02 December 1970
Supreme Court


Case number: Appeal (civil) 1249 of 1970






DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/12/1970


CITATION:  1971 AIR  891            1971 SCR  (2) 878  1970 SCC  (3) 359  CITATOR INFO :  R          1973 SC2237  (2)  RF         1976 SC 475  (4)

ACT: Hereditary   trustee-Office  of-If  ’property’  within   the meaning of Art. 19 of the Constitution. Andhra  Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious  institutions and Endowments Act (17 of 1966), ss. 15, 17, 27, 36 and  97- If violative of Art. 19 of the Constitution.

HEADNOTE: The  appellants  were hereditary trustees of  religious  and charitable  institutions and endowments.  They  claimed  the right  to  manage and administer the secular estate  of  the institution  or  endowment  of which  they  were  hereditary trustees   but  never  claimed  proprietary  or   beneficial interest  either  in the corpus or in the  usufruct  of  the estate.  They challenged the validity of s. 15 read with ss. 17,  27,  36 and. 97 of the Andhra  Pradesh  Charitable  and Hindu  Religious Institutions and Endowments Act,  1966,  on the  ground that they are violative of Art. 19 of  the  Con- stitution.    The  High  Court  held  that  the  office   of hereditary  trustee was property but that  the  restrictions imposed by the various provisions of the Act are  reasonable and are in the interests of the public.  In appeal to this Court, HELD : (1) The position of a hereditary trustee who claims a bare right to manage and administer the secular estate,  is the  same  as  that of a Dharmakarta or a  mere  manager  or custodian  of  an  institution except  that  the  hereditary trustee succeeds to the office as of right and in accordance with  the rules governing succession.  He cannot be  equated to  a shebait, methadhipathi or a mahant in whose case,  the ingredients  of  both  office and property,  of  duties  and personal  interest and rights are blended  together.   Hence the  office  of such a hereditary trustee  is  not  property within the meaning of Art. 19.  The observation in  Sambuda- murthi Mudaliar v. State of Madras, [1970] 2 S.C.R. 424 that



the  office  of  a hereditary trustee is in  the  nature  of property is obiter.  The pronouncement of the Privy  Council in Gnanasambanda Pandara Sannadhi v. Velu Patrdaram, 27 I.A. 69, Ganesh Chander Dhur v. Lal Behary Dhur, (1936) 71 M.L.J. 740  (P.C.) and Bhaba Tarini Debi v. Asha Lata Debi,  I.L.R. [1943]  2 Cal. 137 (P.C.) that the rule in the Tagore  case, (1872)  9  B.L.R. 377 applies to  succession  of  hereditary trustees does not afford any assistance in deciding  whether an  office holder. who has a bare right of  management,  can claim to have a right or interest in the nature of  property within the meaning of Art. 19(1)(f). [886 B-D; 887 F-H] Tilkayat  Shri  Govindlalji Maharaj v.  State  of  Rajasthan [1964] 1 S.C.R. 561 and Raja Birakishore V. Orissa, [1964] 7 S.C.R. 32, followed. (2)Even if the right constituted property the restrictions which have been imposed by the provisions of the Act on  the hereditary  trustees are reasonable and are in the  interest of the general public. [888B]  879 The  statute has been enacted because, a high powered  body, namely   the  Hindu  Religious  Endowment  Commission,   had reported  that  there was mismanagement  invariably  of  the endowment  property by the trustees.  The power  to  appoint non-hereditary  trustees or executive officers under ss.  15 and 27, even where there is already a hereditary trustee  or trustees, notwithstanding that there is no mismanagement, is only  for  the  purpose of  ensuring  better  and  efficient administration   and  management  of  the   institution   or endowment.   Under  s.  17, the hereditary  trustee  is  not removed but is to be the chairman of the Board of  Trustees, and  if there are more than one hereditary trustee,  one  of them is to be chairman by rotation.  Instead of managing the institution  alone he has to administer it in  collaboration with  other trustees who are non-hereditary; but it is  only the  secular  aspect-and  not matters  of  religion-that  is touched. [883 D; 888 B-G] [Questions whether some of the institutions were private  or were  religious denominations within Art. 26, left open  for determination by the appropriate forum.] [889 D]

