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RELIGIOUS ENDOWMENTS ACT

Ministry of Law and Justice

Act nº 20 of 1863


  • Act nº 20 of 1863

Preamble

THE RELIGIOUS ENDOWMENTS ACT, 1863

[Act, No. 20 of 1863]

[10th March, 1863]

PREAMBLE An Act to enable the Government to divest itself of the management of Religious Endowments.

whereas it is expedient to relieve the Boards of Revenue, and the Local Agents, in the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal, and the Presidency of Fort Saint George, from the duties imposed on them by Regulation XIX, 1810, of the Bengal Code (for the due appropriation of the rents and produce of lands granted for the support of Mosques, Hindu Temples, Colleges, and other purposes; for the maintenance and repair of Bridges, Sarais, Kattras, and other public buildings; and for the custody and disposal of Nazul Property or Escheats), and Regulation VII, 1817, of the Madras Code (for the due appropriation of the rents and produce of lands granted for the support of Mosques, Hindu Temples and Colleges or other public purposes; for the maintenance and repair of Bridges, Choultries, or Chaltrams, and other public buildings; and for the custody and disposal of Escheats), so far as those duties embrace the superintendence of lands granted for the support of Mosques or Hindu Temples and for other religious uses; the appropriation of endowments made for the maintenance of such religious establishments; the repair and preservation of buildings connected therewith, and the appointment of trustees or managers thereof; or involve any connection with the man­agement of such religious establishments;

It is enacted as follows:

Section 1. Repeal of parts of Bengal Regulation XIX of 1810 and Madras Regulation VII of 1817

[Rep. by the Repealing Act, 1870 (14 of 1870), sec. 1 and Sch.]

Section 2. Interpretation clause

In this Act

"Civil Court" and "Court".The words "Civil Court" and "Court" shall save as provided in section 10 mean the principal Court of original civil jurisdiction in the District in which or any other Court empowered in that behalf by the State Government within the local limits of the jurisdiction of which, the mosque, temple or religious establishment is situate, relating to which, or to the endowment whereof, any suit shall be instituted or application made under the provisions of this Act.

Section 3. Government to make special provision respecting mosques, etc.

In the case of every mosque, temple or other religious establishment to which the provisions of either of the Regulations specified in the preamble to this Act are applicable, and nomination of the trustee, manager or superintendent thereof, at the time of the passing of this Act, is vested in, or may be exercised by, the Government, or any public officer, or in which the nomination of such trustee, manager or superintendent shall be subject to the confirmation of the Government or any public officer, the State Government shall, as soon as possible after the passing of this Act, make special provision as hereinafter provided.

Section 4. Transfer to trustees, etc., of trust-property in charge of Revenue Board

In the case of every such mosque, temple or other religious establishment which, at the time of the passing of this Act, shall be under the management of any trustee, manager or superintendent, whose nomination shall not vest in, nor be exercised by, nor be subject to the confirmation of, the Government, or any public officer, the State Government shall, as soon as possible after the passing of this Act, transfer to such trustee, manager or superintendent, all the landed or other property which, a! the time of the passing of this Act, shall be under the superintendence or in the possession of the Board of Revenue, or any local agent, and belonging to such mosque, temple of other religious establishment, except such property as is hereinafter provided:

Cessation of Board's powers as to such property.and the powers and responsibilities of the Board of Revenue, and the local agents, in respect to such mosque, temple or other religious establishment, and to all land and other property so transferred, except as regards acts done and liabilities incurred by the said Board of Revenue or any local agent, previous to such transfer, shall cease and determine.

Section 5. Procedure in case of dispute as to right of succession to vacated trusteeship

Whenever from any cause a vacancy shall occur in the office of any trustee, manager, or superintendent, to whom any property shall have been transferred under the last preceding section, and any dispute shall arise respecting the right of succession to such office, it shall be lawful for any person interested in the mosque, temple or re­ligious establishment, to which such property shall belong, or in the performance of the worship or of the service thereof, or the trusts relating thereto, to apply to the Civil Court to appoint a manager of such mosque, temple or other religious establishment, and thereupon such Court may appoint such manager, to act until some other person shall by suit have established his right of succession to such office.

Powers of managers appointed by Court.

The manager so appointed by the Civil Court shall have, and shall exercise, all the powers which, under this or any other Act, the former trustee, manager, or superintendent, in whose place such manager is appointed, by the Court, had or could exercise, in relation to such mosque, temple or religious establishment, or the property belonging thereto.

Section 6. Rights, etc., of trustees to whom property is transferred under section 4

The rights, powers, and responsibilities of every trustee, manager or superintendent, to whom the land and other property of any mosque, temple or other religious establishment is transferred in the manner prescribed in section 4 of this Act, as well as the conditions of their appointment, election and removal, shall be the same as if this Act had not been passed, except in respect of the liability to be sued under this Act, and except in respect of the authority of the Board of Revenue, and local agents, given by the Regulations hereby repealed, over such mosque, temple or religious establishment, and over such trustee, manager, or superintendent, which authority is hereby determined and repealed.

All the powers which might be exercised by any Board or local agent, for the recovery of the rent of land or other property transferred under the said section 4 of this Act, may, from the date of such transfer, be exercised by any trustee, manager or superintendent to whom such transfer is made.

