Pat HC | Bihar Hindu Religious Trust Act: Mahant appointing his grandson as trustee of Math – not illegal

Patna High Court: The Bench of Rajeev Ranjan Prasad, J. dismissed a civil writ petition challenging the appointment of Mahant of a Math.

The present petition was filed challenging the order passed by Mahanth of Kishunpur Surmaha Thakurwari Trust, constituted under Bihar Hindu Religious Trust Act, 1950 vide which he appointed his own grandson (respondent 3) as the trustee of Math.

It was averred that despite recording an observation that the appointment of one’s own son and grandson as a successor in public charitable trust is not a healthy trend and may be prejudicial to interest of the trust, the Administrator cum Special Executive Officer (respondent 2) did not interfere with the impugned order but rather affirmed the same holding that there was no illegality or infirmity in the procedure adopted for appointment of Mahanth. The said nomination was further wrongly approved by the Bihar State Religious Trust Board.

The Court noted that Section 28(2) (s) of the Act permits a trustee to appoint his successor in his lifetime. The acting Mahanth, being the trustee, had the power to appoint his successor during his lifetime. Respondent 3 was a disciple of the erstwhile Mahanth and also qualified the eligibility criteria contained in the trust deed. Thus, the procedure adopted for his appointment as a successor of the Math was in accordance with law.

It was opined that the observations made by respondent 2 could not be considered unless it was incorporated into the Act governing the subject. [Lakshman Das v. Bihar State Religious Trust Board, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 20, Order dated 07-01-2019]

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