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Trust and Charities: Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950 – ss. 50, 51, 19, 20, 79 and 80 – Disputes relating to property of trusts – Permission of Charity Commissioner to institute the suit – Original owner dedicating plot in favour of idol by virtue of gift deed – Trustee of temple taking possession of the property – After eight years, original owner executing sale deed for consideration of Rs. 17,500/- in respect of the same property, in favour of purchaser – Suit for possession of property and claim of Rs. 17,500/- as damages by purchaser – Suit for possession dismissed, however, decreed to the extent of damages to be paid by original owner to purchaser, with future interest – Order passed by trial court set aside by first appellate court as also High Court – On appeal, held: Purchaser of the property was not in possession of the property – They published notice inviting objections before purchasing property – Possession of the property was delivered to the trust, thus, it is obligatory for the purchaser to seek permission from the Charity Commissioner u/ss. 50 and 51 before instituting a civil suit – Also it was incumbent upon the original owner to seek permission from Charity Commissioner before executing a sale deed – Gift being a dedication of idol, transfer in favour of trust was valid transfer and did not require registration – Thus, suit for possession barred in terms of ss. 19, 20, 79 and 80 – Order of High Court is set aside and that of trial court is restored with modification to the extent that trust would pay the purchaser Rs. 17,500/- without interest – Transfer of Property Act, 1882 – s. 123 – Registration – Deeds and documents. In the year 1974, respondent No. 8 dedicated certain property to the idol of Saibaba by way of a gift deed. The possession was handed over to the appellant-temple trust, registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Act 1950, for building a residential accommodation for devotees of the temple run by the appellant-temple trust. In the year 1982, the predecessor of respondent Nos. 1 to 7 intended to purchase the said property and published notice in the newspaper, inviting objections before the purchase of the property. Thereafter, they purchased the property from respondent No. 8 by a registered sale deed for a consideration of Rs. 17,000/- and took possession of the property; and subsequently sent a notice to the appellant-trust to vacate the property but the appellant-trust refused to vacate stating that they were the owners of the property. The predecessor of respondent Nos. 1 to 7 then filed a suit for possession and claimed Rs. 17,500/- as damages against the appellant-temple trust. The trial court dismissed the suit as regards the recovery of the possession of the property. However, the suit was decreed to the extent of damages of Rs. 17,500/- to be paid to the respondent Nos. 1 to 7 by respondent No. 8 with future interest. The first appellate court set aside the order passed by the trial court. The High Court upheld the order passed by the first appellate court. Therefore, the appellant-temple trust filed the instant appeal. =Allowing the appeal, the Court HELD: 1.1. It is evident from the record that it was the case of the plaintiff/respondent that they were not in possession of the plot in question. The finding recorded by the trial court which was not interfered either by the first appellate court or the High Court was that the plaintiff/respondent was not in possession of the suit property in spite of the sale deed dated 14.10.1982 and the possession of the suit property was never delivered to the plaintiff or their legal heirs, respondent Nos. 1 to 7. It can logically be inferred that for this very reason the plaintiff/respondent published a notice in a daily newspaper inviting objections before purchasing the property as in the normal circumstance, if a sale deed is executed by a private party holding title to the suit property in favour of another private party, the question of publishing a notice in the newspaper does not arise since the transaction of sale between two private parties do not normally require issuance of a notice in the newspaper inviting objections. [Para 12] [289-C-G] 1.2. When the disputed plot had already been dedicated in favour of the idol by virtue of a deed of gift, of which the appellant is a trustee, and the same was acted upon, as possession also was delivered to the appellant trust, it was surely necessary for respondent Nos. 1 to 7-purchaser of the suit land and also incumbent upon respondent No. 8-vendor of the sale deed to seek permission from the Charity Commissioner under Sections 50 and 51 of the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950 before a sale deed could be executed in regard to the disputed plot and more so before a civil suit could be instituted. Therefore, the dedication of the plot for charitable purpose in the nature of gift having been acted upon as a result of which the possession was also delivered to the appellant-trust, the civil suit filed by the predecessor of contesting respondent Nos. 1-7 for possession was expressly barred in terms of Sections 19, 20, 79 and 80 of the Act. [Para 13] [290-A-D] 1.3. The gift deed was an unregistered instrument and no title could pass on the basis of the same under Section 123 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882. However, when the document is in the nature of a dedication of immovable property to God, the same does not require registration as it constitutes a religious trust and is exempted from registration. [Para 14] [290-E-F] Narasimhaswami vs. Venkatalingam and Ors. AIR 1927 Mad. 636; Bhupati Nath vs. Basantakumari