Chennai: The Madras high court has set aside an order of a single judge, appointing advocate M.Baskar as a fit person to administer the Chennai Sri Kalikambal Kamateswara Devasthanam (a religious denominational temple) at Thambu Chetty Street in Chennai, till the next elected Board takes office.
A division bench comprising Justices R.Subbiah and T.Krishnavalli allowed the appeals filed by Chennai Sri Kalikambal Kamateswara Devasthanam and its five trustees and the state government, challenging an order of a single judge dated April 24, 2019.
“In so far as election to the Board of Trustees is concerned, it is seen from the records that hitherto election was conducted only by the government. It is needless to mention that the government may conduct the election to the temple in question in such a manner election has been conducted in the past”, the bench added.
The bench said the appointment of a Fit Person and Additional Fit Person by the single judge was assailed in these appeals on the ground that there was no provision under the HR & CE Act to do so besides it was the government which was vested with the powers to appoint a Fit Person to administer the day to day management of the temple. In this context, Senior Counsel Ar.L.Sundaresan appearing for the appellant and additional advocate general P.H.Arvindh Pandian relied on section 47 of the HR & CE Act. Section 47 of the HR & CE Act deals with trustees and their number and term of offices.
The proviso to Sub-Section (1) © of Section 47 specifically contemplates that “provided that the government, the Commissioner or the Joint Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner, as the case may be, pending the constitution of such board of trustees, under this sub-section, appoint a fit person to perform the functions of the board”. Therefore, it was clear that section 47 (1) © of the Act empowers the government through the Commissioner, Joint Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner to appoint a Fit Person to perform the duties and functions of the Board of Trustees. When the statutory provision was clear and explicit that it vests power to the government to appoint a Fit Person, such appointment by the single judge was contrary to the settled legal position, the bench added.
The bench said Senior counsel Sundaresan prayed this court to direct the parties to maintain status quo till the election was conducted, meaning thereby to permit the Fit Person to continue to perform his duties till the election was over. “We are not in a position to accept the same. When the appointment of Fit Person is contrary to Section 47 of the Act, the Fit Person appointed by this court cannot be permitted to continue to perform his duties any further. When a Statute prescribes a particular act to be done in a particular manner, it should be done only in that manner and not in any other manner.
We therefore, set aside the order of the single judge with an observation that it is for the government to appoint a Fit Person to the temple in question”, the bench added....