Enforcement proceedings against an idol likely to be overturned when the deity / public temple is not named as a party: High Court of Kerala
The High Court of Kerala has ruled that enforcement proceedings against an idol and its property are liable to be set aside when the deity or a public temple is not a party to the action.
Judge P. Somarajan while welcoming a call, said:
“The binding nature of the action or the decree issued in accordance with Ordinance I, Rule 8 of the CPC shall be understood as binding only the persons on whose behalf the action has been brought or defended as a representative having the same” interest ”and no one else The deity or the public temple has not been named as a party to the action and no authorization has been obtained to bring an action as representative against the idol or the public temple, Although the idol constitutes a legal and juridical entity as a Since devotees are numerous, a fluctuating body, in order to bring or defend a lawsuit against the deity or the idol, permission must be obtained in under Order I Rule 8 CPC, for which, the deity or idol must be in the party and the costume must be one by the idol or against the idol represented by a competent person. ”
When issuing the order, the Court also ordered the Registry to send a copy to the Training Directorate attached to the High Court for future directions while providing training to judicial officers.
Lawyer Narendra Kumar appeared for the appellants, while the respondents were represented by Lawyer Sadchith P. Kurup in the call.
Two worshipers from a public temple representing a deity named Sree Khandakarna Kshethram filed a petition under Ordinance XXI, rule 97 of the CPC, preventing the handing over of part of the property belonging to the deity to the framework for the execution of a financial decree.
However, it was rejected by the court of first instance on the grounds that no document was produced by the applicants to show their right, title or interest in the property to obstruct the delivery.
Damaged by such a dismissal, the faithful applied to the High Court.
The Court thus noted that the fundamental principles governing a perpetual minor and the competence of a devotee to represent the deity in legal proceedings, the binding force of a decree against a perpetual minor or the legal person of an idol in a legal proceeding. public temple, although raised, were not even taken into account in the contested ordinance.
“It is unfortunate that the officer (deputy judge concerned) did not even address the aforementioned issues or did not understand the dispute involved in the petition, but dismissed it on the grounds that none of the petitioners did had produced document of their right, title or interest to obstruct delivery.
Primarily, a decree has been sought to be executed against the property held by a public temple and the idol thereof. However, neither the public temple nor the idol was made as a party to the lawsuit or decree.
The Court noted that this was a financial decree against two unincorporated associations named after the temple, namely Sree Khandakarna Kshethrayogam and Sreepadam Funds. Since these were unregistered and unincorporated associations, leave was granted to bring an action under Order I, Rule 8 CPC.
The decree holder (respondent here) argued that since there is a publication under Ordinance I Rule 8 CPC., The petitioners are bound by the decree although the idol or the public temple has not been made as a party to the lawsuit or to the decree thereof. . This claim was ignored by the deputy judge.
The Court therefore examined the purpose of Order I Rule 8 CPC and concluded that it was to give notice to all interested persons when there are many persons having the same interest in the same action. The expression “on behalf of” incorporated in Rule 8 (1) of the I CPC Order must be appreciated and understood in relation to the words “having the same interest in the same action”.
“Ordinance I Rule 8 CPC would only work against a person, who has the same interest as that of a person, who has been authorized either to bring an action or to defend an action by title. representative and it will have no operation or obligation binding on any other person who has a different interest. Necessarily, the binding nature of the action or decree, if any, adopted in accordance with Order I Rule 8 CPC must be understood as binding only the persons in whose name the action was instituted or defended as a representative having the “same interest” and no other “.
However, in the present case, the deity or the public temple has not been named as a party to the action and no authorization has been obtained to bring an action as representative against the idol or the public temple, although the idol would constitute a legal and moral person as a perpetual minor.
Since there are many devotees, to bring or defend a lawsuit against the deity or the idol, said conditions should have been fulfilled.
Yet not only was the deity or the temple not included in the party’s arrangement, but two unincorporated associations named after the temple were also indicted. Since this is a silver decree against the above two unincorporated associations, it would only bind those people who are members of, or have an interest in, unincorporated associations.
Further, it was noted that the Court had not considered an act of settlement by which the former owners of the family temple entrusted the temple and its properties to the public for the welfare of the deity and its devotees.
“Therefore, the silver decree against two unincorporated associations, although named after the deity, cannot be executed against the deity or the idol. It is rather strange that the lower court observed that PW1 obstructed the delivery even though he is not a member of the executive committee and admitted that the temple was managed by the executive committee.
The Chamber also recalled the well-established legal principle; even a faithful or a devotee can maintain a judicial procedure when there is a breach on the part of the administrative committee or the committee set up for its administration or a breach of trust.
Therefore, the resistance and obstruction offered by the petitioners is legal because the decree cannot be executed against the properties of the idols, which are not bound by the decree. The enforcement proceedings against the idol and its property were therefore declared open to annulment.
As such, the Court held that the dismissal of the claim under Order XXI, Rule 97 of the CPC against the petitioners could not stand. The appeal was allowed accordingly.
Case title: T. Madhu & Anr. vs. KK Suresh & Ors.
Click here to read / download the order