Kakinada Annadana Samajam Vs.
Commissioner of Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments  INSC 246 (2
02/12/1970 GROVER, A.N.
CITATION: 1971 AIR 891 1971 SCR (2) 878 1970
SCC (3) 359
R 1973 SC2237 (2) RF 1976 SC 475 (4)
Hereditary trustee-Office of-If 'property'
within the meaning of Art. 19 of the Constitution.
Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious
institutions and Endowments Act (17 of 1966), ss. 15, 17, 27, 36 and 97If
violative of Art. 19 of the Constitution.
The appellants were hereditary trustees of
religious and charitable institutions and endowments. They claimed the right to
manage and administer the secular estate of the institution or endowment of
which they were hereditary trustees but never claimed proprietary or beneficial
interest either in the corpus or in the usufruct of the estate. They challenged
the validity of s. 15 read with ss. 17, 27, 36 and. 97 of the Andhra Pradesh
Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1966, on the
ground that they are violative of Art. 19 of the Constitution. The High Court
held that the office of hereditary trustee was property but that the
restrictions imposed by the various provisions of the Act are reasonable and
are in the interests of the public.
In appeal to this Court,
HELD : (1) The position of a hereditary
trustee who claims a bare right to manage and administer the secular estate, is
the same as that of a Dharmakarta or a mere manager or custodian of an
institution except that the hereditary trustee succeeds to the office as of
right and in accordance with the rules governing succession. He cannot be
equated to a shebait, methadhipathi or a mahant in whose case, the ingredients
of both office and property, of duties and personal interest and rights are
blended together. Hence the office of such a hereditary trustee is not property
within the meaning of Art. 19. The observation in Sambudamurthi Mudaliar v.
State of Madras,  2 S.C.R. 424 that the office of a hereditary trustee is
in the nature of property is obiter. The pronouncement of the Privy Council in
Gnanasambanda Pandara Sannadhi v. Velu Patrdaram, 27 I.A.
69, Ganesh Chander Dhur v. Lal Behary Dhur,
(1936) 71 M.L.J.
740 (P.C.) and Bhaba Tarini Debi v. Asha Lata
 2 Cal. 137 (P.C.) that the rule in the
Tagore case, (1872) 9 B.L.R. 377 applies to succession of hereditary trustees
does not afford any assistance in deciding whether an office holder. who has a
bare right of management, can claim to have a right or interest in the nature
of property within the meaning of Art. 19(1)(f).
[886 B-D; 887 F-H] Tilkayat Shri Govindlalji
Maharaj v. State of Rajasthan  1 S.C.R. 561 and Raja Birakishore V.
Orissa,  7 S.C.R. 32, followed.
(2)Even if the right constituted property the
restrictions which have been imposed by the provisions of the Act on the
hereditary trustees are reasonable and are in the interest of the general
public. [888B] 879 The statute has been enacted because, a high powered body,
namely the Hindu Religious Endowment Commission, had reported that there was
mismanagement invariably of the endowment property by the trustees. The power
to appoint non-hereditary trustees or executive officers under ss. 15 and 27,
even where there is already a hereditary trustee or trustees, notwithstanding
that there is no mismanagement, is only for the purpose of ensuring better and
efficient administration and management of the institution or endowment. Under
s. 17, the hereditary trustee is not removed but is to be the chairman of the
Board of Trustees, and if there are more than one hereditary trustee, one of
them is to be chairman by rotation. Instead of managing the institution alone
he has to administer it in collaboration with other trustees who are
non-hereditary; but it is only the secular aspect-and not matters of
religion-that is touched. [883 D; 888 B-G] [Questions whether some of the
institutions were private or were religious denominations within Art. 26, left
open for determination by the appropriate forum.] [889 D]
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeals
Nos. 1249 to 1251, 1271, 1358, 1350, 1381, 1382, 1521, 1522, 1544, 1612, 1668,
1669, 1879, 1880, 1912, 1973 and 1974 of 1970.
Appeals from the judgment and order dated
December 31, 1969 of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Writ Petitions Nos. 2871
of 1968 etc. etc.
M.Natesan and A. Subba Rao, for the
appellants (in C.As.
Nos. 1249 to 1251, 1360, 1382, 1521 and 1522
A.Subba Rao, for the appellants (in C.As.
Nos. 1381, 1544, 1879, 1880, 1912, 1973 and 1974 of 1970).
Shyamala Pappu, Balaparameshwari Rao and
Vineet Kumar, for the appellant (in C.A. No. 1271 of 1970).