JUDGMENT: CIVIL  APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeals Nos.  1249  to 1251, 1271, 1358, 1350, 1381, 1382, 1521, 1522, 1544,  1612, 1668, 1669, 1879, 1880, 1912, 1973 and 1974 of 1970. Appeals from the judgment and order dated December 31,  1969 of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Writ Petitions Nos. 2871 of 1968 etc. etc. M.Natesan and A. Subba Rao, for the appellants (in  C.As. Nos. 1249 to 1251, 1360, 1382, 1521 and 1522 of 1970). A.Subba  Rao,  for the appellants (in  C.As.  Nos.  1381, 1544, 1879, 1880, 1912, 1973 and 1974 of 1970). Shyamala  Pappu, Balaparameshwari Rao and Vineet Kumar,  for the appellant (in C.A. No. 1271 of 1970). M.Natesan  and A. V. V. Nair, for the appellant (in  C.A. No. 1358 of 1970). K.   Jayaram, for the appellant (in C.A. No. 1663 of 1970). M.   Natesan and K. Jayaram, for the appellant (in C.A. No. 1669 of 1970). A.   V.  Rangam,  for  the appellant (in C.A.  No.  1612  of 1970). A. K. Sen., Venugopala Reddy and Parameswara Rao, for the  respondents  Nos. 1 to, 4 (in C.A. No.  1522  of  1970) respondents Nos. 1 and 2 (in C.A. No. 1669 of 1970) and the



respondents in other appeals.  P. Basi Reddy and G. Narayana Rao, for respondent No. 6 (in C.A. No. 1669 of 1970). K.   Rajendra Chowdhary, for the intervener. 880 The Judgment of the Court was delivered by Grover,  J. These appeals by certificate are from  a  common judgment  of the Andhra Pradesh High Court and  involve  the question  of the constitutionality of certain provisions  of the   Andhra   Pradesh  Charitable   and   Hindu   Religions Institutions  and  Endowments Act, 1966 (Act  17  of  1966), hereinafter called the Act’. A  number  of petitions under Art. 226 of  the  Constitution were   filed  before  the  High  Court  on  behalf  of   the institutions  or  endowments some of which were  public  and some   private  in  character.   A  few  institutions   were societies  registered under the Societies  Registration  Act while  others claimed to be religious endowments  or  public bodies   like   municipalities  which  were   managing   the institutions.  We might, for the sake of convenience,  state the  facts  in  Civil  Appeal No.  1360  of  1970.   In  the affidavit of Nalam Ramalingaiah it is stated that he is  the hereditary  trustee  of the Nalam Choultry and  Vyasya  Seva Sadanam which are private trusts.  They were founded by  his ancestor  in  the year 1879 and 1920 respectively.   He  had been  the  managing  trustee from 1943.   The  Choultry  was endowed  with immoveable property comprising an area of  453 acres  of land which by careful management was now  fetching an  income  of Rs. 40,000/-.  Besides feeding the  poor  and affording  free lodging facilities to pilgrims  scholarships were being given to deserving students.  The Sevasadanam was endowed  with  huge  properties  which  were  fetching   Rs. 18,000/-  as income.  The objects of this charity were,  (1) to impart education and training in handicraft to women; (2) to  feed  poor  girls, (3) provide  free  shelter  to  women students  and (4) run women’s Sanskrit School.  At  no  time there  had  been any complaint about  mismanagement  of  the aforesaid  trust.   A number of other  countries  were  also mentioned which were being managed by the hereditary trustee or  trustees.  Some of them were providing food and  shelter to  students  and  travellers  of  all  castes  and   creeds including Muslims and Christians.  Among the objects of some of  the Choultries was included the performing of  pujas  in temples.  These Choultries were founded in the last  century and ever since their inception the members of the family  of the founder or founders had been managing them.  At no  time there  had  been  any  complaint of  any  kind  against  the management.   On  the contrary the hereditary  trustees  had improved   the  endowment  properties  and   added   several charitable activities to the existing objects. The  validity  of  the  main  provisions  of  the  Act   was challenged  on the ground that the office of the  hereditary trusteeship was property within the meaning of Art. 19(1)(f) and that these                             881 provisions  were ultra vires and void as violative  of  that Article  as  also  of  Art.  14,  25,  26  and  31  of   the Constitution.   On  behalf of the respondents  the  position taken  up  was that all the, institutions in  question  were public  and none of them was private in character that  they were  religious and charitable institutions  and  endowments within  the  meaning  of the Act.  It was  denied  that  the office of hereditary trustee was property within the meaning of.   Art. 19 (1) (f) or that there was infringement of  any of   the  fundamental  rights  mentioned  in   the   various