Section 7. Appointment of committees

In all cases described in section 3 of this Act, the State Government shall once for all appoint one or more committees in every di­vision or district, to take the place, and to exercise the powers, of the Board of Revenue and the local agents under the Regulations hereby repealed.

Constitution and duties of committees.

Such committee shall consist of three or more persons, and shall perform all the duties imposed on such Board and local agents, except in respect of any property which is specially provided for under section 21 of this Act.

Section 8. Qualifications of member of committee

The members of the said committee shall be appointed from among persons professing the religion for the purposes of which the mosque, temple or other religious establishment, was founded, or is now maintained, and in accordance, so far as can be ascertained, with the general wishes of those who are interested in the maintenance of such mosque, temple or other religious establish­ment.

The appointment of the committee shall be notified in the Official Gazette.

Ascertaining whishes of persons interested.-

In order to ascertain the general wishes of such persons in respect of such appointment, the State Government may cause an election to be held, under such rules1[by notification in the Official Gazette] not incon­sistent with the provisions of this Act, as shall be framed by such State Government.

1[Every rule framed under this section shall be laid, as soon as it is framed, before the State Legislature.]

1. Inserted by Act 20 of 1983, section 2 and Schedule w.e.f. 15-3-1984.


Section 9. Tenure of office

Every member of a committee appointed as above shall hold his office for life, unless removed for misconduct or unfitness;

Removal.

and no such member shall be removed except by an order of the Civil Court as hereinafter provided.

Section 10. Vacancies to be filled

Whenever any vacancy shall occur among the members of a committee appointed as above, a new member shall be elected to fill the vacancy by the persons interested as above provided.

Procedure.

The remaining members of the committee shall, as soon as possible, give public notice of such vacancy, and shall fix a day, which shall not be later than three months from the date of such vacancy, for an election of a new member by the persons interested as above provided, under rules for elections which shall be framed by the State Government;

and whoever shall be then elected, under the said rules, shall be a member of the committee to fill such vacancy.

When court may fill vacancy.

If any vacancy as aforesaid shall not be filled up by such election as aforesaid within three months after if has occurred, the Civil Court, on the application of any person whatever, may appoint a person to fill the vacancy or may order that the vacancy be forthwith filled up by the remaining members of the committee, with which order it shall then be the duty of such remaining members to comply; and if this order be not complied with, the Civil Court may appoint a member to fill the said vacancy.

Explanation.--In this section "Civil Court" means the principal Court of original civil jurisdiction in the district in which the mosques, temples or religious establishments for which the committee has been appointed or any of them are situate.

Section 11. No member of committee to be also trustee, etc. of mosque, etc.

No member of a committee appointed under this Act shall be capable of being, or shall act, also as a trustee, manager or superintendent of the mosque, temple or other religious establishment for the management of which such committee shall have been appointed.

Section 12. On appointment of committee, Board and local agents to transfer property

Immediately on the appointment of a committee as above provided for the superintendence of any such mosque, temple or religious establishment, and for the management of its affairs, the Board of Revenue, or the local agents acting under the authority of the said Board, shall transfer to such committee all landed or other property which at the time of appointment shall be under the superintendence, or in the posses­sion of the said Board or local agents, and belonging to the said religious establishment, except as is hereinafter provided for,

Termination of powers and responsibilities of Board and Agents.and there­upon the powers and responsibilities of the Board and the local agents, in respect to such mosque, temple or religious establishment, and to all land and other property so trans­ferred except as above, and except as regards acts done and liabilities incurred by the said Board or agents previous to such transfer, shall cease and determine.

Commencement of powers of Committee.--All the powers which might be exer­cised by any Board or local agent for the recovery of the rent of land or other property transferred under this section may from the date of such transfer be exercised by such committee to whom such transfer is made.

Section 13. Duty of trustee, etc., as to accounts

It shall be the duty of every trustee, manager and superintendent of a mosque, temple or religious establishment ot which the provisions of this Act shall apply to keep regular accounts of his receipts and dis­bursements in respect of the endowments and expenses of such mosque, temple or other religious establishment;

and of committee.and it shall be the duty of every committee of management, appointed or acting under the authority of this Act, to require from every trustee, manager and superintendent of such mosque, temple or other religious establishment, the pro­duction of such regular accounts of such receipts and disbursements at least once in every year; and every such committee of management shall themselves keep such accounts thereof.

Section 14. Persons interested may singly sue in case of breach of trust, etc.

Any person or persons interested in any mosque, temple or religious establishment, or in the performance of the worship or of the service thereof, or the trusts relating thereto, may, without joining as plaintiff any of the other persons interested therein, sue before the Civil Court the trustee, manager or superintendent of such mosque, temple or religious establishment or the member of any committee appointed under this Act, for any misfeasance, breach of trust or neglect of duty, committed by such trustee, manager, superintendent or member of such committee, in respect of the trusts vested in, or confided to, them respectively;

Powers of Civil Court.and the Civil Court may direct the specific performance of any act by such trustee, manager, superintendent or member of a committee,

and may decree damages and costs against such trustee, manager, superintendent or member of a committee,

and may also direct the removal of such trustee, manager, superintendent or member of a committee.