M.Natesan and A. V. V. Nair, for the
appellant (in C.A. No. 1358 of 1970).
K. Jayaram, for the appellant (in C.A. No.
1663 of 1970).
M. Natesan and K. Jayaram, for the appellant
(in C.A. No. 1669 of 1970).
A. V. Rangam, for the appellant (in C.A. No.
1612 of 1970). A. K. Sen., Venugopala Reddy and Parameswara Rao, for the
respondents Nos. 1 to, 4 (in C.A. No. 1522 of 1970) respondents Nos. 1 and 2
(in C.A. No. 1669 of 1970) and the respondents in other appeals.
P. Basi Reddy and G. Narayana Rao, for
respondent No. 6 (in C.A. No. 1669 of 1970).
K. Rajendra Chowdhary, for the intervener.
880 The Judgment of the Court was delivered
by Grover, J. These appeals by certificate are from a common judgment of the
Andhra Pradesh High Court and involve the question of the constitutionality of
certain provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religions
Institutions and Endowments Act, 1966 (Act 17 of 1966), hereinafter called the
A number of petitions under Art. 226 of the
Constitution were filed before the High Court on behalf of the institutions or
endowments some of which were public and some private in character. A few
institutions were societies registered under the Societies Registration Act
while others claimed to be religious endowments or public bodies like municipalities
which were managing the institutions. We might, for the sake of convenience,
state the facts in Civil Appeal No. 1360 of 1970. In the affidavit of Nalam
Ramalingaiah it is stated that he is the hereditary trustee of the Nalam
Choultry and Vyasya Seva Sadanam which are private trusts. They were founded by
his ancestor in the year 1879 and 1920 respectively. He had been the managing
trustee from 1943. The Choultry was endowed with immoveable property comprising
an area of 453 acres of land which by careful management was now fetching an
income of Rs. 40,000/-. Besides feeding the poor and affording free lodging
facilities to pilgrims scholarships were being given to deserving students. The
Sevasadanam was endowed with huge properties which were fetching Rs. 18,000/as
income. The objects of this charity were, (1) to impart education and training
in handicraft to women; (2) to feed poor girls, (3) provide free shelter to
women students and (4) run women's Sanskrit School. At no time there had been
any complaint about mismanagement of the aforesaid trust. A number of other
countries were also mentioned which were being managed by the hereditary
trustee or trustees. Some of them were providing food and shelter to students
and travellers of all castes and creeds including Muslims and Christians. Among
the objects of some of the Choultries was included the performing of pujas in
temples. These Choultries were founded in the last century and ever since their
inception the members of the family of the founder or founders had been
managing them. At no time there had been any complaint of any kind against the
management. On the contrary the hereditary trustees had improved the endowment
properties and added several charitable activities to the existing objects.
The validity of the main provisions of the
Act was challenged on the ground that the office of the hereditary trusteeship
was property within the meaning of Art. 19(1)(f) and that these 881 provisions
were ultra vires and void as violative of that Article as also of Art. 14, 25,
26 and 31 of the Constitution. On behalf of the respondents the position taken
up was that all the, institutions in question were public and none of them was
private in character that they were religious and charitable institutions and
endowments within the meaning of the Act. It was denied that the office of
hereditary trustee was property within the meaning of. Art. 19 (1) (f) or that
there was infringement of any of the fundamental rights mentioned in the
various petitions. It was maintained that the hereditary trustees etc. had only
a bare right to manage the affairs of the institution and the secular matters
which could not be regarded as property within the meaning of the aforesaid
The High Court formulated five questions for
decision but it is unnecessary to mention or go into all of them as the matters
in controversy before us relate to two of these questions. These are, (1)
whether on the facts and in the circumstances the office of hereditary
trusteeship is or is not property within the meaning of Art. 19(1) (f) and Art.
31 and (2) whether all or any of the material
provisions of the Act are hit by Arts. 14, 19 (1) (f), 25, 26 or 31. The High
Court was of the view that the office of hereditary trustee was property within
the meaning of Art. 19 (1) (f).
It was, however, held that the impugned
provisions only imposed reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right of
the trustees, in the interest of general public and good administration of the
public institutions. It was further found that none of the impugned provisions
were violative of Arts. 14, 19(1)(f), 25, 26 and 31 of the Constitution.
According to the High Court the material
provisions of the Act were only intended to regulate and ensure proper, efficient
and better administration and management of the institution. All the writ
petitions were dismissed.