AIR 1936 Cal. 556; Chief Controlling Revenue Authority vs. Sarjubai AIR 1944 Nag. 33; Pallayya vs. Ramavadhanulu 13 M.L.J. 364 – referred to. 1.4. Even if no final opinion is expressed that the deed of gift executed in favour of the appellant-trust having not been registered, did not confer any title on the appellant-trust, it is not possible to brush aside the contention that the respondent Nos.1 to 7-purchaser of the plot were legally bound by Section 51 of the Act to obtain consent of Charity Commissioner before institution of the suit against the appellant which was admittedly in possession of the property after the gift deed was executed in its favour by the respondent No.8. Section 51 further envisages the right of appeal by the affected party if the Charity Commissioner refuses his consent to the institution of the suit. Prior to this, Section 50 (ii) already envisages that where a direction or decree is required to recover the possession of or to follow a property belonging or alleged to be belonging to a public trust, a suit by or against or relating to public trust or trustees or other although may be filed, consent under Section 51 of the Charity Commissioner is clearly required under Section 51 of the Act. [Paras 15 and 16] [292-E-F; 293-B-D] 1.5. The respondent-purchaser of plot went to the extent of publishing a notice in a local daily inviting objections indicating that he intended to purchase a suit land, but he conveniently ignored the provisions of Section 51 of the Act and refused to apply to the Charity Commissioner before instituting a suit against the appellant-trust even though the possession of the plot was delivered to the appellant-trust way back in the year 1974 and after more than eight years, the respondent No.8-vendor executed a sale deed in favour of the predecessor of respondent Nos.1 to 7. Although the relevance of Section 51 of the Act is clearly apparent and the appellant also raised it before the High Court, the Single Judge of the High Court did not even address the important issue having a legal bearing on the right of the appellant to retain the plot, which, although in the form of a deed of gift, was practically in the nature of dedication to the appellant- trust for the charitable purpose of constructing a `Bhakt Niwas’ for the devotees of Saibaba. In view of the possession of the property by the appellant-trust, it was obligatory on the part of the purchasers of the plot to seek permission from the Charity Commissioner under Section 51 of the Act, to recover the property by filing a suit or initiating a proceeding. [Paras 17 and 18] [293-D-H; 294-A-E] K. Shamrao and Ors. vs. Assistant Charity Commissioner (2003) 3 SCC 563 – referred to. 1.6 Section 79 (1) of the Act lays down that any question, whether or not a trust exists and such trust is a public trust or particular property is the property of such trust, is required to be decided under its statutory force by the Deputy or Assistant Charity Commissioner as provided under the Act and Section 80 bars jurisdiction of the civil court to decide or deal with any question which is by or under the Act to be decided or dealt with by any officer or authority under the Act. Thus, when the appellant-trust was in occupation and possession of the property, then the respondent-plaintiff clearly could not have approached the civil court ignoring the specific provision under the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950 which laid down the provisions to deal with disputes relating to the property of the trusts. It was the statutory requirement of the Act to approach the Charity Commissioner before a suit could be instituted. [Paras 18 and 19] [294-F-H; 295-A-C] 1.7 The judgment and order of the High Court as also the first appellate court is set aside and the judgment and order of the trial court dismissing the suit filed by the plaintiff-respondents No.1 to 7 is restored. The trial court, however, had decreed the suit for return of the money of Rs.17,500/- to the predecessor of respondents No.1 to 7 and had also directed the respondent No.8 to pay interest on the said amount. The respondent No.8 had already been divested of his title to execute a sale deed in favour of respondent Nos.1 to 7 as he had already executed a deed of gift in favour of the appellant-trust for charitable purpose. In the interest of equity, respondent No.8 should not be saddled with the financial liability to return the amount of Rs.17,500/- with interest to the respondent Nos.1-7. The amount, in the interest of equity and fair play, should be paid by the appellant-trust to the respondent Nos.1-7 on behalf of respondent No.8, since the said part of the decree which was passed by the trial court in favour of respondent Nos. 1-7 was not challenged by way of an appeal by respondent No.8. But since the appellant- trust is the rightful owner of the disputed plot and the respondent No.8 as a consequence was divested of the property, the amount paid by the predecessor of respondent Nos.1-7, should be refunded to respondent Nos.1-7 without interest and, thus, the decree of the trial court is modified to the said extent. [Para 20] [295-D-H; 296-A-B] Case Law Reference: AIR 1927 Mad. 636 Referred to. Para 14 AIR 1936 Cal. 556 Referred to. Para 14 AIR 1944 Nag. 33 Referred to. Para 14 13 M.L.J. 364 Referred to. Para 14 (2003) 3 SCC 563 Referred to. Para 18 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal No. 3030 of 2004. From the Judgment & Order dated 27.3.2003 of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, bench at Nagpur in Second Appeal No. 246 of 1990. U.U. Lalit, Anil Kadu, Satyajit A. Desai, Anangha S. Desai, Venkateswara Rao Anumolu for =the Appellant. Shivaji M. Jadhav for the Respondent.

