Donation From Guruvayoor Devaswom Funds To Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund Illegal : Kerala High Court

first_imgNews UpdatesDonation From Guruvayoor Devaswom Funds To Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund Illegal : Kerala High Court LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK18 Dec 2020 8:13 AMShare This – x’All the properties, including movable and immovable properties and money, dedicated to or endowed in the name of Lord Guruvayurappan or any property acquired in any manner by Guruvayur Devaswom shall vest in the idol of Lord Guruvayurappan, consecrated in Sree Krishna Temple, Guruvayur.The Kerala High Court has held that the Guruvayoor Devaswom Managing Committee has no authority to contribute any amount from the Devaswom Funds to Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund or to any other Governmental agency.All the properties, including movable and immovable properties and money, dedicated to or endowed in the name of Lord Guruvayurappan or any property acquired in any manner…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Kerala High Court has held that the Guruvayoor Devaswom Managing Committee has no authority to contribute any amount from the Devaswom Funds to Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund or to any other Governmental agency.All the properties, including movable and immovable properties and money, dedicated to or endowed in the name of Lord Guruvayurappan or any property acquired in any manner by Guruvayur Devaswom shall vest in the idol of Lord Guruvayurappan, consecrated in Sree Krishna Temple, Guruvayur, a full bench comprising of Justices A. Hariprasad, Anu Sivaraman and MR Anitha overruling a judgment delivered last year which had upheld the donation of Rs. 5 crore made during the 2019 floodsReferenceThe court was answering a reference from the Division bench whether the Managing Committee of the Guruvayoor Temple can make donations for non-religious purposes, before the Chief Justice for consideration by a larger bench.A division bench of Justice Shaji P. Chaly and Justice MR Anitha had earlier referred PILs filed by Hindu devotees against the donation of an amount of Rs. 5 crores made by the Committee of the Guruvayoor Devaswom to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund, on May 5, 2020, in view of the COVID-19 situation. The bench had doubted the judgment in Anil V. v. State of Kerala & Ors., WP (C) No. 19035/2019, which had upheld the donation of Rs. 5 crore made during the 2019 floods. It had noted the judgment in CK Rajan v. State AIR 1994 Kerala 179, in which it was held that notwithstanding that donation worth Rs. 5 lakh was made to the CM’s Distress Relief Fund for “laudable purposes”, the same was unauthorized as Section 27 of the Act does not authorize the Managing Committee to make such payments.The following are some of the observations made in the full bench judgment”We hardly find any legal reason to hold that the authority conferred on G.D.M.C. to provide medical relief, water supply and sanitary arrangements under Section 27(c) could be exercised in such a macro-level to cover the entire State or even beyond the State boundary. As pointed out earlier, pilgrims throng Guruvayur Temple from various parts of the country. Likewise, Lord Guruvayurappan is worshipped by hundreds of thousands outside the State too. Is it intended or possible to provide help to all such worshippers and pilgrims in case of any natural calamity affecting them happens elsewhere in the country In our view, the answer is an emphatic negative. If the argument raised by the learned counsel for the respondents that the Devaswom funds can be utilized for providing medical relief, water supply and sanitary arrangements to the worshippers and pilgrims anywhere in the State is accepted, it will lead to absurd results. There will be no legal logic for denying medical aid, water supply and sanitary arrangements to the worshippers and pilgrims staying outside the territorial limits of the State, if they also face such an alarming situation Moreover, it is an admitted case that the Devaswom provides medical relief by running a hospital at Guruvayur. Further, they provide water supply sanitary arrangements and accommodation facility to the worshippers and pilgrims. “We do not intend to limit G.D.M.CS authority, rather obligation to provide medical reef, water supply and sanitary arrangements in the close proximity of the Temple premises alone. However, it shall be done at any place within a reasonable distance with a view to benefit the worshippers and pilgrims. By any stretch of the imagination we find no legal reason to read and understand the expressions medical relief. water supply and sanitary arrangements to the worshippers and pilgrims occurring in Section 27(c) in an expansive sense to cover the entire State. Moreover, nowhere in the impugned decisions or proceedings there mention about G.D.M.C. or Commissioner applying their mind regarding the predicament of the worshippers or pilgrims at the time of taking the decision to give away amounts from the Devaswom funds”The conclusions made by the bench are as follows :1) All the properties, including movable and immovable properties and money, dedicated to or endowed in the name of Lord Guruvayurappan or any property acquired in any manner by Guruvayur Devaswom shall vest in the idol of Lord Guruvayurappan, consecrated in Sree Krishna Temple, Guruvayur.2) Guravoyoor Devaswom Management Committee(G.D.M.C) constituted under Section 3 of the Guravayoor Devaswom Act of 1978 is legally bound to administer, control and manage all the properties belonging to Guruvayur Devaswom in accordance with the provisions of the said Act. The Administrator and the Commissioner shall also function in accordance with the provisions of the said Act. 3) The legal status of G.D.M.C. constituted under Section 3 of the Act of 1978 is that of a trustee in management of the Devaswom properties and the Committee is duty bound to scrupulously follow the stipulations contained in the Act of 1978. Unless a contrary intention, either expressly or by necessary implication, arises from the provisions of the statute in any particular subject or context, G.D.M.C. is legally bound to administer and manage the Devaswom and its properties in accordance with the settled legal principles relating to the administration of Hindu Religious Trusts.4) G.D.M.C., being the trustee in management of Devaswom properties, is legally bound to perform its duties with utmost care and caution. In view of the settled legal principles that the trustees cannot delegate their powers and duties to any other person, we hold that G.D.M.C. cannot delegate its powers, functions and duties under the Act of 1978 to the State Government or any other entity.5) None of the provisions in the Act of 1978, including Section 27, authorises G.D.M.C. or the Administrator or the Commissioner to contribute or part with or give away in any manner any amount from the funds belonging to Guruvayur Devaswom, either to C.M.D.R.F. or to any other Governmental agency, for any purpose specified under the Act of 1978, including Section 27 of the Act, since it is the non-negotiable obligation of G.D.M.C., as a trustee, to perform the duties and obligations enumerated therein all by itself or, in an exigency, directly under its supervision and control through other means.6) Section 27(c) of the Act of 1978 relating to medical relief, water supply and other sanitary arrangements for the worshippers and pilgrims cannot be read and understood detached from that part in the clause relating to the construction of buildings for the accommodation of worshippers and pilgrims. Scope of Section 27(c) cannot be widened so as to provide medical relief, water supply and other sanitary arrangements as contemplated under the impugned decisions/orders.7) View adopted by the Division Bench in W.P.(C) No. 19035 of 2019 on Section 27 of the Act of 1978 is legally unsound and unsustainable. We overrule the decision.After answering the reference, the full bench send back the writ petitions to the regular bench.Case: Bijesh Kumar M. v. State of Kerala & Ors. [WP (C) No. 20495/2019] Read Judgment https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/can-a-temple-committee-make-donations-to-a-non-religious-purpose-kerala-hc-refers-to-larger-bench-the-plea-against-donation-of-guruvayoor-devaswom-to-cm-relied-fund-156582Next Storylast_img read more