petitions.   It was maintained that the hereditary  trustees etc.  had  only a bare right to manage the  affairs  of  the institution  and  the  secular matters which  could  not  be regarded  as  property within the meaning of  the  aforesaid Article. The High Court formulated five questions for decision but it is  unnecessary  to mention or go into all of  them  as  the matters  in  controversy before us relate to  two  of  these questions.   These are, (1) whether on the facts and in  the circumstances the office of hereditary trusteeship is or  is not  property within the meaning of Art. 19(1) (f) and  Art. 31 and (2) whether all or any of the material provisions  of the  Act are hit by Arts. 14, 19 (1) (f), 25, 26 or 31.  The High  Court  was of the view that the office  of  hereditary trustee was property within the meaning of Art. 19 (1)  (f). It  was,  however, held that the  impugned  provisions  only imposed reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right of the trustees, in the interest of general public and  good administration  of the public institutions.  It was  further found that none of the impugned provisions were violative of Arts.  14,  19(1)(f),  25, 26 and 31  of  the  Constitution. According  to the High Court the material provisions of  the Act  were  only  intended to  regulate  and  ensure  proper, efficient  and better administration and management  of  the institution.  All the writ petitions were dismissed. The  learned  counsel  for the appellants  has  invited  our attention  to  the  various  sections of  the  Act  but  has confined his challenge mainly to the provisions contained in s.  15 read with ss. 17, 27, 97 and 36 of the Act.   We  may advert to the main provisions and the general scheme of  the Act.  According to the preamble the Act has been enacted  to consolidate and amend the law relating to the administration and governance of charitable and Hindu religious  charitable institutions and endowments in the State of Andhra, Pradesh. It  applies  to  all  public  charitable  institutions   and endowments  other than wakes governed by the  provisions  of the  Wake  Act  1954.  According to the  explanation  to  s. 1(3)(a)  the expression "charitable institutions and  endow- ments"   shall  include  every  charitable  institution   or endowment the administration of which is, for the time being vested in any department of Government or civil court,  Zila Parishad or other L6949up.CI/71 882 local  authority  or  any  company,  society,  Organisation, institution  or other person.  The Act also applies  to  all Hindu   public   religious  institutions   and   endowments. "Charitable  endowment" has been defined by s. 2(3) to  mean all  property given or endowed for any  charitable  purpose. "Charitable  institution"  has been defined by S. 2  (4)  to mean   any  establishment,  undertaking,,  organisation   or association  formed for a charitable purpose and includes  a specific  endowment.  Various sub-clauses of s. 2  define  " charitable  purpose", "Commissioner",  "Executive  Officer", "Hereditary Office-holder", "Hereditary Trustee", "Religious charity".  "religious endowment", "specific endowment"  etc. The definition of "hereditary trustee" contained  in  sub- clause 15 and a "trustee" in sub-clause 28 may be reproduced :               " Hereditary trustee’ means the trustee of  a               charitable   or   religious   institution   or               endowment  the  succession  of  whose   office               devolves  according to the rule of  succession               laid down by the founder or according to usage               or  custom  applicable to the  institution  or