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Reportable

 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3030 OF 2004

SAINATH MANDIR TRUST ...Appellant

 Versus

VIJAYA & ORS. ...Respondents

 JUDGMENT

GYAN SUDHA MISRA, J.

 This appeal by special leave has been filed against the

Judgment and Order dated 27.03.2003 passed by the High

Court of Judicature at Bombay, Bench at Nagpur, in Second

Appeal No. 246 of 1990 whereby the appeal was dismissed

on merit. Consequently, the judgment of reversal passed by

the Additional District Judge, Amaravati allowing the appeal

and setting aside the judgment and order of the Trial Court

which had dismissed the suit of the plaintiff/respondent,

was upheld.
 2
2. The origin of this appeal at the instance of the

defendant/appellant herein emanates from a Regular Civil

Suit No. 166 of 1983 which had been filed by the deceased

plaintiff-Shri Vitthal Motiramji Mandale who is now

represented by his legal heirs Respondent Nos. 1-7, for

possession and damages valued at Rs. 17,500/- in the Court

of Civil Judge Senior Division, Amaravati, against the

appellant - Sainath Mandir Trust which is a registered

public trust within the provisions of Bombay Public Trusts

Act 1950. The suit land comprises of a plot bearing No. 57,

arising out of original fields bearing Survey No. 33, situated

at Saturana in the outskirts of Amravati Township. As per

the case of the defendant/appellant herein, which

admittedly is a public trust, the suit property was dedicated

to the idol of Saibaba by the respondent No. 8 /original

defendant No.2 by way of a gift deed executed way back on

31.1.1974 which according to the appellant's version, was

immediately acted upon as possession was also handed over

to the appellant-trust which is in occupation of the suit

property till date. It is the specific case of the

defendant/appellant that the suit plot was donated by way

of a gift deed executed by the original defendant No.2
 3
/respondent No. 8 herein Shri Vasant Mahadeo Fartode on

31.1.1974 essentially for building a residential

accommodation for devotees of the Saibaba Mandir run by

the appellant-trust. Thus, by virtue of the gift deed, the

admitted owner respondent No. 8 / original defendant No. 2

Shri Vasant Mahadeo Fartode was divested of the title over

the suit property after he executed the gift deed and also

delivered possession of the plot to the appellant-trust.

Hence, as per the case of the appellant Sainath Mandir

Trust, the gift deed dated 31.1.1974 was duly acted upon

since the appellant immediately came in possession of the

suit property and continues to remain in possession of the

same till date ever since 1974.

3. As against the aforesaid case of the appellant, the

predecessor of the contesting respondent Nos. 1-7, late Shri

Vitthal Motiramji Mandale who is now legally represented by

the respondent Nos. 1-7, intended to purchase the suit

property and therefore issued a notice in daily "Matrbhumi"

dated 2.10.1982 thereby inviting objections in respect of the

said plot. Further, case of the respondent Nos. 1 to 7 is that

no objections were received in response to the notice as a
 4
result of which the predecessor of respondent Nos. 1 to 7 i.e.

late Shri Vitthal Motiramji Mandale purchased the plot from

the respondent No. 8-Shri Vasant Mahadeo Fartode by a

registered sale deed dated 14.10.1982 for a consideration of

Rs. 17,000/-. As per the plaintiff/respondent's case, they

also claimed to have immediately taken possession of the

said property after execution of the sale deed and it is

further averred that when the contesting respondents

wanted to put fence around the said plot, then on 4.12.1982

they noticed a board on the disputed plot which was put up

by the appellant-trust on which it was mentioned that the

respondent No. 8/defendant No.2 had given the said plot to

the appellant-trust for construction of a residential

accommodation for the devotees of Saibaba Mandir. In view

of this notice, the respondents sent a notice on 7.12.1982 to

the appellant-trust to remove the board and further do not

obstruct to the fencing of the suit plot which was responded

by the appellant-trust stating that they are in possession of

the suit plots since 31.1.1974 and are owners of the plot in

question and cannot be directed to vacate.
 5
4. The respondent felt seriously aggrieved with this

response and hence a Regular Civil Suit No. 166 of 1983 was

filed by the predecessor of the contesting respondent Nos. 1

to 7 - Shri Vitthal Motiramji Mandale for possession and

damages valued at Rs. 17,500/- in the Court of Civil Judge,

Senior Division, Amaravati. The appellant-trust contested

the suit by filing a written statement on 19.12.1983

asserting their ownership and possession over the suit

property since 31.1.1974. It was stated therein that the suit

land had already been gifted to the appellant-trust by gift

deed dated 31.1.1974 which was properly executed and

validly attested and had also been acted upon by the parties

concerned. It was, therefore, submitted therein that by

virtue of the gift deed respondent No. 8/defendant No. 2

had no subsisting title or ownership as regards the suit

property and as such he was not entitled to subsequently

execute any sale deed in respect of the suit property.

