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Section 92 of CPC- not applicable in suit filed by a Trust but confers a right on person to file sui

Ghat Talab Kaulan Wala v Baba Gopal Dass Chela Surti Dass (Dead) by L.R. Ram Niwas., Civil Appeal No. 724 of 2020 arising out of SLP (Civil) No. 35520 of 2016 – JANUARY 31, 2020.

The Bench comprising of the Justice. L. Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta allowed the appeal.

One Charan Dass as a representative of the trust filed a suit primarily in the trial court for mandatory injunction directing the one, Baba Gopal Dass who is a sevadar of the trust, to vacate the management of Mandir on the grounds that he is not properly watching the interest of the Mandir and also has not rendered the accounts of income of the temple. The trial court declined to grant mandatory injunction and held the plaintiff was entitled to rendition of accounts. During the pendency of the appeal filed before the High court, Baba Gopal dass died and one Ram Niwas, claiming to be the chela of the deceased was ordered to be impleaded to represent the estate.

The High Court framed the two substantial questions of law. The bench considered those as issues which are to be decided.

Whether the plaintiff Charan Dass could represent the Trust known as Ghat Talab Kaulan Wala which is also known as Prabhu Wala and whether the suit filed by the Charan Dass is maintainable?
Whether status of the deceased Baba Gopal Dass as well as that of Ram Niwas, when independently considered, would make them Legal Representatives when Gopal Dass had mentioned himself to be ‘Sevadar’ and Ram Niwas as alleged Chela of Baba Gopal Dass?

The High Court held that the suit is not maintainable as it is not complying with the requirements of section 92 CPC and found that there was no evidence that Ram Niwas was ever appointed as chela of the deceased but found to be the member of the public, offering service to the temple.

The contention on the side of the appellant is, the High court erred in law in finding that suit is not maintainable in view of section 92 CPC.  Even though the suit was filed as a private trust but during the pendency of the proceedings the Trust has been registered as a society on 29 th June, 2016.

The contention on the side of the respondent is that the appellant has been paid a sum of Rs. 1,48,09,884/- on account of acquisition of part of the land and the respondent has apprehension that such amount will be misappropriated by the appellant.

The order passed by the High Court in respect of first substantial question of law is not sustainable. Section 92 of the Code contemplates a suit against a Trust either for removing any trustee; appointing new trustee; or vesting any property in a trustee etc. but the present suit itself is by a Trust against a Sevadar , therefore, the procedure prescribed under Section 92 of the Code would not be applicable in a suit by a Trust. Section 92 of the Code confers right on a person in case of any alleged breach of any express or constructive trust created for a public purpose of a charitable or religious nature. Since the Trust itself was the plaintiff, the finding of the High Court is clearly erroneous and not sustainable.

On considering the second substantial question of law , it is clear that on findings of the High Court which affirms that Ram Niwas could only offer his service to the temple and not appointed as chela of the deceased. Therefore Ram Niwas as a legal representative will not have larger interest what was vested in the deceased and the decree for rendition of accounts could be executed only against the deceased and after his demise, such decree cannot be executed.

The contention regarding the apprehension of the misappropriation of the amount is not tenable as the appellant is the registered society and will bound by its statutory obligations.

The Bench concluded that the order of the High Court in respect of the first substantial question of law is set aside and the suit was decreed.

Thus, the appeal is allowed.

–  Prithisha S



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