             endowment   or   according  to  the   law   of               succession for the time being in force, as the               case may be".               "’Trustee’  means any person whether known  as               mathadhipati,  mohant, dharmakarta,  mutwalli,               muntazim, or by any other name, in whom either               alone or in association with any other person,               the   administration  and  management   of   a               charitable   or   religious   institution   or               endowment are vested; and includes a Board  of               Trustees." Chapter II deals with the appointment of Commissioner, Joint Commissioners etc. and their powers and functions.   Section 6  provides  for  preparation and  publication  of  list  of charitable and religious institutions and endowments on  the basis of income.  By Section 7 the Commissioner is to be  a corporation  sole having a perpetual succession and  common seal.   Section 8 provides that subject to other  provisions of  the Act the administration of all charitable and  Hindu religious  institutions  and endowments shall be  under  the general superintendence and control of the Commissioner and such superintendence and control shall include the power to pass  any order which might be deemed necessary  to ensure that  such  institutions and endowments are  properly  admi- nistered  and  their  income is duly  appropriated  for  the purpose  for  which they are founded or exist.   Section  12 empowers the Commissioner to enter and inspect  institutions and endowments.  Chapter III relates to administration  and management  of charitable and Hindu  religious  institutions and  endowments.   Section 14 declares that  all  properties belonging  to  or  given  or  endowed  to  a  charitable  or religious institution or endowment shall vest in  883 the charitable or religious institution or endowment as  the case may be.  It is unnecessary to set out s. 15 in extensor It  provides  for the constitution of a Board  of  Trustees, whose number has been specified, in respect of charitable or religious   institution   or  endowments  of   the   various categories   mentioned  in  the  section.   The   power   to constitute  The Board has been conferred on the  Government, Commissioner,   Deputy   Commissioner   or   the   Assistant Commissioner, as the case may be.  It is discretionary where there   is  a  hereditary  trustee  but  a  Board  must   be constituted in every other case.  In making the  appointment of  trustees it has been enjoined that due regard should  be given to the religious denomination or other section thereof to  which the institution belongs or the endowment  is  made and  wishes of the founder.  AR properties belonging to  the institution  or  endowment shall stand transferred  to  such Board of trustees or trustee, as the case may be  Section 16 gives  the  disqualifications for  trusteeship.  Section  17 deals  with  the appointment of a Chairman of the  Board  of trustees.   It  has been provided, inter  alia,  that  where there  is  only  one  hereditary trustee  he  shall  be  the Chairman.  Where there are more than one the Government etc. may  nominate  by rotation one of them to be  the  Chairman. Section 22 gives the duties of the trustee.  He is bound  to produce books, accounts, returns.......... relating to die administration   of   the  institution  or   endowment   for inspection  by  the  Commissioner  and  other  functionaries whenever  required  to do so.  Section 27 provides  for  the appointment  of the Executive Officer by the Government  and the Commissioner respectively.  It also lays down the duties of the Executive Officer.  It is declared that the Executive Officer  shall be the employee of the Government  who  shall



determine  the conditions of his service.  Section  31  lays down  how  the  vacancies  amongst  the  office-holders   or servants of charitable or religious institution or endowment have to be filled up by the trustees.  Section 32 deals with the punishment of office-holders and servants.  The  general control  vests  in  the trustee who  can  take  disciplinary action  in accordance with the prescribed procedure for  the various  matters  mentioned  in sub-s. (1). In  case  of  an institution  or  endowment whose annual income  exceeds  two lakhs the power to impose any penalty has been conferred  on the  Executive  Officer.   Section 35  gives  power  to  the Executive  Officer not to implement orders or resolution  of the trustee or Board of Trustees in certain cases.   Section 36 gives overriding effect to the provisions of Chapter  III over  the  existing corresponding  provisions.   Chapter  IV deals   with  registration  of  charitable   and   religious institutions  and  endowments;  Chapter  V  with  muths  and endowments  attached  thereto;  Chapter  VII  with   budget, accounts,  and audit; Chapter VIII with finance;  Chapter  X with  alienation  of immoveable property and  resumption  of Inam lands; Chapter XII with inquiries and Chapter XIII with appeals, revisions and 884 review etc.  Section 95 empowers the Government to  dissolve the Board of Trustees in certain cases and S. 97 enables  it to ;appoint a specific authority where the Board (A trustees has  ceased to function or has been dissolved.  Section  102 is in the following terms :               "Nothing in this Act shall-               (a)save as otherwise expressly provided  in               this Act or the rules made thereunder,  affect               any honour, emoluments or perquisite to  which               any person is entitled by custom or  otherwise               in any charitable or religious institution  or               endowment, or its established usage in  regard               to any other matter, or               (b)authorise  any  interference  with   the               religious  or spiritual functions of the  head               of  a  math including those  relating  to  the               imparting  of  religious  instruction  or  the               rendering of spiritual service." Under  s. 110, ss. 92 and 93 of the Code of Civil  Procedure 1908 can no longer be applicable to charitable  institutions and Hindu religious institutions and endowments to which the Act applies.  The main stress, on behalf of the appellants, has been laid on the effect of the provisions of the Act and in particular s.  15 read with the other sections mentioned before on  the office  of  the hereditary trustee.  It has  been  contended that  a hereditary trustee has to manage the institution  or the  endowment  in  accordance with the  directions  of  the founder.  It was his duty and responsibility,to appoint  the staff and take disciplinary action whenever necessary and to regulate the expenditure and carry out generally the objects of   the  charitable  institution  or  endowment.   By   the appointment  of a Board of trustees the  hereditary  trustee can   no  longer  manage  and  exercise  control  over   the institution  alone or in association with  other  hereditary trustees.  He has to share the management and responsibility with  other members of the Board who may be drawn  from  the section  or faction which may be politically  motivated  and may be hostile to him.  The appointment of the Board, it  is pointed out, rests with the Government, the Commissioner  or the  Deputy  Commissioner, as the case may be  and  although hereditary  trustee or trustees have to be included  in  the



