Any And Every Suit Relating To A Public Trust Need Not Be Under Section 92 CPC: Kerala HC [Read Judgment]

Any And Every Suit Relating To A Public Trust Need Not Be Under Section 92 CPC: Kerala HC [Read Judgment]

"Any and every suit relating to a public trust need not be under Section 92 of the Code, unless the reliefs claimed therein do fall within the matters enumerated in Section 92(1) of the Code"

The Kerala High Court has observed that any and every suit relating to a public trust need not be under Section 92 of the Code of Civil Procedure, unless the reliefs claimed therein do fall within the matters enumerated in Section 92(1) of the Code.

The Trial Court, in this case, had rejected a plaint on the ground that there is no cause of action against the defendants for instituting the suit. The suit was filed seeking to set aside an assignment deed obtained by the 1st defendant from other defendants in respect of the plaint schedule property. The plaintiff contention was that the plaint schedule land and building had been dedicated to the Synagogue and it therefore forms part of a religious charitable trust of a public nature. The case is related to a Paradesi Synagogue, which is the oldest active Synagogue located at Jew Town in Kochi.

The bench comprising Justice A. Hariprasad and Justice Shircy V., while considering the appeal filed by the plaintiff, addressed a contention of the defendants that, if the plaintiffs wanted any relief complaining of a breach of trust, their remedy should have been a suit under Section 92 of the Code of Civil Procedure. It said:

"In answer to this contention, learned counsel replied that the appellants do not seek any of the reliefs enumerated in Section 92(1) (a) to (h) of the Code. Settled legal position is that any and every suit relating to a public trust need not be under Section 92 of the Code, unless the reliefs claimed therein do fall within the matters enumerated in Section 92(1) of the Code."

Matters falling under Section 92(1) are:

  • (a) removing any trustee;
  • (b) appointing a new trustee;
  • (c) vesting any property in a trustee;
  • (cc) directing a trustee who has been removed or a person who has ceased to be a trustee, to deliver possession of any trust property in his possession to the person entitled to the possession of such property;
  • d) directing accounts and inquiries;
  • (e) declaring what proportion of the trust property or of the interest therein shall be allocated to any particular object of the trust;
  • (f) authorizing the whole or any part of the trust property to be let, sold, mortgaged or exchanged;
  • (g) settling a scheme;
  • (h) granting such further or other relief as the nature of the case may require.

While allowing the appeal, the bench observed that, on a reading of the plaint in its entirety, the trial court is not legally justified in entering a finding that the averments in the plaint do not reveal a cause of action. Referring to various authorities, the court said:

"The legal concept called "cause of action" is unquestionably a bundle of facts, which, taken with the law applicable to them, gives the plaintiff a right to relief against the defendant. Certainly, it must take in an objectionable act on the part of the defendant, in the absence of which no cause of action can possibly accrue to the plaintiff. Unchallengeable is the proposition that cause of action is not limited to the actual infringement of the right sued on, but includes all the material facts on which it is founded. However, it does not comprise evidence necessary to prove such facts. Still, it takes in every fact enabling the plaintiff to obtain a decree. By cause of action, it is meant that every fact, which, if traversed, would be necessary for the plaintiff to prove in order to support his right to get a judgment from the court; in otherwords, a bundle of facts which itself is necessary for the plaintiff to prove in order to succeed in the suit."

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