The learned counsel for the appellants has
invited our attention to the various sections of the Act but has confined his
challenge mainly to the provisions contained in s. 15 read with ss. 17, 27, 97
and 36 of the Act. We may advert to the main provisions and the general scheme
of the Act. According to the preamble the Act has been enacted to consolidate
and amend the law relating to the administration and governance of charitable
and Hindu religious charitable institutions and endowments in the State of
It applies to all public charitable
institutions and endowments other than wakes governed by the provisions of the
Wake Act 1954. According to the explanation to s. 1(3)(a) the expression
"charitable institutions and endowments" shall include every
charitable institution or endowment the administration of which is, for the
time being vested in any department of Government or civil court, Zila Parishad
or other L6949up.CI/71 882 local authority or any company, society,
Organisation, institution or other person. The Act also applies to all Hindu
public religious institutions and endowments.
"Charitable endowment" has been
defined by s. 2(3) to mean all property given or endowed for any charitable
"Charitable institution" has been
defined by S. 2 (4) to mean any establishment, undertaking,, organisation or
association formed for a charitable purpose and includes a specific endowment.
Various sub-clauses of s. 2 define " charitable purpose",
"Commissioner", "Executive Officer", "Hereditary
Office-holder", "Hereditary Trustee", "Religious
charity". "religious endowment", "specific endowment"
The definition of "hereditary trustee"
contained in sub clause 15 and a "trustee" in sub-clause 28 may be
" Hereditary trustee' means the trustee
of a charitable or religious institution or endowment the succession of whose
office devolves according to the rule of succession laid down by the founder or
according to usage or custom applicable to the institution or endowment or
according to the law of succession for the time being in force, as the case may
"'Trustee' means any person whether
known as mathadhipati, mohant, dharmakarta, mutwalli, muntazim, or by any other
name, in whom either alone or in association with any other person, the
administration and management of a charitable or religious institution or
endowment are vested; and includes a Board of Trustees." Chapter II deals
with the appointment of Commissioner, Joint Commissioners etc. and their powers
and functions. Section 6 provides for preparation and publication of list of
charitable and religious institutions and endowments on the basis of income. By
Section 7 the Commissioner is to be a corporation sole having a perpetual
succession and common seal. Section 8 provides that subject to other provisions
of the Act the administration of all charitable and Hindu religious
institutions and endowments shall be under the general superintendence and
control of the Commissioner and such superintendence and control shall include
the power to pass any order which might be deemed necessary to ensure that such
institutions and endowments are properly administered and their income is duly
appropriated for the purpose for which they are founded or exist. Section 12
empowers the Commissioner to enter and inspect institutions and endowments.
Chapter III relates to administration and management of charitable and Hindu
religious institutions and endowments. Section 14 declares that all properties
belonging to or given or endowed to a charitable or religious institution or
endowment shall vest in 883 the charitable or religious institution or
endowment as the case may be. It is unnecessary to set out s. 15 in extensor It
provides for the constitution of a Board of Trustees, whose number has been
specified, in respect of charitable or religious institution or endowments of
the various categories mentioned in the section. The power to constitute The
Board has been conferred on the Government, Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner
or the Assistant Commissioner, as the case may be. It is discretionary where
there is a hereditary trustee but a Board must be constituted in every other
case. In making the appointment of trustees it has been enjoined that due
regard should be given to the religious denomination or other section thereof
to which the institution belongs or the endowment is made and wishes of the
founder. AR properties belonging to the institution or endowment shall stand
transferred to such Board of trustees or trustee, as the case may be Section 16
gives the disqualifications for trusteeship. Section 17 deals with the
appointment of a Chairman of the Board of trustees. It has been provided, inter
alia, that where there is only one hereditary trustee he shall be the Chairman.
Where there are more than one the Government etc.
may nominate by rotation one of them to be
Section 22 gives the duties of the trustee.
He is bound to produce books, accounts, returns.......... relating to die
administration of the institution or endowment for inspection by the
Commissioner and other functionaries whenever required to do so. Section 27
provides for the appointment of the Executive Officer by the Government and the
Commissioner respectively. It also lays down the duties of the Executive
Officer. It is declared that the Executive Officer shall be the employee of the
Government who shall determine the conditions of his service. Section 31 lays
down how the vacancies amongst the office-holders or servants of charitable or
religious institution or endowment have to be filled up by the trustees.
Section 32 deals with the punishment of office-holders and servants. The
general control vests in the trustee who can take disciplinary action in
accordance with the prescribed procedure for the various matters mentioned in
sub-s. (1). In case of an institution or endowment whose annual income exceeds
two lakhs the power to impose any penalty has been conferred on the Executive
Officer. Section 35 gives power to the Executive Officer not to implement
orders or resolution of the trustee or Board of Trustees in certain cases.
Section 36 gives overriding effect to the provisions of Chapter III over the
existing corresponding provisions. Chapter IV deals with registration of
charitable and religious institutions and endowments; Chapter V with muths and
endowments attached thereto; Chapter VII with budget, accounts, and audit;
Chapter VIII with finance; Chapter X with alienation of immoveable property and
resumption of Inam lands; Chapter XII with inquiries and Chapter XIII with
appeals, revisions and 884 review etc. Section 95 empowers the Government to
dissolve the Board of Trustees in certain cases and S. 97 enables it to
;appoint a specific authority where the Board (A trustees has ceased to
function or has been dissolved. Section 102 is in the following terms :
"Nothing in this Act shall(a)save as
otherwise expressly provided in this Act or the rules made thereunder, affect
any honour, emoluments or perquisite to which any person is entitled by custom
or otherwise in any charitable or religious institution or endowment, or its
established usage in regard to any other matter, or (b)authorise any interference
with the religious or spiritual functions of the head of a math including those
relating to the imparting of religious instruction or the rendering of
spiritual service." Under s. 110, ss. 92 and 93 of the Code of Civil
Procedure 1908 can no longer be applicable to charitable institutions and Hindu
religious institutions and endowments to which the Act applies.
The main stress, on behalf of the appellants,
has been laid on the effect of the provisions of the Act and in particular s.
15 read with the other sections mentioned before on the office of the
hereditary trustee. It has been contended that a hereditary trustee has to
manage the institution or the endowment in accordance with the directions of
the founder. It was his duty and responsibility to appoint the staff and take
disciplinary action whenever necessary and to regulate the expenditure and
carry out generally the objects of the charitable institution or endowment. By
the appointment of a Board of trustees the hereditary trustee can no longer
manage and exercise control over the institution alone or in association with
other hereditary trustees. He has to share the management and responsibility
with other members of the Board who may be drawn from the section or faction
which may be politically motivated and may be hostile to him. The appointment
of the Board, it is pointed out, rests with the Government, the Commissioner or
the Deputy Commissioner, as the case may be and although hereditary trustee or
trustees have to be included in the Board, the entire administrative power is
vested in the Executive Officer. This Officer is a permanent Government servant
and the Board or the trustee cannot either remove him or take any disciplinary
action against him which means that the Board or the trustee cannot exercise
any effective control over him. The Executive Officer can in certain
eventualities even refuse to implement orders of the Board.
The hereditary trustee has 885 thus been left
only with what may be called the "husk of the title" and his right to
hold property has been seriously interfered with.
The first and the main question is whether
the office of a hereditary trustee is "property" within the, meaning
19 (1) (f). For the reasons, which will be
presently stated, we are unable to agree with the High Court that the office of
hereditary trustee is "property" within that Article.
The view that the office of hereditary
trustee was itself "property" within Art. 19 (1) (f ) even if no
emoluments were attached to it found favour with many High Courts. We need
refer only to the leading judgment of a Division Bench of the Madras High Court
in Kidangazhi Manakkal Narayanan Nambudripad & Others v. The State of
Madras & Anr. (1) The line of reasoning which prevailed, was that the
office of hereditary trusteeship descended like partible property on the heirs
of a trustee and even females were entitled to the office if they happened to
succeed as heirs. The rule in the Tagore(2) case has been applied to the
devolution of the office of hereditary trustee as if it was property; [vide
Ganesh Chunder Dhur v. Lal Behary Dhur(3) and Bhaba Tarini Debi v. Asha Lata
Debi (4 )-both decisions of the Privy Council]. Support was also sought from
the observations, in Angurbala Mullick v. Debabrata Mullick(5) relating to the
office of a shebait which was held to be property. Another reason given was
that "property" in Art. 19(1) (f) was of wide import and was of
sufficient amplitude to take in hereditary trusteeship.
The High Court in the judgment under appeal
delved into the history and the background in which hereditary office had been
equated to property in Hindu Law. Starting from Krishnabhat Hiragagne v.
Kapabhat Mahalabhat et al(6) most of the later decisions of the Privy Council
and the, High Courts were discussed. We need refer only to Gnanasembanda
Pandara Sannadhi v. Velu Pandaram (7) in which their Lordships pointed out that
the rule in Tagore case(2) that all estates of inheritance created by gift or
will so, far as they were inconsistent with the general law of inheritance were
void was applicable "to an hereditary office and endowment as well as the
other immovable property".
In cases in which the office of hereditary
trusteeship has been held to be property within the meaning of Art. 19(1) (f)
the true character and incidents of that office do not appear to have been (1)
I.L.R.  Mad. 356.(2)  93.L.R. 377.
(3)  71 M.L.J. 740. (4) I.L.R.
(5)  S.C.R. 1125. (6) (1869) 6 Bom.
(7) 27 I.A. 69.
886 fully kept in view. It was common ground
before the High Court and has not been disputed before us that the hereditary
trustees of the institutions with which we are concerned have only claimed a
bare right to manage and administer the secular estate of the institution or
the endowment and in no case any hereditary trustee has claimed proprietary or
beneficiary interest either in the corpus or in the usufruct of the estate. The
position of a hereditary trustee does not appear to be in any way different from
that of a Dharamkartha or a mere manager or custodian of an institution or
endowment. There is one exception only. The hereditary trustee succeeds to the
office as of right and in accordance with the rules governing succession. But
in all other respects his duties and obligations are the same as that of
Dharamkartha. No one has ever suggested that a hereditary trustee can be
equated to a Shebait of a religious institution or a Mathadhipati or the
Mahant. The ingredients of both office and property, of duties and personal
interest are blended together in the rights of a Mahant as also a Shebait and a
Mathadhipati. The position of Dharamakartha, on the other hand, is not that of
a Shebait of a religious institution or of the head of a math.
These functionaries have a much higher right
with larger power of disposal and administration and they have a personal
interest of beneficial character; [See Srinivasa Chariar v. Evalappa
Mudaliar(1)]. There would thus be no justification for holdingthat since the
office of the aforesaid functionaries has been consistently held by this Court
to be property the office of a hereditary trustee is also property within Art.
19 (1) (f).
In Tilkayat Shri Govindlalji Maharai v. The
State of Rajasthan & Others (2) the distinction between the office of
mahant and that of the Tilkayat of Nathdwara temple was clearly enunciated. It
was pointed out that the mahant or Shebiat was entitled to be maintained out of
the property of the math or the temple. The Tilkayat never used any income from
the property of the temple for his personal needs or private purposes nor did
he claim any proprietary interest therein. What he claimed was merely the right
to manage the property, to create leases in respect of it in a reasonable
manner and the right to alienate it for the purposes of the temple. These
rights were exercised by him under the absolute-and direct supervision of the
Durbar of Udaipur.
It was laid down by this Court that the
aforesaid rights could not be equated with the totality of the powers generally
possessed by the mahant or the Shebait. In our judgment the hereditary trustee
cannot in any way claim any higher rights of managing the properties of the
institution or the endowment than the Tilkayat.
(1) 49 I.A. 237 251.
(2)  1 S.C.R. 561.
887 His rights fall far short of those of the
Mahant and the Shebait. It may be that in the case of the Tilkayat his rights
were governed by the fireman issued by the Durbar which had the force of law
but the ratio of the decision essentially is that a bare right to manage an
institution or an endowment cannot be treated as property within Art. 19(1) and
Art. 31. In Raja Birakishore v. The State of Orissa(1) the constitutionality of
Shri Jagannath Temple Act 1954 (Act 2 of 1955) was challenged. The attack was
based mainly on the ground that the Act took away the perquisites of Raja of
Puri which had been found to belong to him in the record of rights. The Raja
had two fold connection with the temple. In the first place he was the Adyasevak
i.e. the chief servant of the temple and in that capacity he had certain rights
and privileges. He was also the sole superintendent of the temple and was in charge
of the management of the secular affairs of the temple. After reviewing the
provisions of Act 2 of 1955 this Court observed that it provided for the
management of the secular affairs of the temple and did not interfere with the
religious affairs thereof. The rights which the Raja possessed had been
exercised by the predecessor also but because he had been deprived only of the
right of management which carried no beneficial interest in the property the
attack based on the provisions of Arts.