5. The learned IInd Joint Civil Judge, Junior Division,

Amravati who tried the suit was finally pleased to dismiss

the suit and denied the relief regarding the recovery of

possession of the said plot. However, the suit was decreed to
 6
the extent of damages of Rs. 17,500/- to be paid to the

respondent/original plaintiff by the respondent No.

8/original defendant No.2 within 30 days alongwith the

costs of the suit. It was further directed that the respondent

No. 8/original defendant No.2 shall pay future interest on

the principal amount of Rs. 17,000/- from the date of filing

of the suit till its full realization at the rate of Rs. 10/- per

cent per annum to the predecessor of respondent Nos. 1 to 7

herein as it was held that respondent No. 8 could not

execute the sale deed in favour of a third party i.e. the

predecessor of respondent Nos. 1 to 7 herein as he had

already executed a gift deed in favour of the appellant way

back on 31.1.1974 which was acted upon as a result of

which the appellant-trust was already in possession of the

suit land. Thus, the Trial Court was pleased to dismiss the

respondent/ original plaintiff's claim in so far as the recovery

of possession of the suit plot is concerned.

6. The predecessor of the plaintiff/respondent Nos. 1 to 7

assailed the judgment and order of the Trial Court before the

Court of learned District Judge, Amaravati and the

appellant-trust also filed cross-objections challenging the
 7
findings of the trial court in so far as the validity of the gift

deed executed in favour of the appellant was concerned. It

had been submitted therein that the gift dated 31.1.1974

was for a price below Rs. 100 and it was in favour of the

deity and as such was admissible; hence the Trial Court

committed an error in holding that the gift deed was not

valid. The appellant therein had also contended that the gift

deed conferred a legal and valid title coupled with possession

in favour of the appellant-trust and hence the subsequent

documents of sale deed claimed to have been executed in

favour of the plaintiff/contesting respondents ought not to

have been ignored as the vendor Shri Vitthal Motiramji

Mandale was not left with any title concerning the suit

property. It was further pointed out from various

circumstances and evidence brought on record, that a

fraudulent collusion exited between the original plaintiff and

the defendant Nos.1 and 2 i.e. vendor and the vendee and

the alleged sale deed did not confer any title to the vendee

since the vendor had already executed a gift deed in favour

of the appellant-trust almost 8 years prior to execution of

the gift deed which was acted upon and possession was

delivered to the appellant-trust. However, the First Appellate
 8
Court being the Court of Additional District Judge,

Amaravati was pleased to allow the appeal of the

plaintiff/respondents and rejected the cross-objections filed

by the appellant-trust.

7. Being aggrieved by the Judgment and Order dated

4.5.1990 passed by the Additional District Judge,

Amaravati, the appellant-trust was constrained to prefer a

Second Appeal No. 246 of 1990 before the High Court of

Judicature at Bombay, Nagpur Bench, Nagpur wherein the

substantial questions of law, inter alia, was raised that the

civil suit filed by the plaintiff/respondent was expressly

barred in terms of the provisions of Sections 19, 20, 79 and

80 of the Bombay Public Trusts Act 1950. The substantial

question of law was further raised whether the gift deed

dated 31.1.1974 being an Act of "Dedication" of the suit

property by the respondent No. 8 to the deity which is not a

"living person" would not be "Dedication" of property in

terms of Section 123 of the Transfer of Property Act and

hence whether the provisions of the same are not applicable

to the deed of gift which had been executed in favour of the

deity. Substantial question was also raised whether the suit
 9
could be entertained without permission of the Charity

Commissioner under Sections 50 and 51 of the Bombay

Public Trusts Act 1950 which had not been obtained by the

original plaintiff prior to filing of the suit. The gift deed dated

31.1.1974 having been acted upon in pursuance of which

the appellant-trust came in possession of the said property

since 31.1.1974 and continues to be in possession till date,

could not have been ordered to be restored in favour of the

plaintiff/respondent predecessor as the sale deed dated

14.10.1982 which was subsequently executed by the vendor,

could not confer any right and title to the respondent /

purchaser as the plot in question had already been

dedicated to the idol of which the appellant is the trust.

