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Sec. 80 of Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1987. – Sale of Temple land – Public notice was given – no objections – G.O. was also passed – 9 writs filed claiming as tenancy – all with drawn – except the one – High court dismissed the writ – D.B. allowed the writ appeal and quashed the G.O. – Apex court held set aside the order of D.B. = A.P.N.G.O.’s Association …Appellant Versus Government of Andhra Pradesh …Respondents & Others= 2014 (Apr.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41380

Sec. 80  of Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu  Religious  Institutions  and  Endowments  Act,

1987. – Sale of Temple land – Public notice was given – no objections – G.O. was also passed – 9 writs filed claiming as tenancy – all with drawn – except the one – High court dismissed the writ – D.B. allowed the writ appeal and quashed the G.O. – Apex court held set aside the order of D.B. =

The appellant is an association of the non-gazetted  officers  of  the

Government of Andhra Pradesh. Sometime  in  the  year  1995,  the  appellant

herein requested the Executive Officer of the  third  respondent  Temple  to

sell an extent of 18 acres of land (Survey No.221/1) to  provide  houses  to

its members.=

On receipt of the application from the  appellant,  the  Commissioner,

Endowments  Department  (2nd  respondent  herein)  constituted  a  three-men

Committee to inquire and report the probable price that may  be  secured  if

the land is sold in public auction.  The District Collector,  Guntur  within

whose territorial jurisdiction the  temple  (third  respondent)  is  located

addressed a letter dated 26th March 1998  to  the  Commissioner,  Endowments

Department (2nd respondent) suggesting that the Government be addressed  for

according  permission  to  sell  the  land  in  question  to  the  appellant

association at the cost of Rs.3,50,000/- per acre by  private  negotiations.

However, the Commissioner vide letter dated  5th  March,  1998  advised  the

Government and sought the permission of the Government to sell the  land  in

question  in  favour  of  the  appellants  by  private  negotiations  for  a

consideration of Rs.4,00,000/- per acre.

 

8.    Subsequently, the Commissioner invited  objections  for  the  proposed

sale by publication in the official gazette of Andhra Pradesh on  3rd  April

1999 in compliance of the requirement of section 80(1)(b) of the  Endowments

Act, 1987.

 

9.    On 14th  December  2000,  the  Government  of  Andhra  Pradesh  issued

G.O.Ms. No.911 purporting the sale of land in  question  in  favour  of  the

appellants as proposed by the Commissioner.=

 

10.   One year thereafter i.e. on 22nd June 2002, a writ petition  no.  2563

of 2002 came to be filed  challenging  the  G.O.Ms.  No.911  by  17  persons

claiming to be protected tenants of the land  in  question  under  the  A.P.

(Andhra Area) Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1956.  Such  a  claim  was

seriously disputed by the official respondents.=

All the writ petitions are withdrawn – in 9 the petition one Dr. Parthasarathy impleaded and after hearing him the single judge dismissed the writ – but the D.B. allowed the writ and quashed the G.O.=

 In the totality of the circumstances mentioned above, we  are  of  the

opinion that the Division Bench erred in interfering with  the  judgment  of

the learned Single Judge.  We,  therefore,  set  aside  the  judgment  under

appeal, restore the judgment of the learned  Single  Judge  and  uphold  the

validity of G.O.Ms. No.911 dated  14.12.2000.   Appeal  is  allowed.   There

will be no order as to costs.

2014 (Apr.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41380

B.S. CHAUHAN, J. CHELAMESWAR

Reportable
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO.4383 OF 2014
(Arising out of Special Leave to Appeal (Civil) No.4926 of 2006)

A.P.N.G.O.’s Association …Appellant

Versus
Government of Andhra Pradesh …Respondents
& Others
J U D G M E N T

Chelameswar, J.
1. Leave granted.

2. Aggrieved by the common judgment dated 28th January 2006 in Writ
Petition No.8063 of 2004 and Writ Appeal No.1035 of 2004 of the High Court
of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad, the third respondent therein preferred the
instant appeal.

3. By the said judgment, the High Court set aside the judgment dated 3rd
March 2004 in Writ Petition No.2563 of 2002 rendered by a learned Single
Judge and quashed G.O.Ms. No.911 dated 14.12.2000 issued by the Revenue
(Endowments) Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh.

4. The appellant is an association of the non-gazetted officers of the
Government of Andhra Pradesh. Sometime in the year 1995, the appellant
herein requested the Executive Officer of the third respondent Temple to
sell an extent of 18 acres of land (Survey No.221/1) to provide houses to
its members.

5. The Administration of Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and
Endowments in Andhra Pradesh is regulated by an Act named the Andhra
Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act,
1987. Section 80 of the Act insofar as is relevant for us reads as under:

 

“Section 80. Alienation of immovable property: 1(a) Any gift,
sale, exchange or mortgage of any immovable property belonging
to or given or endowed for the purpose of any charitable or
religious institution, endowment shall be null and void unless
any such transaction, not being a gift, is effected with the
prior sanction of the Commissioner.
(b) The Commissioner, may, after publishing in the Andhra
Pradesh Gazette the particulars relating to the proposed
transaction and inviting any objections and suggestions with
respect thereto and considering all objections and suggestions,
if any received from the trustee or other person having
interest, accord such sanction where he considers that the
transaction is—
i) prudent and necessary or beneficial to the institution, or
endowment;
ii) in respect of immovable property which is un-economical
for the institution or endowment to own and maintain; and
iii) The consideration therefor is adequate and proper.
(c) Every sale of any such immovable property sanctioned
by the Commissioner under clause (b) shall be effected by tender-
cum-public auction in the prescribed manner subject to the
confirmation by the Commissioner within a period prescribed:
Provided that the Government may, in the interest of the
institution or endowment and for reasons to be recorded therefor
in writing, permit the sale of such immovable property,
otherwise than by public auction.
x x x ”

 

6. It can be seen from the above that normally the sale of any immovable
property belonging to any religious institution, such as, the third
respondent herein can only be effected by tender-cum-public auction in the
prescribed manner and subject to the prior sanction of the Commissioner.
Such a prior sanction can be given by the Commissioner if only the
Commissioner first makes a publication in the Andhra Pradesh Gazette, the
particulars relating to the proposed transaction and invites objections and
suggestions (if any) and on receipt of the objections or suggestions if the
Commissioner comes to the conclusion:

1. it is un-economical for the institution or endowment to own and
maintain such immovable property;
2. such a sale is prudent and necessary or beneficial to the
institution or endowment;
3. such a sale is likely to fetch adequate and proper consideration
for the property.

 

7. On receipt of the application from the appellant, the Commissioner,
Endowments Department (2nd respondent herein) constituted a three-men
Committee to inquire and report the probable price that may be secured if
the land is sold in public auction. The District Collector, Guntur within
whose territorial jurisdiction the temple (third respondent) is located
addressed a letter dated 26th March 1998 to the Commissioner, Endowments
Department (2nd respondent) suggesting that the Government be addressed for
according permission to sell the land in question to the appellant
association at the cost of Rs.3,50,000/- per acre by private negotiations.
However, the Commissioner vide letter dated 5th March, 1998 advised the
Government and sought the permission of the Government to sell the land in
question in favour of the appellants by private negotiations for a
consideration of Rs.4,00,000/- per acre.

8. Subsequently, the Commissioner invited objections for the proposed
sale by publication in the official gazette of Andhra Pradesh on 3rd April
1999 in compliance of the requirement of section 80(1)(b) of the Endowments
Act, 1987.

9. On 14th December 2000, the Government of Andhra Pradesh issued
G.O.Ms. No.911 purporting the sale of land in question in favour of the
appellants as proposed by the Commissioner.

10. One year thereafter i.e. on 22nd June 2002, a writ petition no. 2563
of 2002 came to be filed challenging the G.O.Ms. No.911 by 17 persons
claiming to be protected tenants of the land in question under the A.P.
(Andhra Area) Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1956. Such a claim was
seriously disputed by the official respondents.

11. Be that as it may, 16 of the 17 petitioners eventually prayed that
they may be permitted to withdraw the writ petition and the same was
permitted to be withdrawn on 26th June 2002 vis-à-vis all the petitioners
except petitioner no.9.

12. It appears from the judgment of the learned Single Judge that the
said 9th petitioner also subsequently filed an application being W.P.M.P.
No.21030 of 2003 seeking permission from the Court to withdraw the writ
petition. However, at that stage, one Dr. S. Parthasarathy filed an
impleadment petition which was allowed by order dated 10th September, 2003.
A learned Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court by an elaborate order
dated 3rd March 2004 dismissed the writ petition. The newly added
petitioner Dr. S. Parthasarathy carried the matter in Letters Patent Appeal
No.1034 of 2004.

13. In the meanwhile, on 22nd March, 2004 a registered sale deed came to
be executed in favour of the appellants herein transferring the property in
question. A month thereafter on 24th April 2004, another Writ Petition
No.8063 of 2004 came to be filed by somebody who is resident of Hyderabad
claiming to be interested in the temple.

14. Both the abovementioned Writ Petition and the Letters Patent Appeal
came to be disposed of by the judgment under appeal herein.

15. By the judgment under appeal, the judgment of the learned Single Jude
in Writ Petition No.2563 of 2002 was set aside and also G.O.Ms. No.911 was
quashed.

16. The undisputed facts are that a publication in the official gazette
inviting objections and suggestions for the sale of the proposed property
as required under section 80(1)(b) was made. Admittedly, none of the writ
petitioners before the High Court ever raised any objection or made any
suggestion in response to the notification. The Government of Andhra
Pradesh in exercise of the authority under the first proviso of section
80(1) issued G.O.Ms. No.911 permitting the sale of the land in question
otherwise than by public auction.

17. As per the pleadings, the land in question was getting an income of
Rs.1,00,000/- per annum. On the other hand, the Division Bench recorded
that in the counter affidavit filed by the Government, it is stated that
the consideration to be received after the sale in question would fetch an
interest of Rs.6,00,000/- per annum. The learned Single Judge opined that
the prospect of increase in the income as a consequence of the sale in
question is a relevant consideration having regard to the scheme of section
80(b). The Division Bench thought otherwise on the ground:
“that the value of land in any part of the State is appreciating
day by day, whereas the value of money is depreciating.
Therefore, in our view, even if it was true that the institution
was receiving only rupees one lakh by way of rent and it could
receive rupees six lakhs by way of interest after selling the
property, even then, the institution is not in benefit, because
the appreciation of the value of land and depreciation of value
of money was not taken into consideration.”

 

 

18. Coming to the valuation of the land, it can be seen from the letter
of the concerned District Collector (Guntur) dated 14th June 2000 addressed
to the Government that the market value of the land in the vicinity of the
land in question varies from Rs.1,00,000/- to Rs.1,50,000/- depending upon
the fertility, texture and location.

19. We are of the opinion that the approach of the Division Bench is not
in tune with the language of Section 80. The purpose of making an
endowment in favour of a deity is to generate income for the various
services required to be rendered to the deity. Therefore, the prospect of
getting a higher income is certainly relevant consideration than the
possibility of an appreciation in the value of the asset endowed. On the
other hand, the entire higher annual income accruing as interest on the
sale proceeds of the asset need not be utilised every year only for the
services but part of it can always be reinvested in proper asset to beat
the inflation.

20. Apart from that, the learned single Judge recorded a finding that all
the original writ petitioners withdrew the writ petitions and rightly
observed that there are no bona fides on the part of the petitioners who
pursued the litigation subsequent to the withdrawal of the writ petition by
the original petitioners.

21. In the totality of the circumstances mentioned above, we are of the
opinion that the Division Bench erred in interfering with the judgment of
the learned Single Judge. We, therefore, set aside the judgment under
appeal, restore the judgment of the learned Single Judge and uphold the
validity of G.O.Ms. No.911 dated 14.12.2000. Appeal is allowed. There
will be no order as to costs.

……………………………………J.
(DR. B.S.
CHAUHAN)

……………………………………J.
(J. CHELAMESWAR)
New Delhi,
April 3, 2014
———————–
9

 

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