Board,  the  entire administrative power is  vested  in  the Executive  Officer.  This Officer is a permanent  Government servant  and the Board or the trustee cannot  either  remove him or take any disciplinary action against him which  means that the Board or the trustee cannot exercise any  effective control  over  him.  The Executive Officer  can  in  certain eventualities even refuse to implement orders of the  Board. The hereditary trustee has  885 thus been left only with what may be called the "husk of the title"  and  his right to hold property has  been  seriously interfered with. The  first and the main question is whether the office of  a hereditary trustee is "property" within the, meaning of Art. 19  (1)  (f).   For the reasons,  which  will  be  presently stated, we are unable to agree with the High Court that  the office  of  hereditary  trustee is  "property"  within  that Article. The  view that the office of hereditary trustee  was  itself "property"  within  Art. 19 (1) (f ) even if  no  emoluments were attached to it found favour with many High Courts.   We need refer only to the leading judgment of a Division  Bench of  the Madras High Court in Kidangazhi  Manakkal  Narayanan Nambudripad  & Others v. The State of Madras & Anr. (1)  The line  of reasoning which prevailed, was that the  office  of hereditary  trusteeship descended like partible property  on the heirs of a trustee and even females were entitled to the office  if they happened to succeed as heirs.  The  rule  in the Tagore(2) case has been applied to the devolution of the office  of hereditary trustee as if it was  property;  [vide Ganesh  Chunder Dhur v. Lal Behary Dhur(3) and Bhaba  Tarini Debi  v.  Asha Lata Debi (4 )-both decisions  of  the  Privy Council].  Support was also sought from the observations, in Angurbala  Mullick v. Debabrata Mullick(5) relating  to  the office of a shebait which was held to be property.   Another reason  given was that "property" in Art. 19(1) (f)  was  of wide  import  and  was of sufficient amplitude  to  take  in hereditary trusteeship. The High Court in the judgment under appeal delved into  the history  and the background in which hereditary  office  had been  equated  to  property in  Hindu  Law.   Starting  from Krishnabhat  Hiragagne v. Kapabhat Mahalabhat et al(6)  most of  the later decisions of the Privy Council and  the,  High Courts were discussed.  We need refer only to  Gnanasembanda Pandara  Sannadhi  v.  Velu  Pandaram  (7)  in  which  their Lordships  pointed out that the rule in Tagore case(2)  that all  estates of inheritance created by gift or will so,  far as   they  were  inconsistent  with  the  general   law   of inheritance  were  void  was applicable  "to  an  hereditary office  and  endowment  as  well  as  the  other   immovable property". In  cases in which the office of hereditary trusteeship  has been  held to be property within the meaning of  Art.  19(1) (f)  the true character and incidents of that office do  not appear to have been (1) I.L.R. [1955] Mad. 356.(2) [1872] 93.L.R. 377. (3) [1936] 71 M.L.J. 740.     (4) I.L.R.[1943] 2Cal.137. (5) [1951] S.C.R. 1125.  (6) (1869) 6 Bom. H.C.R. 137. (7)  27 I.A. 69. 886 fully  kept in view.  It was common ground before  the  High Court  and  has  not  been  disputed  before  us  that   the hereditary  trustees of the institutions with which  we  are concerned  have  only  claimed a bare right  to  manage  and administer  the  secular estate of the  institution  or  the