8. The learned single Judge of the High Court of Bombay

at Nagpur Bench, Nagpur, however, was pleased to dismiss

the appeal as it was held that Section 123 of the Transfer of

Property Act lays down the procedure in which the property

can be transferred by way of a gift and it is necessary that

the said document should have been registered and it

should have been signed by the donor attested by two

witnesses. It was held that none of the requirements have
 1
been complied and, therefore, the appeal against the

judgment and order of the Additional District Judge,

Amaravati was not fit to be entertained. Consequently the

appeal stood dismissed against which this appeal by special

leave has been filed by the appellant -Sainath Mandir Trust

and the special leave having been granted in favour of the

appellant, this appeal has come up before us for hearing and

its adjudication.

9. In so far as the contention of the plaintiff/respondent

in support of the Judgment and Order of the High Court as

also First Appellate Court is concerned, the arguments

advanced before the Courts below have been reiterated

which was accepted by the High Court which held that the

gift deed executed in favour of the deity of which the

appellant is a trustee, conferred no right and title in favour

of the deity and therefore the donor had every right to

execute subsequently a sale deed in favour of the

predecessor of the contesting respondents in view of which

the suit filed by the predecessor of contesting respondent

Nos. 1 to 7 was rightly decreed in their favour by the First
 1
Appellate Court being the Court of Additional District Judge

which was upheld by the High Court.

10. Learned counsel for the contesting defendant/the

appellant-trust on its part submitted at the threshold that

the gift deed which was executed in favour of the deity

clearly reveals that the same is a "Dedication" to an idol and

not a "living person" by the respondent No. 8/original

defendant No. 2 and thus the same can be said to be a valid

transfer in terms of Section 123 of the Transfer of Property

Act. Elaborating on this aspect, it was submitted that the

idea, intention and the feelings of the donor behind the gift

deed has not been taken into consideration and going by the

nomenclature of the document, if the intention of the donor

is appropriately construed from the words of the gift deed,

the same will clearly and unambiguously suggest that the

defendant No.2-Vasant Fartode who was a devotee of

Saibaba had dedicated the said property to the idol for the

construction of `Bhakta Niwas'. This issue was specifically

raised in the cross-appeal filed before the District Judge and

was reiterated in the Second Appeal. The gift in question was

a `dedication to the idol' and hence the same was a valid
 1
transfer in favour of the appellant-trust and, therefore, there

was no question of any registration of the same, since the

gift deed was executed on 31.1.1974 and was clearly acted

upon as possession was also handed over to the appellant-

trust. The finding of the Trial Court would clearly

demonstrate that the appellant was in possession of the said

property in question and the same is an undisputed

position. The very fact that the suit for possession was

required to be filed by the respondent/original plaintiff

further substantiates the fact that the gift deed was acted

upon and possession was delivered to the appellant-trust.

11. Supplementing the aforesaid arguments, it was still

further contended that in view of the "dedication" of the

property to the idol of which the appellant is a trustee, any

suit for possession against such property could not have

been filed without the requisite permission of the Charity

Commissioner under Sections 50 and 51 of the Bombay

Public Trusts Act 1950. A mere perusal of Section 50 Sub-

Section (2) of the Bombay Public Trusts Act specifically

indicates that "where a direction or decree is required to

recover the possession or to follow property belonging `or
 1
alleged' to be belonging to a public trust" and a dispute

arises in regard to the same, permission of the Charity

Commissioner was clearly a necessary legal requirement.

Hence, it was submitted that as the appellant-trust is in

possession of the plot in question and the relief of

possession was sought by plaintiff/respondent, the requisite

permission under Sections 50 and 51 became mandatory

before filing such a suit, failing which the suit ought to have

been rendered as not maintainable. The requirement or

necessity of such a permission is the basic requirement at

the very threshold and it is impermissible for the Court to

enter into the merits of the matter vis-`-vis the validity of the

transfer etc. in such a suit which does not comply with the

basic requirement of obtaining such a permission. Hence, it

was contended that First Appellate Court as also the High

Court have clearly erred in going into the issues of title and

validity of the transfer which are only subsequent issues

which would arise only if the suit qualified the test of

Sections 50 and 51 of the Act. The Courts below also failed

to take into consideration that the suit was bad for non-

joinder of necessary parties in terms of Order XXXI Rule 2 of

C.P.C. as all the trustees of the Trust were not joined as
 1
parties and hence the Trial Court was clearly justified in

dismissing the suit as not maintainable for want of

necessary permission of the Charity Commissioner under

Sections 50 and 51 of the Act as well as non-joinder of all

the trustees in terms of Order XXXI Rule 2 of the C.P.C. It

was also submitted that the appellant-trust has been in

uninterrupted possession of the suit land since 31.1.1974

and the suit property in question had already been included

and recorded by the Charity Commissioner as a property of

the trust and the Change Report to that effect was required

in terms of Section 22 of the Bombay Public Trusts Act. It

was finally submitted that the property in question was

gifted for a pious purpose of construction of `Bhakta Niwas'

and, therefore, considering the aforesaid factors and the

comparative hardships to the parties, the suit for possession

is not only fit to be dismissed on the ground of its

maintainability but even on the merits of the matter.

