நில மோசடி, சொத்துக் குவிப்பு, வங்கியில் கோடிக்கணக்கில் பணம் முதலியவற்றில் ஈடுபட்ட சென்னை பிஷப்புகள்!

நில மோசடி, சொத்துக் குவிப்பு, வங்கியில் கோடிக்கணக்கில் பணம் முதலியவற்றில் ஈடுபட்ட சென்னை பிஷப்புகள்!

நிலமோசடி, ஆக்கிரமிப்பு செய்வதில் ஒன்றும் தவறில்லை – சொல்வது எஸ்ரா சற்குணம்! சென்னையில் சர்ச்சுகளை பெருக்குவது – அதாவது அதிகமாக்குவது பற்றிய தனது பரிசோதனைத் திட்டத்தில் எஸ்ரா சற்குணம் என்ற பாதிரி, இப்பொழுதைய பிஷப் கூறுவதாவது, “ஏசுகிருஸ்துவிற்காக ஒரு சிறிய சர்ர்ச்சைக் கட்ட இப்படி புறம்போக்கு நிலத்தை வளைத்துப் போடுவதில் தவறு இல்லை”! பாஸ்டர் தேவசகாயம் என்பவர், நுங்கம்பாக்கத்தில் எப்படி சட்டத்திற்கு புறம்பாக நிலத்தை ஆக்கிரமித்தார் என்று விளக்குகிறார்[1]. முதலில், சிலர் ஜெபிப்பதற்காக ஒரு இடத்தில் கூடுவார்களாம்; பிறகு அங்கு ஓலை குடிசை போடுவார்களாம்; பிறகு அதை பெரிய குடிசையாக்கி, ஊள்ளூர் கிருத்துவ போலீஸ் அதிகாரியின் உதவியுடன்[2] சர்ச் கட்டுவார்களாம்! ஆக இப்படி விளக்கியப் பிறகுதான், திருவாளர் எஸ்ரா சற்குணம் என்ற பாதிரி, இப்பொழுதைய பிஷப் சொல்கிறார், “ஏசுகிருஸ்துவிற்காக ஒரு சிறிய சர்ச்சைக் கட்ட இப்படி புறம்போக்கு நிலத்தை வளைத்துப் போடுவதில் தவறு இல்லை” என்று! இவர்தான், 2009ல் அன்பழனுக்கு கஞ்சி குடிக்க குல்லா மாட்டி விட்டவர்!

திமுக சர்ச்சுகளை பெருக்குவதற்கு – அதாவது அதிகமாக்குவதற்கு உதவுகின்றதாம்! திமுக நிதியமைச்சருக்கு குல்லா போட்டுவிடும் அளவிற்கு, அப்படியென்ன திமுகவின் மீது காதல் என்றால், திமுகதான் தமிழகத்தில் சர்ச் அதிகமாவதற்கு உதவியதாம்[3] – அதாவது இப்படி புறம்போக்கு நிலங்களை வளைத்துப் போடுவதற்கு, ஆக்கிரமிப்பு செய்வதற்கு, வேண்டியவர்களுக்கு குத்தகை விடுவதற்கு – எனவும் விரித்துச் சொல்லலாம்! திமுகவின் இந்து விரோத போக்கு கிருத்துவர்களுக்கு உதவுகின்றது, கிருத்துவர்களின் திட்டங்களுக்கு உதவுகின்றது, என்று அவர்களே சொல்லும் போது, நாத்திகத்தின் முகமூடியும் கிழியத்தான் செய்கிறது, இருப்பினும் அதுவும் அவர்களுக்கு உதவுகிறது!

1980-90களில் மோசடியில் ஈடுபட்ட ஆர்ச் பிஷப், மற்ற பிஷப்புகள்: ஆர்ச் பிஷப் அருளப்பா (1912-1996) முதலியோர் “செயின்ட் தாமஸ்” மோசடியில், இதே மாதிரி லட்சங்களைக் கொட்டி, போலி ஆவணங்களை உருவாக்குதல், ஆதாரங்களை மறைத்தல், பணம் கையாடல், போப்பை சந்தித்து அத்தகைய மோசடி வேலைகளுக்கு சிறப்பூட்டல், முதலியவற்றில் ஈடுபட்டு, நீதிமன்றங்களில் வழக்காடி, ஒருவர் சிறைச் சென்று, நாறிவிட்டது[4]. இதிலும், செக்ஸ், சுகமான பயணங்கள் முதலியவையெல்லாம் உள்ளன. முக்கியமாக, இது தமிழ் கலாச்சாரம், நாகரிகம், பண்பாடு, பாரம்பரியம் முதலியவற்றிற்கு எதிராக நடந்த மோசடிகள் என்பதை ஞாபகத்தில் வைத்துக் கொள்ளவேண்டும்[5].

இறந்த பாதிரியாரின் வங்கி கணக்கில் கோடிக்கும் மேலான பணம், கோடிக்கணக்கில் சொத்து[6]: இந்த பாதிரியார்களின் மகத்துவமே அலாதியாக இருக்கிறது. முற்றிலும் துறந்த முனிகள் போல, இவர்கள் வெள்ளாடை அணிந்து வெளியில் உலா வருகிறார்கள். இகவுலக வாழ்வையே துறந்துவிட்டது மாதிரி பேசுகிறார்கள். அப்படியிருக்கும் போது, எப்படி இறந்த பாதிரியாரின் வங்கி கணக்கில் கோடிக்கும் மேலான பணம், கோடிக்கணக்கில் சொத்து முதலியன இருக்கும்? இப்படி கேட்பது நீதி மன்றம்:

The deceased Fr.Jacob Vettichirayil son of Thomas Vettichirayil was a priest and was serving as a Parish Priest in St.Antony’s Church, Park Towrr, Madras in the Diocese of Madras-Mylapore. The said priest had served other places also under the said diocese and he died on 10.6.1987. He had left behind the movable properties described in the schedule comprising of fixed deposits and money collected in the Savings Account in various banks. The total amount lying in such banks is shown as Rs. 1,04,967,27. The other important fact to be noticed is that the deceased Father Jacob is a christian belonging to the Roman Catholic faith and he had joined the seminary run by the appellant diocese in accordance with the canon law. After undergoing training for a period of seven years he was ordained as priest after taking the necessary vows, one of which is to sever his connection absolutely with his family and his properties. After such ordination a priest cannot own any property of his own except for administrative purpose. The appellant claimed as the spiritual head of the diocese as being entitled to receive the amounts shown in the schedule. On the banks insisting on a succession certificate the application is filed.

இதே மாதிரி, இன்னொரு முற்றும் துறந்த கத்தோலிக்கத் துறவி[7] 3000 நட்சத்திர தங்க பகோடாக்கள் – அதாவது 64,000 ஸில்லிங் / 165,000 ஃபணம் – வைத்திருந்தாராம்! அப்படியென்றால், கிருத்துவ பாதிரிகள் இந்தியாவில் அக்காலத்திலேயே, எந்த அளவிற்கு பணத்தைக் கொள்ளையடித்திருப்பர்? இப்படி பணம் இருக்கும் போது, ஆண்தன்மை படாதபாடு படுகிறது, கன்னித்தன்மையின்மீது பாய்கிறது.

1990-2000களில் நில மோசடியில் ஈடுபட்ட பிஷப்புகள்; கோடிக்கணக்கில் நடந்துள்ள நில மோசடியில், சென்னை பிஷப்புகள் ஈடுபட்டுள்ளதாக, சென்னை நீதிமன்ற தீர்ப்பு மூலம் தெரிகிறது[8]. எல். எம். மென்ஸிஸ் (L.M.Menezes), ஜோஸப் குரியகோஸ்  (Joseph C.Kuriacose) மற்றும் ஹெரால்ட் டி’சில்வா  (Harold D’Silva) என்ற மூவர் சர். ஜான் டி மான்டே[9] டிரஸ்டின் கோடிக்கணக்கான மதிப்புள்ள நிலத்தை, டிரஸ்டின் விதிகளுக்குப் புறம்பாக ஜேப்பியார் என்பவருக்கு விற்றுவிட்டதாக, சென்னை ஆர்ச் பிஷப், மற்ற பிஷப்புகள், கத்தோலிக்க பிஷப் குழுமம் முதலியவர்களின் மீது வழக்கு தொடர்ந்தனர்[10]. அதுமட்டுமல்லாது லாரன்ஸ் பயஸ் என்ற பிஷப், வெகுகால குத்தகைக்கு ஜேப்பியாருக்கு கொடுப்பதையும் எதிர்த்து வழக்குத் தொடர்ந்தார்[11]. ரூ.600-650 கோடி மதிப்புள்ள சொத்தை ரூ.75 கோடி மற்றும் மாதம் ரூ.15,000/- என்ற வீதத்தில் குத்தகைக் கொடுததும் பல கேல்விகளை எழுப்பின. இதில் வேடிக்கையென்னவென்றால், 2001-2002 வாக்கில், லாரன்ஸ் பயஸ் பிஷப்பே, அத்தகைய பேரத்தில் ஈடுபட்டு, பிறகு, ஒன்றும் தெரியாதது போல நடித்து வருகின்றார். இவையெல்லாம் 2001 – 2007 காலக்கட்டத்தில் நடந்தேறின.

ஈடுபட்டுள்ளவர்களின் பட்டியல் இப்படி நீண்டுள்ளது: இரண்டு வழக்குகள், தொடர்ந்த அப்பீல்கள் என வழக்காடுகளில் ஈடுபட்டுள்ளவர்களின் பட்டியல் இப்படி நீண்டுள்ளது:

1.Rt.Rev.Dr.Lawrence Pius

2.Most Rev.Arul Das James

3.Rt.Rev.Tony Devotta

4.Rev.Fr.P.J.Lawrence Raj

5.Rev.Fr.Thomas Simon

6.Rev.Fr.K.S.Lawrence

7.Mr.Jeppiaar

8.Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI),

rep.by its Secretary General

Most Rev.Oswald Gracias,

CBCI Centre, H1, Ashok Place,

(Near Gole Dakkhana),

New Delhi-110 021.

9.Most Rev.Archbishop of Goa,

Archbishop’s House, “Altinha”

Panjim, Goa-403 001.

(nominated as Supervisor of  the Trust by the Testator)…Respondents in O.S.A.83/2003

1.Most Rev.Arul Das James

2.Rt.Rev.Dr.Lawrence Pius

3.Rt.Rev.Tony Devotta

4.Rev.Fr.P.J.Lawrence Raj

5.Rev.Fr.Thomas Simon

6.Rev.Fr.K.S.Lawrence

7.Mr.Jeppiaar

8.Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI),

rep.by its Secretary General

Most Rev.Oswald Gracias,

CBCI Centre, H1, Ashok Place,

(Near Gole Dakkhana),

New Delhi-110 021.

9.Most Rev.Archbishop of Goa,

Archbishop’s House, “Altinha”

Panjim, Goa-403 001.

(nominated as Supervisor of

the Trust by the Testator)

10.The John De Monte Trust

(created in and by the Will of

Sir John De Monte dated

18th July, 1820), rep.by its Trustee,

Archbishop’s House,

21, Santhome High Road, Chennai-4.

ஆனால், இதே ஆர்ச் பிஷப்புகள், பிஷப்புகள், பாதிரியார்கள் யோக்கியர்கள் மாதிரி மற்றவர்களைப் பற்றி கேவலமாகவும், அவதூறாகவும் பேசிக் கொண்டிருப்பர்.

2000-2010களில் செக்ஸ், பாலியல், பாலியல் வன்புணர்ச்சிகள், ஆபாசங்கள், அடிதடி, அடாவடித்தனங்களில் ஈடுபடும் பிஷப்புகள்; எந்த அளவிற்கு ஒரு ஆசிரியையை பாடுபடுத்தியிருந்தால், நீதிமன்றத்திற்கு சென்றிருப்பார் என்று எண்ணிப் பார்க்க வேண்டும், ஏனெனில், இவர்கள் எல்லோரும் பொதுவாக, நீதி மன்றத்திற்குச் செல்லாமலேயே விஷயத்தை அமுக்கி தமக்குள் விவகாரங்களை முடித்துக் கொண்டு விடுவர்[12]. இதே நிலைதான், இப்பொழுது 2010ல் ஊடகக்காரகளை பிடித்து வைத்தது, அடித்தது, கேமராவைப் பிடுங்கு வைத்துக் கொண்டது போன்ற அடாவடித்தன வேலைகளில் தெரிய வருகிறது.


[1] M. Ezra Sargunam, Multiplying Churches in India: An Experiment in Madras, Federation of Evangelical Churches of India, 1974, Madras, p.97.

[2] இத்தகைய ஒத்துழைப்பு அமைப்பினை செஞ்சி ஆக்கிரமிப்பிலும் காணலாம். அங்கும் கிருத்துவ அதிகாரிகளின் துணையுடன், பாதுகாப்புடன் கோவில் நிலத்தை, கோவிலுடன் அபகரிக்க திட்டம் போட்டது, செய்தி தாள்களில் வெளிவந்தது. அச்சிறுப்பாக்கம் மலையும் அவ்வாறுதான் ஆக்கிரமிப்பு செய்யப் பட்டது.

[3] திமுகவின் இந்து விரோதத்தன்மை அவர்களுக்கு சாதமாக இருக்கிறதாம்! திமுக 1961ல் பதவிக்கு வந்ததிலிருந்து, தென்னிந்தியாவில் மதத்தை (இந்து மதம்) ஒழித்து விட்டதாம். இதனால் அவர்களது OMS-ECI திட்டத்தைச் செயல்படுத்த ஏதுவாக இருக்கிறதாம்!

M. Ezra Sargunam, Multiplying Churches in India: An Experiment in Madras, Federation of Evangelical Churches of India, 1974, Madras, pp141-142.

[4] இதைப் பற்றி ஏற்கெனவே எழுதியிருப்பதால், இங்கு திரும்பவும் விளக்க வேண்டிய அவசியம் இல்லை. இணைதளங்களில் பார்த்து தெரிந்து கொள்ளலாம்.

Archbishop Arulappa vs. Acharya Paul – C. S. No. 318 of 1980 Arulappa vs Ganesh Iyer; Application No. 2957, 2629 of 1980 and 391 and 393 of 1985

[5] அதனால்தான், இதே சின்னப்பா, அதே அருளப்பாவின் வழியில் தெய்வநாயகம் போன்ற போலி அர்ராய்ச்சியாளர்களை வைத்துக் கொண்டு அதே போன்ற மோசடிகளை செய்து வருகிறார் என்பதையும் நோக்கத்தக்கது.

[6]Rt. Rev. Casmir Gnanadickam … vs Unknown on 5 February, 1998;  http://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/1462442/

[7] Most. Rev. P.M.A. Metropolitan & … vs Moran Mar Marthoma & Anr on 20 June, 1995; http://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/634316/

Moran Mar Baselious Marthoma … vs State Of Kerala on 28 January, 2003; http://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/969460/

[8] http://www.rishabhdara.com/sc/view.php?case=73009

L.M. Menezes And Ors. vs Most Rev. Arul Das Jamas And Ors. on 6 January, 2003; http://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/1379270/

L.M.Menezes vs Rt.Rev.Dr.Lawrence Pius on 22 December, 2003; http://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/1852617/

“Memorandum of Setllement” dated 20-01-1985 between Arulappa and Acharya Paul, p.no.7.

[9] இதில் வேடிக்கை என்னவென்றால், இந்த ஆள் சென்னையில் போர்ச்சுகீசியர் ஆக்கிரமித்த நிலங்களை, வளைத்துப் பிடித்து வாங்கியவர். மேலும் இவருக்கு “சர்” என்ற பட்டம் கொடுக்கப்படவேயில்லை! இதுதான் அவர்களது சரித்திரம்.

[10] The appellants herein made allegations against the respondents that the properties of the Trust were being mismanaged in violation of the instructions of the testator and a substantial extent of immovable properties were sold. One of the properties of the Trust is comprised in R.S.No.3923 of Mylapore Village of a total extent of 257 grounds and 81 sq.ft., consisting of buildings, which is commonly known as Bens Garden, which was proposed to be leased for long term to the seventh respondent, without proper advertisement or notice to the general public. The second respondent filed O.P.before the original side of this Court, seeking permission for long term lease to be given to the seventh respondent, which was also objected to by the appellants herein.

