The Case is a private action between a trust and a Sevadhar there. The trust prayed for mandatory injunction against the Sevadhar to vacate the Mandir and the lower court declared that the person is entitled only for rendition of accounts. In Appeal, the Hon’ble Supreme Court dealt with a question of law and held that the Suit is not maintainable under Section 92 of CPC in cases of a dispute between a beneficiary and a trust and also declared that the rendition of accounts is applicable only to the beneficiary and not his representatives.
Case: Ghat Talab Kaulan Wala vs. Baba Gopal Dass chela Surti Dass
Case no: Civil Appeal no. 724 of 2020
Judgment by: L.Nageshwara Rao, J. and Hemant Gupta, J.
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. The object of the section is to protect public interests and the interests of the institution, on the one hand, and to discourage impecunious and improper persons indulging in vexatious and improper suits against trustees, on the other. It does not cover a private dispute between one of the beneficiaries and the trust.
In this case, a suit for mandatory injunction was filed by appellant alleging himself to be the owner of the suit property and thereby directing the defendant Baba Gopal Dass (sevadar) to vacate the management of Mandir, building and other property. The questions regarding the ownership of suit property and grant of injunction were duly answered by the trial court and the court declined to grant mandatory injunction to the defendant considering that the defendant is not claiming ownership of the property in question and directed the defendant to vacate the Mandir but held that the plaintiff was entitled to rendition of accounts.
The defendant filed the second appeal before the High Court aggrieved against the decree passed by the First Appellate Court during the pendency of which, Baba Gopal Dass died and one Ram Niwas, claiming to be Chela of Baba Gopal Dass was ordered to be impleaded to represent the estate.
- 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 the 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?”
- To attract the application of the section the following four conditions are necessary.
- There must be a trust, express or constructive, for public purposes of a charitable or religious nature.
- The plaint must allege a breach of trust or necessity for direction as to the administration of that trust.
- The suit must be in the interests of the public, i.e., it must be brought in a representative capacity for the benefit of the public and not to enforce individual rights; and
- The relief claimed should be one of the reliefs set out in the section.
- The procedure prescribed under Section 92 of the Code would not be applicable in a suit by a Trust.
SC held that-
- While deciding the first substantial question of law, the suit was found to be not maintainable. Section 92 of the Code has no applicability in respect of a suit instituted by a Trust. It is pointed out that the appellant has filed a suit through the Manager and Trustee as a private Trust. 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.
- However, during the pendency of the proceedings, the Trust has been registered as a Society demonstrating the nature of charities which the Trust had undertaken and complied with the requirements of Section 92 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
- Ram Niwas as the legal representative of Baba Gopal Dass will not have a larger interest than what was vested in the original defendant. Further, the decree for a rendition of accounts could be executed only against the deceased Baba Gopal Dass, therefore, after his demise, such decree cannot be executed.
Edited by Vartika Gajendra Singh
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje