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Key Takeaways

  • The petitioner claimed himself to be a permissible tenant of a temple’s property, belonging to the Respondents and wanted to get it transferred to his name.
  • However, the Respondents passed an order of eviction which was challenged before the Madras High Court.
  • The Madras High Court observed that the petitioner’s possession was illegal, and thus, directed the Respondents to evict him and take over the possession of the temple property.

Case Background

  • The petitioner stated that a superstructure in a land belonging to the temple authorities originally belonged to his father.
  • His father sold the superstructure to his brother, who later gave it to the petitioner by a settlement deed. Since then, he had been in possession of the property.
  • The petitioner requested for name transfer since he made some changes to the property. Respondent No. 4 terminated the lease deed and filed a suit praying for permanent and mandatory injunction. The suit is pending.
  • Thereafter, an order of eviction was passed under Section 78 of the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1959. The petitioner filed an appeal, which is also pending.
  • When earlier the matter came up before the Madras HC, it directed the petitioner to pay Rs. 10 Lakhs to the 3rd Respondent. The Court also made Respondent No. 1 the competent authority to hear and dispose of the petitioner’s appeal.
  • While the appeal was pending, the respondents decided to evict the petitioner on the ground that no stay to their eviction order had been ordered. Therefore, the petitioner filed the instant writ seeking to direct the first respondent to dispose of the appeal.

Submissions of the Parties

  • The respondents submitted that there was no valid lease agreement as stated by the petitioner as he had not even submitted any document of proof.
  • It was alleged that the petitioner was an illegal possessor and encroacher, and therefore, was liable to be evicted.
  • They further submitted that there was no such name transfer request made by the petitioner and that they too had not increased the rent, as alleged by the petitioner, as the same was based on the principle of fair rent fixed in accordance with Section 34-A of the Act.

Court’s Observations

  • The Madras High Court observed that though the petitioner had submitted that there was a lease deed, yet he did not produce any document as evidence.
  • Similarly, he had not submitted any proof supporting his statement that he was a permissible tenant of the land.
  • The manner in which the petitioner and his relations have dealt with the respondents was violative of the provisions of the Act.
  • It was also observed that according to Section 34 of the Act, any kind of property transfer, in this regard, for a term exceeding 5 years was null and void unless sanctioned by the Commissioner.
  • The sale, lease, as well as settlement deeds, executed in favor of the petitioner’s family had exceeded 5 years, and the petitioner had not submitted any such sanction order of the Commissioner.

Court Order

  • The Madras High Court opined that the petitioner and his relations were not only illegal occupants and encroachers but were also guilty of using the temple property in an illegal manner for their personal gains.
  • The Court accordingly directed the Respondents to go ahead with the eviction of the petitioner and take possession of the temple property.
  • It also directed the Respondents to enquire about any financial loss and to take the necessary steps to recover it.

Hope the snippet was informative enough to lead you to answer the following questions. Please comment your answers below.
I. The order of eviction against the petitioner was passed by the competent authorities under which Act and Section?
II. From whom did the petitioner got possession of the superstructure and the temple property?

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