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Civil Courts Must Ascertain the Nature Of ‘Trust’ Before Exercising Jurisdiction U/S 92 CPC: Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court has said that for exercising jurisdiction under Section 92 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the civil court is to first draw a factual finding that whether the Trust is a public charitable or a religious Trust and also whether the persons approaching the Court have any interest in the Trust. This was seen in the case of ADARSHA SUGAMA SANGEETHA ACADEMY v. VRINDA S. RAO & others (Case No: WRIT PETITION NO.33264 OF 2016) and the judgment was presided over by the Coram of Justice R. Nataraj.

Facts of the case-

In the present case, before the trial court, the Respondents had claimed that Petitioner was a public charitable Trust of which Rao was a Trustee along with other Pro-forma respondents. The Respondents contended that the meetings of the Trust were not conducted regularly. They alleged that one of the Trustees died long back and his place was not filled up. They also alleged that they noticed the misappropriation of funds.

The Trust on the other hand claimed that it is not a public charitable Trust. Hence, the Trial Court cannot have the jurisdiction to entertain a petition.

It was also submitted that Pushpa MK was not a person interested in the affairs of the Trust and therefore, the Trial Court without considering the case of the petitioners on the anvil of the above, allowed the petition.

Judgement-

The High Court had noted, “Section 92 of the CPC is a special provision which provides for securing interest of the general public who are interested in a public charitable or religious Trust or an Institution. In order to maintain a suit under Section 92 of the CPC., persons applying should show the existence of a public charitable or a religious Trust or a purpose. There should be a clear breach of the terms of the Trust. Such a petition could be filed by two persons interested in the affairs of the Trust.

Finally, the bench, from a perusal of the impugned order, concluded that the Trial Court failed to apply its mind to the question of whether the Trust was charitable or religious and whether the petitioners were interested in the affairs of the Trust. The HC hereby set aside the impugned order and directing the Trial Court to expedite the consideration of the petition in accordance with law.

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Judgement reviewed by Alaina Fatima.

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