S B S PARAKAL MUTT Vs. DEPUTY COMMISSIONER ENDOWMENTS
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
BRAHMATANTRA SWATANTRA PARAKAL MUTT
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF ENDOWMENTS, ANDHRA PRADESH, HYDERABAD
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Y.Bhaskar Rao, J. -
(1.)The plaintiff-Mutt is the appellant. The suit is filed for a declaration that the plaintiff-mutt is a private religious institution not subject to control and management by the endowments department and for setting aside the order dated 24-9-76 of the Dy.Commissioner of Endowments holding that the plaintiff-Mutt is a Hindu Public Religious Institution within the meaning of the definition given under Section 2(22) of the A.P. Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 17 of 1966.
(2.)The facts of the case in brief are: Srimad Abhinava Ranganatha Mandiram at Hindupur is a religious institution and a branch of the plaintiff-Mutt. During 1961 Sri Swamiji of the plaintiff-Mutt was proceeding on a tour and visited the Hindupur Mutt en route. The Swamiji having found that a large number of disciples of the Hindupur Mutt are interested in religious discourses and there was no proper place for their congregation felt the need for construction of a mandiram and accordingly gifted the Padakanukas and nominated some of the disciples to proceed ahead with the construction. Pursuantly the Mandiram was constructed by 1966. Swamiji also visited the Mandiram and sanctified it. He also declared it to be a branch of Parakala Mutt. The Swamiji named the mandiram as 'Srimad Abhinava Ranganatha Mandiram'. The disciples also unequivocally declared the Mandiram to be a branch of Parakala Mutt of Mysore. The disciples have also accepted at the instance of Swamiji to run the plaintiff-Mutt independent of Parakala Mutt control. These facts were also reduced into writing on 13-2-1966 as a declaration signed by the disciples. The Mandiram is established for propagation and spread of Visishta Advaita Philosophy and as an appurtenant to Parakala Mutt. The Swamiji nominates five members among the local disciples from time to time for the management of the Mandiram. The Mandiram is maintained by the rents received from the two shops attached thereto. The Mandiram contains the Padukas of Swamiji and photos of Lakshmi, Hygreeva, Sri Rama, Andal, etc. and does not contain any of the characteristics of a public temple, such as Prakaram, Dwajastambham, Bali peetam, etc. The main Parakala Mutt has been recognised as a major institution by the Government of Karnataka and is exempt from registration under any statute in force in Mysore in respect of Religious and Charitable Institutions. The plaintiff-Mutt is always treated as a private religious institution and there is no dedication of any properties for public purposes. Padukaradhana will be conducted during morning and evening hours and Bhajans and religious discourses are held as Kalakshepam during Dhanur-masam. The Mutt is held as a place of congregation for advocating the tenets of Sri Visishta Advaita Philosophy and not as a public or religious institution. So much so, no part of public funds are utilised for the up-keep and maintenance of the mandiram and that the mandiram is not a religious institution falling within the ambit of the provisions of the A.P. Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1966. While so, on 22-9-1972 the Asst. Commissioner of the Endowments Department issued a notice calling upon the plaintiff-Mutt to register it under Section 38 of the Endowments Act, 1966. Pursuantly at the instance of the plaintiff-Mutt the Joint Commissioner directed that the plaintiff has to place the controversy before the Deputy Commissioner Kurnool. Accordingly the plaintiff filed a petition, O.A.31/73, before the Dy. Commissioner, who through his orders dated 24-9-76 declared the plaintiff institution to be a public religious institution within the meaning of Section 2(22) of the Endowments Act. It is in the wake of this order the institution filed the present suit.
(3.)The first defendant Dy. Commissioner filed a written statement stating that the plea that the plaintiff-Mutt is a branch of Parakala Mutt is not true, that the averment that in 1961 at the suggestion of Swamiji the idea of constructing the mandiram came to be considered could not be correct since even long prior to 1961 the site was purchased, that even assuming that the Swamiji made over the Padakanukas which are his personal funds, it cannot be said that the mandiram is a branch of Parakala Mutt, that admittedly no funds from Parakala Mutt have been diverted to the present Mandiram, that there is no declaration by the disciples to the effect that the present Mandiram is a branch of Parakala Mutt and that the declaration appears to be brought into existence having been antedated, that the mandiram is a pure and simple place of worship where the pictures of several deities are installed and regular poojas are performed and people of all walks of life and opinions who believe the spiritual sanctity of the presiding deity are freely allowed to partake in the worship with all the prescribed religious rites being regularly performed, that contributions small and big were accepted from all devotees irrespective of their belief in Visishta Advaita philosophy, that the entry to the mandiram is not restricted to any section of devotees who believe in any particular philosophy, that regular processions of the deities are taken out and kainkaryams are regularly performed and all Hindu devotees are freely allowed into the premises, that the institution has its own moveable and immoveable properties and does not receive any help from the plaintiff's mutt, that the absence of certain traditional insignia does not take away the mandiram from the fold of religious institution, that even if the Mutt in Mysore is exempt from registration under the relevant statutes in Karnataka, that cannot extend to the Mandiram in our State, that the institution and its property are by practice dedicated to the public and that the order of the Dy. Commissioner does not call for any interference.
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