12. Having heard the counsel for the parties and

considering the merits of the arguments advanced by

learned counsel for the contesting parties, it is evident from

the record that the plaintiff/respondent first of all intended
 1
to purchase the suit property in the year 1982 and,

therefore, published a notice in the daily "Matrbhumi" dated

2.10.1982 whereby objections were invited in respect of the

said plot. It is the case of the contesting respondent Nos. 1

to 7 that since no objections were received, the original

plaintiff - Shri Vitthal Motiramji Mandale purchased it from

the respondent No. 8/original defendant No.2 by registered

sale deed dated 14.10.1982 for a consideration of Rs.

17,000/- but even as per the case of the contesting

respondent No. 7, the appellant-trust resisted their action in

taking physical possession of the suit land as they were

restrained from putting up fence on the land in question

which prompted them to immediately take action and they

were compelled to file a suit for possession. Thus, even as

per their own case, the plaintiff/respondent was not in

possession of the plot in question. In addition to this, the

finding recorded by the Trial Court which has not been

interfered either by the First Appellate Court or the High

Court, the plaintiff/respondent was not in possession of the

suit property in spite of the sale deed dated 14.10.1982 and

the possession of the suit property was never delivered to the

plaintiff predecessor or their legal heirs i.e. respondent Nos.
 1
1 to 7. It can logically be inferred that it is for this very

reason that the plaintiff/respondent had published a notice

in a daily newspaper "Matrbhumi" inviting objections before

purchasing the property as in the normal circumstance, if a

sale deed is executed by a private party holding title to the

suit property in favour of another private party, the question

of publishing a notice in the newspaper does not arise since

the transaction of sale between two private parties do not

normally require issuance of a notice in the newspaper

inviting objections.

13. Under the aforesaid background, the contention of

learned counsel for the appellant that permission should

have been obtained from the Charity Commissioner under

Sections 50 and 51 of the Bombay Public Trusts Act

assumes significance and its legal implication cannot be

overlooked. When the disputed plot had already been

dedicated in favour of the idol by virtue of a deed of gift, of

which the appellant is a trustee and the same was acted

upon as possession also was delivered to the appellant trust,

it was surely necessary for the plaintiff/respondent Nos. 1 to

7/purchaser of the suit land and also incumbent upon
 1
respondent No. 8 /vendor of the sale deed to seek

permission from the Charity Commissioner before a sale

deed could be executed in regard to the disputed plot and

more so before a civil suit could be instituted. We, therefore,

find substance in the contention of learned counsel for the

appellant, that the dedication dated 31.1.1974 of the plot for

charitable purpose in the nature of gift having been acted

upon as a result of which the possession also was delivered

to the appellant-trust, the civil suit filed by the predecessor

of contesting respondent Nos. 1-7 for possession was

expressly barred in terms of Sections 19, 20, 79 and 80 of

the Bombay Public Trusts Act 1950.

14. It is no doubt true that the gift deed was an

unregistered instrument and no title could pass on the basis

of the same under Section 123 of the Transfer of Property

Act. However, when the document is in the nature of a

dedication of immovable property to God, the same does not

require registration as it constitutes a religious trust and is

exempt from registration. We have taken note of a Full

Bench decision of the Madras High Court reported in AIR

1927 Mad. 636 in the case of Narasimhaswami vs.
 1
Venkatalingam and others, wherein it was held that

Section 123 of the Transfer of Property Act does not apply to

such a case for "God" is not a "living person" and so the

transaction is not a "transfer" as defined by Sec.5 of the

Transfer of Property Act. Thus, a gift to an idol may be oral

and it may be effected also by an unregistered instrument.

But a different view has been taken in the case of Bhupati

Nath vs. Basantakumari, AIR 1936 Cal. 556; Chief

Controlling Revenue Authority vs. Sarjubai, AIR 1944

Nag. 33. In the Full Bench decision of the Madras High

Court in the matter of Narasimhaswami (supra), it had been

argued that a gift to idol of lands worth over Rs.100 requires

registration and that a mere recital in the deed of gift which

had been made, would not pass property. But it had been

held by the Full Bench that dedication of property to God by

a Hindu does not require any document and that property

can be validly dedicated without any registered instrument.