endowment and in no case any hereditary trustee has  claimed proprietary or beneficiary interest either in the corpus  or in the usufruct of the estate.  The position of a hereditary trustee does not appear to be in any way different from that of  a  Dharamkartha  or a mere manager or  custodian  of  an institution or endowment.  There is one exception only.  The hereditary trustee succeeds to the office as of right and in accordance with the rules governing succession.  But in  all other  respects his duties and obligations are the  same  as that  of  Dharamkartha.  No one has ever  suggested  that  a hereditary  trustee  can  be  equated  to  a  Shebait  of  a religious institution or a Mathadhipati or the Mahant.   The ingredients  of  both  office and property,  of  duties  and personal  interest are blended together in the rights  of  a Mahant  as also a Shebait and a Mathadhipati.  The  position of  Dharamakartha,  on  the other hand, is  not  that  of  a Shebait of a religious institution or of the head of a math. These  functionaries  have a much higher right  with  larger power  of  disposal  and  administration  and  they  have  a personal  interest of beneficial character;  [See  Srinivasa Chariar  v. Evalappa Mudaliar(1)].  There would thus  be  no justification  for  holding- that since the  office  of  the aforesaid  functionaries has been consistently held by  this Court  to be property the office of a hereditary trustee  is also property within Art. 19 (1) (f). In Tilkayat Shri Govindlalji Maharai v. The State of  Rajas- than  &  Others (2) the distinction between  the  office  of mahant  and  that of the Tilkayat of  Nathdwara  temple  was clearly  enunciated.  It was pointed out that the mahant  or Shebiat was entitled to be maintained out of the property of the math or the temple.  The Tilkayat never used any  income from  the property of the temple for his personal  needs  or private  purposes nor did he claim any proprietary  interest therein.  What he claimed was merely the right to manage the property, to create leases in respect of it in a  reasonable manner and the right to alienate it for the purposes of  the temple.   These  rights  were exercised  by  him  under  the absolute-and  direct supervision of the Durbar  of  Udaipur. It  was  laid down by this Court that the  aforesaid  rights could   not  be  equated with the  totality  of  the  powers generally  possessed by the mahant or the Shebait.   In  our judgment the hereditary trustee cannot in any way claim  any higher rights of managing the properties of the  institution or the endowment than the Tilkayat. (1) 49 I.A. 237 251. (2) [1964] 1 S.C.R. 561.  887 His  rights  fall far short of those of the Mahant  and  the Shebait.   It  may be that in the case of the  Tilkayat  his rights  were  governed by the fireman issued by  the  Durbar which  had  the force of law but the ratio of  the  decision essentially is that a bare right to manage an institution or an endowment cannot be treated as property within Art. 19(1) and Art. 31.  In Raja Birakishore v. The State of  Orissa(1) the constitutionality of Shri Jagannath Temple Act 1954 (Act 2  of 1955) was challenged. The attack was based  mainly  on the ground that the Act took away the perquisites of Raja of Puri which had been found to belong to him in the record  of rights. The Raja had two fold connection with the temple. In the first place he was the Adyasevak i.e. the chief  servant of the temple and in that capacity he had certain rights and privileges.  He  was  also the sole  superintendent  of  the temple  and  was incharge of the management of  the  secular affairs of the temple. After reviewing the provisions of Act 2  of  1955  this Court observed that it  provided  for  the



