Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charity Endowment authorized to frame schemes in matters of religious charity

Supreme Court: Answering an appeal preferred against the judgment of Madras High Court the division bench of M.Y. Eqbal and C. Nagappan, J.J, held that the framing of a scheme in respect of religious charities  is within the ambit of powers vested in Section 64 of Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Act, 1959 (TNHR&CE).

The present case had arisen because of the will executed by one Soundararajan in favor of his two daughters and one nephew. His nephew alienated a small portion of land not supposed to be alienated and was asked to perform certain charities mentioned in the will. R.Venkataramani, on behalf of the appellant argued that, as per the will executed by Soundararajan there is no charitable activity of public character, the religious acts do not constitute public trust and Madras High Court has misinterpreted the Section 64(1) of TNHR&CE Act by misreading the will. On the contrary, the counsel on behalf of the respondent supported the judgment of High Court and said pious acts mentioned in the will are religious charities and framing of scheme in respect of it comes within the scope of Section 64 of the said Act.

While deciding this matter, the Court referred the case of Mahant Ram Saroop Dasji v S.P. Sahi, AIR 1959 SC 951, where the Court precisely stated the difference in Hindu Law between religious endowments which are public and those which are private. The Court has also said that the expression ‘attached’ in the Section 64 of the said Act has to be interpreted having regard to the history of the legislation and scheme and object of the Act. [K.S. Soundararajan v. Commissioner of H.R & C.E, 2015 SCC OnLine SC 1245, Decided on 24-11- 2015]

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