Case Title: C.V. Chandrasekaran … Petitioner
The Joint Commissioner, and Ors … Respondents
Date of Decision: Reserved on 28.06.2023.
Pronounced On 03.07.2023.
Coram: THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE N.ANAND VENKATESH.
Citation: W.P.Nos. 14663, 14142 and 14150 of 2023.
PETITION under Article 226 of The Constitution of India praying for the issuance of a Writ of Certiorari to call for the records of the first respondent relating to the impugned order Se.Mu.Na.Ka.No.3300 of 2021 A1 dated –/4/2023 passed by the Joint Commissioner, HR and CE, Kanchipuram – the 1st respondent herein and quash the same. The suspended hereditary trustee of Collah Singanna Chetty Charities (hereinafter called the trust) has filed this writ petition assailing the order passed by the first respondent through proceedings (i) framing charges against the petitioner; (ii) suspending the petitioner pending enquiry under Section 53 of the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, and (iii) appointing a fit person to administer the trust.
The petitioner is the hereditary trustee of the trust from the year 1997 after the demise of his father. He was holding the complete administration and management of the trust and running the trust in line with the object, for which, it was established. (ii) Earlier also, the petitioner was suspended from the office of the hereditary trustee by the first respondent through proceedings dated 13.10.2008 on the ground that the petitioner was attempting to sell the properties belonging to the trust. The petitioner challenged the earlier order of suspension dated 13.10.2008 before this Court in W.P. No.25511 of 2008. The said writ petition came to be dismissed by this Court by an order dated 05.11.2019. (iii) Aggrieved by the said order of this Court dated 05.11.2019, the petitioner filed a writ appeal in W.A.No.185 of 2020. A Division Bench of this Court, by a judgment dated 22.9.2020, allowed the said writ appeal by setting aside the earlier order of suspension dated 13.10.2008 passed by the first respondent and further directed the first respondent to pass orders afresh in accordance with law within a period of three months. The Division Bench further continued the interim order that was granted in favour of the petitioner till the matter was finally decided by the first respondent.
(iv) After the Division Bench remanded the matter back to the file of the first respondent, the impugned proceedings came to be issued by framing 26 charges against the petitioner and an enquiry was initiated under Section 53 of the Act. Pending the enquiry, the petitioner was suspended under Section 53(4) of the Act and the fit person was appointed to discharge the duties and perform the functions of the petitioner. Aggrieved by the same, the present writ petition has been filed before this Court.
- Whether thenature of an endowment is that it has to maintain the properties to carryout the objectives of the trust?
- Whether there was financial loss has been caused to the trust and
that the objectives of the trust were not properly performed?
In the instant case, the trust in question is more in the nature of an endowment and it has to maintain the properties to carry out the objectives of the trust. A careful reading of the charges framed against the petitioner shows that the properties belonging to the trust have been allegedly alienated without getting any permission, that, in addition, some of the properties were allowed to be taken away by third parties, who had encroached upon those properties, that a huge financial loss has been caused to the trust and that the objectives of the trust were not properly performed.
The first respondent, before taking a decision to appoint the fit person, ought to have first considered the appointment of the male descendant to hold the post of trusteeship as per the scheme decree. Upon such consideration, if the male descendant is found to be unfit and hence, the first respondent decides to appoint the fit person, the same should have been mentioned in the impugned proceedings. To arrive at a conclusion that the male descendant is unfit to hold the post of trusteeship is not a subjective satisfaction and it has to be considered objectively by assigning reasons. This is in view of the fact that the male descendant, as a matter of right, can hold the post of trusteeship and if it is sought to be denied, the same must be supported by reasons and it should be stated in the proceedings. Only then, the Court can satisfy itself as to whether the decision arrived at by the Authority concerned is reasonable.
In the instant case, there is nothing available in the impugned proceedings to show that the first respondent had first considered the appointment of the male descendant to hold the post of trusteeship, found him to be unfit for any reasons and thereafter appointed the fit person to administer the trust. The impugned proceedings of the first respondent can be tested only from what is stated in the order and not from what is attempted to be improved during the course of proceedings.
The Honourable Mr.Justice N.ANAND VENKATESH, partly allowed the writ petition in following terms :
(a) The order placing the petitioner under suspension and framing the charges against him is upheld and the Competent Authority namely the first respondent is directed to proceed further with the enquiry into the charges and pass final orders within a period of three months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order;
(b) The order of appointment of the fit person is set aside and the first respondent is directed to independently consider the right of the next male descendant to hold the post of trusteeship during the period of suspension of the petitioner. A decision in this regard shall be taken within a period of two weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.
(c) The male descendant, who is next in the line of succession, shall be permitted to temporarily administer the trust till a decision is taken by the first respondent as directed in clause (b) and it is made very clear that none of the properties belonging to the trust shall be dealt with or encumbered till the completion of the enquiry against the petitioner. The income derived by the trust shall be properly accounted and it shall be used only for fulfilling the objectives of the trust.
In the light of the above discussions, the impugned proceedings of the first respondent is liable to be quashed only to the limited extent of appointing the fit person without considering the right of the male descendant to hold the post of trusteeship during the period of suspension of the petitioner.
“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.”
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY JANGAM SHASHIDHAR.