management of the secular affairs of the temple and did  not interfere  with  the religious affairs thereof.  The  rights which   the  Raja  possessed  had  been  exercised  by   the predecessor  also but because he had been deprived  only  of the right of management which carried no beneficial interest in the property the attack based on the provisions of  Arts. 19  (1) (f ) and 31 (2) could not be sustained. One  of  the features common to that case and the present one is that the management had been transferred from the sole control of the Raja  to the control of a committee. This was regarded as  a purely  secular  function which did not carry  with  it  any right to property and could not be hit by Art. 19 (1) (f). It  is  true that in the latest decision of  this  Court  in Sambudamurthi Mudaliar v. State of Madras & Anr.(2)   it was taken to be well established that the office of a hereditary trustee  is  in  the nature of "property"  and  this  is  so whether the trustee has beneficial interest of some sort  or not. This observation, we apprehend, was not necessary for a decision  of that case. There the question was  whether  the appellant was a hereditary trustee within the meaning of  s. 6(9)  of the Madras Act 1951 and there was no discussion  or determination  of the point that the office of a  hereditary trustee  was property within Art. 19 (1) (f ) or  any  other Article. Nor do we consider that the various  pronouncements of  the  Privy Council that the rule in the  Tagore(3)  case applies to succession of hereditary trustees can afford much assistance  in deciding whether an office holder who  has  a bare  right  of management can claim to have  any  right  or interest-in  the  nature of property within the  meaning  of Art.  19(1)(f).  Following the principles laid down  in  the Tilkavat   (4)  And Raja Bira- (1)  [1964] 7 S.C.R. 32. (2)  [1970] 2 S.C.R. 424. (3)  [1872] 9 B.L.R. 377. (4) [1964] 1 S.C.R. 561.                             888 kishore  cases we are unable. to endorse the view  that  the office’  of hereditary trusteeship is property  within  Art. 19(1) (f) or, any other Article of the Constitution. We  may  add  that even if it was held that  the  rights  in question  constituted  "property" their  regulation  by  the relevant   provisions  of  the  Act  would  undoubtedly   be protected  by  Art.  19  (5).   We  have  no  hesitation  in concurring  with  the  decision  of  the  High  Court   that restrictions  which have been imposed by the provisions of the Act on the hereditary trustees are reasonable and are in the  interest of the general public.  The power  to  appoint non-hereditary trustees or Executive Officers where there is already  a  hereditary trustee or  trustees  notwithstanding there  is  no  mismanagement, is only  for  the  purpose  of ensuring better and efficient administration and  management of  the institution or endowment.   Non-hereditary  trustees have been associated with the hereditary trustee who has not been removed from his office.  As a matter of fact  complete safeguards  have been provided for ensuring that he  retains his office.  He or one of the hereditary trustees has to  be the Chairman of the Board.  He has various powers under  the provisions of the Act already noticed.  All that can be said is that instead of managing the institution alone he has  to administer  it in collaboration with other trustees who  are non-hereditary.   In  matters  of religion  such  as’  puja, dittam,  rituals etc. there can be no interference.  It  has been  provided in categorical terms that the same,  must  be continued to be performed according to Agamasastras or usage or  custom  prevalent in the institution.  It  is  only  the



secular  aspect  that has been touched and there can  be  no manner of doubt that the same has been done in the  interest of   better  and  efficient  administration.   It  must   be remembered  that  the  legislation relating  to  public  and charitable  institutions or endowments has taken place as  a result of careful deliberation by high powered bodies. In  the report of the Hindu Religious  Endowment  Commission presided  over  by  Dr.  C.  P.  Ramaswami  lyer  which  was appointed  in  March  1960  it has  been  pointed  out  that legislation  relating to endowments became necessary in  the States as a result of the almost invariable mismanagement of the  endowment  properties  of  temples  by  the   trustees, misappropriation of the funds of the endowment for, purposes unconnected  with  the  original aims and  objects  of  such endowments,  utilisation  of funds of the endowment  by  the trustees  or managers for their personal purposes etc.   All this fully supports the decision of the High Court that  the restrictions  which  have  been  placed  on  the  hereditary trustees  as  also on others in whom the management  of  the institution  in H question vests are reasonable and  in  the public interest.  Thus (1)  [1994] 7 S.C.R.32.  889 the  appellants cannot succeed on the principal point  which has been argued before us. A  faint attempt was made to sustain the attack under  Arts. 14  and  26(d) of the Constitution but  finally  hardly  any arguments were addressed worth noticing on these points.  It is unnecessary to deal with individual appeals some of which were  filed  by  societies registered  under  the  Societies Registration  Act i.e. Civil Appeal No. 1249 of 1970.   C.A. No.  1271 of 1970 by the Municipal  Council,  Visakhapatnam, related  to  the Turners Choultry which,  according  to  the Municipal Council, was its private property.  So far as  the validity  of the impugned provisions is concerned  the  same must be sustained in these cases on the same reasoning  as in  the case relating to the hereditary trustee.   The  High Court has rightly left open the question whether the Tumer’s choultry  is a private or a public  charitable  institution. This the Municipal Council is entitled to agitate before the Deputy Commissioner under s. 77 of the Act.  Before the High Court  some of the writ petitioners had claimed  that  their institutions were religious denominations within Art. 26 and were therefore entitled to the protection guaranteed by that Article.   The High Court has, quite rightly, observed  that these matters should be agitated in a proper forum and  they have  been  left  open  for determination  if  add  when  so desired.   This  indisputably  was  the  correct  course  to follow. The  appeals fail and are dismissed with costs.  One set  of hearing fee. V.P.S.                 Appeals dismissed. 890