In the aforesaid case, the deed of gift was not to a specified

idol but to the Almighty Sri Kodanda Ramachandra Moorti.

Dealing with this matter, the Full Bench took note of the

observation in the matter of Pallayya vs. Ramavadhanulu,

reported in 13 M.L.J. 364 wherein it was held by Benson
 1
and Bhashyam Aiyangar, JJ. that a declaration of trust in

relation to immovable property for a public religious purpose

is not governed by the Indian Trusts Act which by S. 1

declares it inapplicable to religious trusts. It was also held

that S. 123 of the Transfer of Property Act has no application

to dedication of land to the public as the section only applied

to cases when the donee is an ascertained or ascertainable

person by whom or on whose behalf a gift can be accepted or

refused. Taking notice of several authorities, it was held

that no document was necessary for the dedication of

property to charity. The Full Bench recorded as follows: "We

have not been referred to any case where it has been held

that an oral gift for a religious purpose requires registration.

In this connection, I may point out that S. 123 of the

Transfer of Property Act only applies to transfer by one living

person to another". S. 5 of the Act runs as follows: "In the

following sections, `transfer of property' means an act by

which a living person conveys property, in present or in

future, to one or more other living persons, or to himself and

one or more other living persons and `to transfer property' is

to perform such act. The learned Judges noted that a gift to

God which in the said case was Sri Kodanda Ramachandra
 2
Moorti cannot be held to be a gift to a living person. It had

been argued in the said matter that an idol in law is

recognised to be a juristic person capable of holding property

and it must be held that a gift to an idol is a gift to a living

person. But it was held therein that the Almighty by no

stretch of imagination, legal or otherwise, can be said that

the Almighty is a living person within the meaning of the

Transfer of Property Act. The learned Judges of the Full

Bench saw no reason to differ from the Madras case cited in

that matter where the law had been settled for several years

as it was observed that the principle of `stare decisis' should

be applied unless there are strong reasons to the contrary as

otherwise it would unsettle many titles. Concurring with

this view, Chief Justice Reilly held that if the gift is not

intended to a living person within the meaning of S. 5 of the

Transfer of Property Act, the document would not require

registration. This judgment surely has a persuasive value to

the issue with which we are confronted in the instant matter

and tilts the scale of justice in favour of the appellant-trust

as the plot was essentially dedicated to Sai Baba for a

charitable purpose, although the same was in the form of an

unregistered deed of gift.
 2

15. But even if we were to accept the contentious issue or

leave it open and express no final opinion that the deed of

gift executed in favour of the appellant-trust having not been

registered, did not confer any title on the appellant-trust, it

is not possible to brush aside the contention that the

respondent Nos.1 to 7-purchaser of the plot in question were

legally bound by Section 51 of the Bombay Public Trusts Act

1950 to obtain consent of Charity Commissioner before

institution of the suit against the appellant which was

admittedly in possession of the property after the gift deed

was executed in its favour by the respondent No.8. It would

be relevant to quote Section 51 at this stage which lays down

as follows:

 51 (1) : "If the persons having an
 interest in any public trust intend to file a
 suit of the nature specified in section 50,
 they shall apply to the Charity
 Commissioner in writing for his consent. If
 the Charity Commissioner after hearing
 the parties and making such enquiries (if
 any) as he thinks fit is specified that there
 is a prima facie case, he may within a
 period of six months from the date on
 which the application is made, grant or
 refuse his consent to the institution of
 such suit. The order of the Charity
 Commissioner refusing his consent shall
 2
 be in writing and shall state the reasons
 for the refusal."

16. Section 51 further envisages right of appeal by the

affected party if the Charity Commissioner refuses his

consent to the institution of the suit. Prior to this Section 50

(ii) already envisages that where a direction or decree is

required to recover the possession of or to follow a property

belonging or alleged to be belonging to a public trust, a suit

by or against or relating to public trust or trustees or other

although may be filed, consent under Section 51 of the

Charity Commissioner is clearly required under Section 51

of the Act of 1950 which is quoted hereinbefore.

17. It is difficult to overlook that the decree

holder/respondent herein although had gone to the extent of

publishing a notice in a local daily "Matrbhumi" inviting

objections indicating that he intended to purchase a suit

land, he conveniently ignored the provisions of Section 51 of

the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950 and refused to apply to

the Charity Commissioner before instituting a suit against

the appellant-trust especially when the possession of the
 2
plot was delivered to the appellant-trust way back in the

year 1974 but after more than eight years, the

vendor/respondent No.8 executed a sale deed in favour of

the predecessor of respondent Nos.1 to 7. The relevance of

Section 51 of the Bombay Trusts Act, 1950 although is

clearly apparent and the appellant had also raised it before

the High Court, the learned Single Judge of the High Court

has not even addressed this important issue having a legal

bearing on the right of the appellant to retain the plot, which

although had been in the form of a deed of gift, in fact it was

practically in the nature of dedication to the appellant-trust

for charitable purpose which was to construct a `Bhakt

Niwas' for the devotees of Saibaba.

18. Hence, even if it were to be held that the deed of gift in

favour of the appellant-trust did not confer any title to the

appellant-trust as the same was not registered and were also

to be held that the same cannot be treated to be a dedication

to any idol, as this point was neither pressed hard nor was

argued threadbare and the Courts below have also not gone

into this question, we do not wish to enter into this question

further. However, the fact remains that in view of the
 2
possession of the property in question of the appellant-trust,

it was obligatory on the part of the purchasers of the plot in

question/respondent Nos.1 to 7 to seek permission from the

Charity Commissioner under Section 51 of the Bombay

Trusts Act, 1950 to recover the property by filing a suit or

initiating a proceeding. In fact, in the matter of K. Shamrao

and others vs. Assistant Charity Commissioner reported

in (2003) 3 SCC 563, a two Judge Bench of this Court had

been pleased to hold that the Assistant Charity

Commissioner under the scheme of the Act of 1950 i.e.

Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950 possesses all the attributes

of a Court and has almost all the powers which an ordinary

civil court has including the power of summoning witnesses,

compelling production of documents, examining witnesses

on oath and coming to a definite conclusion on the evidence

induced and arguments submitted.

Section 79 (1) of the same Act also lays down that any

question, whether or not a trust exists and such trust is a

public trust or particular property is the property of such

trust, is required to be decided under its statutory force by

the Deputy or Assistant Charity Commissioner as provided
 2
under the Act and Section 80 bars jurisdiction of the civil

court to decide or deal with any question which is by or

under this Act to be decided or dealt with by any officer or

authority under this Act.

19. Thus, when the appellant-trust was in occupation and

possession of the property in question then the respondent-

plaintiff clearly could not have approached the civil court

ignoring the specific provision under the Bombay Public

Trusts Act, 1950 which has laid down provisions to deal with

disputes relating to the property of the trusts. It also cannot

be overlooked that in the instant case, it is the original

owner of the property i.e. respondent No.8 who had executed

a deed of gift in favour of the appellant-trust and

subsequently after ten years, executed a sale deed in favour

of the predecessor of respondent Nos.1 to 7, who approached

the Court for recovery of his property in which case it could

perhaps have been available for the owner of the property to

approach the civil court. But in the case at hand, it is the

purchaser of the property predecessor of Respondent Nos. 1-

7 who filed the suit for possession which clearly can be

construed as the suit for recovery of possession from the
 2
appellant-trust which was in possession of the property. In

that view of the matter, it was the statutory requirement of

the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950 to approach the Charity

Commissioner before a suit could be instituted.

20. In view of the aforesaid discussion and in the light of

the reasons assigned hereinbefore, we set aside the

judgment and order of the High Court as also the First

Appellate Court and restore the judgment and order of the

Trial Court which had been pleased to dismiss the suit filed

by the plaintiff-respondents No.1 to 7. The Trial Court,

however, had decreed the suit for return of the money of

Rs.17,500/- to the predecessor of respondents No.1 to 7 and

also interest was ordered to be paid on this amount by the

vendor-respondent No.8. Since the respondent No.8 had

already been divested of his title to execute a sale deed in

favour of respondent Nos.1 to 7 as he had already executed

a deed of gift in favour of the appellant-trust for charitable

purpose, we are of the view that in the interest of equity, he

should not be saddled with the financial liability to return

the amount of Rs.17,500/- with interest to the respondent

Nos.1-7. This amount, in our view, in the interest of equity
 2
and fair play should be paid by the appellant-trust to the

respondent Nos.1-7 on behalf of Respondent No.8, as this

part of the decree which had been passed by the Trial Court

in favour of respondent Nos. 1-7 had not been challenged by

way of an appeal by the respondent No.8. But as we have


held that the appellant-trust is the rightful owner of the

disputed plot and the Respondent No.8 as a consequence

has been held to have been divested of the property, the

amount paid by the predecessor of Respondent Nos.1-7,

should be refunded to Respondent Nos.1-7 without interestand thus the decree of the Trial Court shall be treated asmodified to this extent. This appeal accordingly is allowed,without any order as to costs. ........................................J
 (Markandey Katju) ........................................J
 (Gyan Sudha Misra)New Delhi,
December 13, 2010

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