-12-1977 which Is a general notice to the public purporting to be issued under Section 42 (5) of the Act for the purpose of appointing a fit person to discharge any of the functions of the trustee of the institution in question.
(3.) The petitioner has sought for quashing Annexure-2 and for staying further proceedings thereunder as well as under Annexure-3. As appears from para 8 of the counter of opposite party No. 1, Annexure-3 has been conceded to be invalid and that it should be ignored. The only question which, therefore, remains for consideration is whether Annexure-2 is to be quashed. The sole contention of the petitioner is that Section 7 of the Act does not empower the Commissioner of Endowments to issue the interim order as contained in Annexure-2 in view of other express provisions of the Act specifically empowering the Commissioner to appoint an interim trustee or a fit person, as the case may be to manage the institution.;
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