Madras High Court
Madras High Court

Contention of deity as personality in a HR&CE temple case dismissed

Justice SM Subramaniam passed the orders on partially allowing a civil revision petition filed by Arulmigu Akkaraipatti Ponkaliamman, Arulmigu Akkaraipatti Muthusamy and Arulmigu Molipili Annamar Swami Deities Temple in Venganmbur, Erode district, represented by the Executive Officer (EO).

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Monday ruled that a notice under Section 30 of the Code of Civil Procedure should be issued by the plaintiff before initiating a suit against a temple that is under the administration of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department.

Justice SM Subramaniam passed the orders on partially allowing a civil revision petition filed by Arulmigu Akkaraipatti Ponkaliamman, Arulmigu Akkaraipatti Muthusamy and Arulmigu Molipili Annamar Swami Deities Temple in Venganmbur, Erode district, represented by the Executive Officer (EO).

The civil revision petition was filed to set aside the Fair order and Decretal order passed by Additional District Court, Erode.

The plaintiff named R Periyasamy filed an Interlocutory Application under Order 6 Rule 17 and Section 151 of the Civil Procedure Code before the trial court, seeking to amend the plaint.

The trial court adjudicated the issues and allowed the Interlocutory Application filed to amend the plaint. However, the HR&CE challenged the order. According to special government pleader for the temple, the trial court has committed an error in not considering the vital ground raised by the revision petitioner that notice under Section 80 of CPC, was not at all issued by the plaintiff to the revision petitioner/temple, which is administered by the state and the executive officer is a public servant.

Concurring with the submissions, the judge held that the services of the EO is a public servant appointed by the government under the provisions of the rules and therefore, notice under Section 80 of CPC becomes mandatory and the findings in this regard by the trial court are in violation of the provisions of the Rules.

The respondent argued that as per the earlier order of the HC, the deity itself possesses a juristic personality and it can be sued and to be used in its own name. However, the judge rejected the contention saying that this is a different case. “The parties shall raise all other preliminary objections of maintainability of the suit separately by filing appropriate applications,’’ the judge concluded.

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