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Madras High Court
Narayanasami Gurukkal, … vs Irulappa Nadan And 13 Ors. on 18 September, 1902
Equivalent citations: (1902) 12 MLJ 355


1. In these petitions three persons seek to be joined as respondents in Appeal Suits Nos. 11 and 77 of 1900 pending in this court. Both appeals are identical, but were filed in two courts owing to a doubt as to jurisdiction. The respondent, who was plaintiff in the suit, does not oppose the petitions, but appellants who were defendants in the suit, object on two grounds, via., (1) that there is no ground shown in the petitioner’s affidavits for joining them, and (2) that they ought not to be joined as respondents in the appeals, but if at all, as plaintiffs in the suit.

2. The plaintiff, as Zemindar of Ramnad, is the hereditary trustee of the Minakshi Sundareswaraswami temple and as such trustee he brought the suit (O.S. No. 33 of 1898) for a declaration that neither the defendants nor other Shanars were entitled to enter the temple and for an injunction restraining them from so doing, and he obtained a decree to that effect after a protracted trial. The Shanars filed the appeals now pending, and the plaintiff and defendants put in a petition (C.M.P. No. 705 of 1901) stating that they had compromised the suit and requesting that the compromise might be recorded, and a decree passed in accordance with it, in supersession of the decree originally passed in the suit. The plaintiff now wishes to withdraw from the compromise, and, we are informed, intends to oppose it.

3. In support of the present petitions affidavits have been put in alleging, inter alia, that the plaintiff has been influenced by corrupt motives and by false representations, to enter into a compromise.

4. With regard to these allegations, we may say at once they are made in such terms as to be quite worthless. The charge of corruption is made in paragraphs 10 and 13 of the affidavit of Narayansamy Gurukkal, in which he says, “I am given to understand, etc.,” and “I am credibly informed and believe,” etc., but the name of the informant or the source of the information is not given. Such an affidavit is perfectly worthless, and if it were necessary for the petitioners to show corruption on the part of the plaintiff, or that he made the compromise owing to the false representations, we would regard the allegations as not made out by the affidavits and we would dismiss the petitions. Apart, however, from these special allegations, we think that a recital of the admitted facts of the litigation are sufficient to justify us in making the petitioners parties.

5. The disputes between the Shanars and the Anti-Shanars with respect to the claim of the Shanars, to enter the plaint temple and other Hindu temples were of some standing and led to serious riots with much loss of life and property. The plaintiff, as trustee of the temple, filed the suit for a declaration that neither the defendants nor other Shanars were entitled to enter the temple, and asking for an injunction, and for damages to defray the cost of purificatory ceremonies necessitated by the defendants having unlawfully entered the temple and defiled it.

6. Issues wore framed with regard to the alleged rights of the defendants and were enquired into at great length, some 135 witnesses being examined and over 100 documents exhibited, and after a trial which lasted some three months and involved much expense, the Subordinate Judge found that the defendants have not been allowed to use the plaint temple in the past for worship, and that the custom sot up by them in support of the right of entry has not been made out, and that the defendants belong to a class which, under customs and the Shastras, are precluded from entering the plaint temple. He, therefore, gave the plaintiff the declaration and injunction asked for, and a decree for Rs. 500 for purificatory ceremonies. The plaintiff, representing the Anti-Shanars, was thus victorious all along the line. In the present proposed compromise he gives up everything and more than everything for which he has hitherto strenuously and successfully contended on behalf of those opposed to the pretensions of the Shanars.

7. The compromise recites that “the plaintiff on full and further enquiry is satisfied that, as a matter of fact, the defendants and their caste people have enjoyed the’ right of access to, and of worshipping in, the temple of Ramnad Zemindary, including the plaint temple at Kamudi, in the same manner and to the same extent as the Vellala, Chetti and other Sudra sects of the Hindu community, and whereas plaintiff is advised and instructed that, according to the Hindu Shastras, the people of defendants’ caste are entitled to the said right of access and worship with respect to all Hindu temples, and whereas plaintiff has ascertained that the sentiments of the general body of the Hindu community are in favour of the defendants’ caste people exercising their said right of access and worship in respect of all Hindu temples.” The plaintiff then agrees to allow the defendants and their caste people the same rights as other Sudra servants of the Hindu, community in the plaint temple, and he gives up the damages awarded to him. Considering the evidence on the record as to the manner in which the claims of the Shanars are viewed by the non-Shanar castes, it is not easy to reconcile this volte face with bona fides on the part of the plaintiff. But even if personally honest in his change of conviction, there is no reason to suppose that there has been any similar change of conviction on the part of those for whom the plaintiff as trustee brought the suit, particularly as he now himself objects to the compromise. Three of the beneficiaries now come forward and ask to be made parties in order that they may show cause against the compromise being recorded and a decree being passed in its terms in lieu of the existing decree.

8. The first petitioner is an hereditary officiating priest of the temple, the second is a large landholder of the locality, the third is the son of the plaintiff.

9. All are worshippers in the temple, and interested in its being kept free from defilement, and the plaintiff’s son claims a special interest as being entitled to succeed the plaintiff as hereditary trustee. The petitioners are clearly all beneficiaries who are interested in the trust property regarding which the suit was filed. Section 437, Civil Procedure Code, provides that “in all suits concerning property vested in a trustee, when the contention is between persons beneficially interested in such property, and a third person, the trustee, shall represent the persons so interested, and it shall not ordinarily be necessary to make them parties to the suit. But the court may, if it thinks fit, order them, or any of them, to be made such parties.” The last clause is taken from 15 and 16 Vic. C. 86, Section 42, Rule 9, and the beneficiaries are made parties in England when the trustee is either wholly uninterested or is adverse to their interest. Clagg v. Rowland L.R. 3 Eq. 373, Payne v. Parker 1 Ch. App. 324 (37). In the former case Vice-Chancellor Malins said: “In all cases where the court sees trustees are wholly uninterested in the matter and there are parties who are materially interested in the question, it will never make a decree in the absence of those parties who are alone interested in the contest, but will have them brought before the court in order that those who are interested in resisting the demand, may resist it at the proper time, which is the hearing of the cause.” We think that the principle is applicable to the present case, and that we ought not to refuse to allow the petitioners to come in as parties in order that they may be at liberty to show if they can, that the Court ought not to pass a decree in accordance with the compromise, which, as they allege, is injurious to their interests, and which certainly gives up all that plaintiff has hitherto contended for on their behalf.

10. As regards the appellant’s second objection, viz., that the petitioners, if made parties, should be joined as plaintiffs in the suit and not merely as respondents in the appeal, the petitioners have now before us expressed their willingness to be joined in this way. The petitioners have also agreed that, if joined, they will not claim a retrial of the suit, but will be bound by the decision of this court in disposing of the appeals. W resolve, therefore, to allow the petitions to be amended by substituting in each the words “as a co-plaintiff” for the words “as a party respondent in the appeal,” and we direct that thereupon the petitioners be joined as co-plaintiffs in the suit on the clear condition that they will not ask to have the suit retried but will be bound by the decision in appeal. The appellants must pay the petitioners’ costs.

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