Rishikul Brahmacharya Ashram Committee & another Vs. State of Uttranchal & Ors
 Insc 703 (19 November 2004)
Shivaraj V. Patil & B.N. Srikrishna SRIKRISHNA,J.
This appeal is directed against the judgment of the High Court dismissing
writ petition of the appellant which had sought the quashing of order No.
1132/sec-9/Five 477/76 Lucknow dated 22.2.1981 and order No.1486-Sec-9/V-477/76
Lucknow dated 6.3.1981 made by the State Government whereby the State
Government had ordered that the property belonging to the appellant had vested
in a Treasurer of Charitable Endowments, U.P.
The appellant was established and registered under the Societies
Registration Act on 27.8.1907. The memorandum of appellant's society, inter alia,
includes revival of the study of ancient Sanskrit language as laid down in the
Hindu scriptures, imparting of such knowledge along with suitable knowledge of
English to students, establishing and maintaining institution for education on
old lines as far as practicable for all Hindu boys, establishing and
maintaining special classes of education for the sons of Purohits at places of
pilgrimage so as to enable them in their after life to satisfactorily perform
all the duties devolving upon them. In addition to these religious and
educational activities, the appellant was also running a Sanskrit Pathshala, Ayurveda
Mahavidyalaya, Karmkand Mahavidyalaya, Jyotish Mahavidyalaya and Upadesh Mahavidyalaya.
The appellant was receiving Government grant from the education department of
the State Government and the Central Government. These grants were stopped
sometimes in 1969.
Complaints were received by the State Government that the property of the
appellant was being wasted and maladministered by the persons in charge of the
appellant's administration. On 26th December, 1978 a show cause notice was
issued by the State Government to the appellant to show cause as to why the
properties belonging to society be not vested in the Treasurer under Sections 3
and 4 of the Charitable Endowment Act, as applicable to the State of U.P.(Presently
the State of Uttaranchal). The appellant gave a reply which was not considered
satisfactory by the State Government.
Another notice dated 22.2.1981 was issued to the appellant and the appellant
was informed that the State Government had decided to take action under
sections 3 and 4 of the U P Act XX of 1950. The appellant disputed the factual
allegations and contended that the Charitable Endowment Act 1890 did not apply
to it as it was an institution established exclusively for religious teaching
The State Government did not accept this contention and passed an order
dated 6.3.81 by which the properties of the appellant were ordered to be vested
in the treasurer of Charitable Endowment. The appellant challenged the validity
of the notice issued to it and the final orders made thereupon. The only ground
pressed before the High Court was that the impugned order of the State
Government was not a speaking order as no reasons had been recorded for passing
the order. The learned Additional Advocate General who appeared for the State
Government sought leave of the High Court for filing a supplementary affidavit
for placing all the relevant material before the Court in order to meet the
contention of the appellant that there was non application of mind to the
material facts. Such leave was granted by the High Court and a detailed counter
affidavit was filed and all the material records produced before the High
Relying on the judgment of this Court in Union of India v.
E.G. Nambudiri, AIR 1991 SC 1216, and the observations made therein, the
High Court held that if the impugned order did not contain any reasons, it was
open to the competent authority to place all the connected materials and the
reasons for the order by adducing evidence before the Court to justify the
administrative action. The High Court considered the supplementary affidavit
filed on behalf of the State and noticed that serious complaints had been made
against the appellants including one by an MLA. The copy of the audit report
placed on record mentioned various financial irregularities committed by the
appellants. There were suits filed in 1968 and 1971 alleging mismanagement in
the affairs of the appellants Ashram. The manner in which the schools were
conducted, and the manner in which there were financial irregularities
committed with respect to several of the schools, which had become defunct,
left no doubt in the mind of the High Court that the circumstances alleged in
the show cause notice were fully made out. The High Court, therefore, accepted
the contention of the State Government that the property of the appellant was
being mis-managed and that the State Government was justified in passing the
order under section 4 of the UP Act 20 of 1950 vesting the properties of the
appellants in the Treasurer. In this view of the matter, the High Court
dismissed the petition.
The only contention urged before us by the learned counsel for the appellant
is that the appellant is an institution established for a purpose which relates
exclusively to religious teachings or worship, and, therefore, the provisions
of Charitable Endowment Act of 1890 or its extension by U.P. Act 20 of 1950 did
not apply to them.
The respondents have filed a counter affidavit before this Court in which,
apart from indicating the details of mis-management of the property, it is
pointed out that the appellant Ashram had obtained financial grants for setting
up five institutions, namely :
1. Sanskrit Pathshala,
2. Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya,
3. Karmkand Mahavidyalaya,
4. Jyotis Mahavidyalaya and 5. Upadesh Mahavidyalaya.
But, the last two were not established and the 1st and 3rd had been closed
before 1969. It was only the Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya which was functioning,
though subject to mis-management as alleged.
Considering the functions carried out by its Ayurvedic Mahavidyalya, the
State Government rejected the contention that the appellant was established for
a purpose which was purely religious and, therefore, did not fall within the
ambit of the concerned Act.
Learned counsel for the appellant tried to justify the contention by
reference to the declaration made in the Memorandum of Association. We are not
impressed. Whether a given society is established for, and is carrying out, a
purpose purely religious, or whether it is established also for purposes other
than religious, is a question of fact. This issue has been considered on the
basis of the evidence tendered before the appropriate authorities under the Act
after suitable opportunity was given to the appellant to meet the adverse
allegations against it. After such inquiry, the administrative authority has
recorded a finding of fact that the appellant was amenable to the jurisdiction
under the concerned Act. The High Court was justified in declining to interfere
with such a finding. In our view, therefore, no fault can be found with the
impugned judgment of the High Court.
In the result, we see no substance in this appeal, which deserves to be
dismissed. The appeal is accordingly dismissed, but with no order as to costs.