19 (1) (f ) and 31 (2) could not be
sustained. One of the features common to that case and the present one is that
the management had been transferred from the sole control of the Raja to the
control of a committee. This was regarded as a purely secular function which
did not carry with it any right to property and could not be hit by Art. 19 (1)
It is true that in the latest decision of
this Court in Sambudamurthi Mudaliar v. State of Madras & Anr.(2) it was
taken to be well established that the office of a hereditary trustee is in the
nature of "property" and this is so whether the trustee has
beneficial interest of some sort or not. This observation, we apprehend, was
not necessary for a decision of that case. There the question was whether the
appellant was a hereditary trustee within the meaning of s. 6(9) of the Madras
Act 1951 and there was no discussion or determination of the point that the
office of a hereditary trustee was property within Art. 19 (1) (f ) or any
other Article. Nor do we consider that the various pronouncements of the Privy
Council that the rule in the Tagore(3) case applies to succession of hereditary
trustees can afford much assistance in deciding whether an office holder who
has a bare right of management can claim to have any right or interest-in the
nature of property within the meaning of Art. 19(1)(f). Following the principles
laid down in the Tilkavat (4) And Raja Bira(1)  7 S.C.R. 32.
(2)  2 S.C.R. 424.
(3)  9 B.L.R. 377.
(4)  1 S.C.R. 561.
888 kishore cases we are unable. to endorse
the view that the office' of hereditary trusteeship is property within Art.
19(1) (f) or, any other Article of the
We may add that even if it was held that the
rights in question constituted "property" their regulation by the
relevant provisions of the Act would undoubtedly be protected by Art. 19 (5).
We have no hesitation in concurring with the decision of the High Court that
restrictions which have been imposed by the provisions of the Act on the
hereditary trustees are reasonable and are in the interest of the general
public. The power to appoint non-hereditary trustees or Executive Officers
where there is already a hereditary trustee or trustees notwithstanding there
is no mismanagement, is only for the purpose of ensuring better and efficient
administration and management of the institution or endowment. Non-hereditary
trustees have been associated with the hereditary trustee who has not been
removed from his office. As a matter of fact complete safeguards have been
provided for ensuring that he retains his office. He or one of the hereditary
trustees has to be the Chairman of the Board. He has various powers under the
provisions of the Act already noticed. All that can be said is that instead of
managing the institution alone he has to administer it in collaboration with
other trustees who are non-hereditary. In matters of religion such as' puja,
dittam, rituals etc. there can be no interference. It has been provided in
categorical terms that the same, must be continued to be performed according to
Agamasastras or usage or custom prevalent in the institution. It is only the
secular aspect that has been touched and there can be no manner of doubt that
the same has been done in the interest of better and efficient administration.
It must be remembered that the legislation relating to public and charitable
institutions or endowments has taken place as a result of careful deliberation
by high powered bodies.
In the report of the Hindu Religious
Endowment Commission presided over by Dr. C. P. Ramaswami lyer which was
appointed in March 1960 it has been pointed out that legislation relating to
endowments became necessary in the States as a result of the almost invariable
mismanagement of the endowment properties of temples by the trustees,
misappropriation of the funds of the endowment for, purposes unconnected with
the original aims and objects of such endowments, utilisation of funds of the
endowment by the trustees or managers for their personal purposes etc. All this
fully supports the decision of the High Court that the restrictions which have
been placed on the hereditary trustees as also on others in whom the management
of the institution in H question vests are reasonable and in the public
interest. Thus (1)  7 S.C.R.32.
889 the appellants cannot succeed on the
principal point which has been argued before us.
A faint attempt was made to sustain the
attack under Arts.
14 and 26(d) of the Constitution but finally
hardly any arguments were addressed worth noticing on these points. It is
unnecessary to deal with individual appeals some of which were filed by
societies registered under the Societies Registration Act i.e. Civil Appeal No.
1249 of 1970. C.A. No. 1271 of 1970 by the Municipal Council, Visakhapatnam,
related to the Turners Choultry which, according to the Municipal Council, was
its private property. So far as the validity of the impugned provisions is
concerned the same must be sustained in these cases on the same reasoning as in
the case relating to the hereditary trustee. The High Court has rightly left
open the question whether the Tumer's choultry is a private or a public
This the Municipal Council is entitled to
agitate before the Deputy Commissioner under s. 77 of the Act. Before the High
Court some of the writ petitioners had claimed that their institutions were
religious denominations within Art. 26 and were therefore entitled to the
protection guaranteed by that Article. The High Court has, quite rightly,
observed that these matters should be agitated in a proper forum and they have
been left open for determination if add when so desired. This indisputably was
the correct course to follow.
The appeals fail and are dismissed with
costs. One set of hearing fee.
V.P.S. Appeals dismissed.