[11] The Hindu, Madras High Court refuses to approve the land lease agreements, Sunday, Jul 23, 2006, http://www.hindu.com/2006/07/23/stories/2006072305380400.htm

[12] Archbishop Arulappa vs. Acharya Paul – C. S. No. 318 of 1980 Arulappa vs Ganesh Iyer; Application No. 2957, 2629 of 1980 and 391 and 393 of 1985. இது செட்டில்மன்ட் வழாக்கானதால் கோர்ட்டிற்கு செல்லவேண்டியதாயிற்று! இல்லையென்றால், இதுவும் மக்களின் பார்வைக்கு வந்திருக்காது, அத்தகைய மோசடிகள் வெளிவந்திருக்காது.

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5 பதில்கள் to “நில மோசடி, சொத்துக் குவிப்பு, வங்கியில் கோடிக்கணக்கில் பணம் முதலியவற்றில் ஈடுபட்ட சென்னை பிஷப்புகள்!”

  1. M. W. Prabhakaran Says:

    இப்படி உள்ளூக்குள், ஒருவருக்கு எதிராக ஒருவர் வழக்கு போட்டு, சொத்துக்களை, பணத்தை அபகரிக்க தயராக இருக்கும் இந்த பிஷப்புகள், பாதிரிகளா கிருத்துவத்தை பாதுகாக்கப் போகிறார்கள்?

    முதலில், கிருத்துவர்களே, இந்த கரு ஆடுகளை வெளீயேற்றுவது நல்லது.

    இல்லையென்றால், உள்ள ஆடுகள் எல்லாம் ஓநாய்களாக மாறி விடும், பிறகு, மேய்ப்பருக்கே அபத்து வந்து விடும்.

  2. vedaprakash Says:

    Madras bishop in customs fraud: The Church of England Newspaper, July 9, 2010 p 6. July 17, 2010

    http://geoconger.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/madras-bishop-in-customs-fraud-the-church-of-england-newspaper-july-9-2010-p-6/

    Bishop V Devasahayam

    First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

    Indian Customs and Excise has fined the Bishop in Madras £7000 for his part in a scheme to defraud the government of import duties.

    The Deccan Chronicle reported the government launched an investigation into Bishop Vedanayagam Devasahayam after receiving a tip that medical equipment donated to the CSI Hospital in Nagari in Andhra Pradesh had been undervalued. The diocese had presented a false manifest to the Department of Revenue that led to an underpayment of import duties.

    “The department of revenue intelligence (DRI) received a complaint on the malpractice in the deal some years back. In 2003, DRI forwarded the complaint to [Madras] customs commissioner who ordered a departmental enquiry. Upon investigation it was proved that the consignment was brought here and presented at an undervalued rate,” a government official told the Chronicle.

    The diocese was ordered to pay a fine and back duty of almost £675,000 while Bishop Devasahayam was ordered to pay a personal fine of £7000 for his role in the affair. Supporters of the bishop report the fines have been paid, and have accused the bishop’s critics of racism, saying their attacks are motivated by the bishop’s status as a Dalit, or untouchable.

    Bishop Devasahayam is also embroiled in a lawsuit before the Indian Supreme Court over his continued status Bishop in Madras.

    When appointed Bishop in Madras at age 50, Bishop Devasahayam agreed to remain in office for ten years. When he reached the age of 60, the bishop declined to retire citing church rules that set the age of retirement at 65. Lay members of the diocese brought suit against the bishop, backed by the Executive Committee of the CSI’s General Synod, that sought a court order forcing the bishop to retire.

    Last year the trial court ruled in favour of the bishop, which held the CSI was a voluntary association under Indian law and was governed by its by-laws. No one could curtail, annul, amend or modify the canons, except in accordance with the terms of canon law, the lower court held, ruling the ten year term rule imposed upon the bishop was a “manifest illegality.”

    However the Madras High Court on Sept 18 overturned the lower court decision, saying in 1999 the CSI Synod “made the appointment for only 10 years, and this was also approved subsequently and informed to Bishop Devasahayam. He also gave his consent in writing.”

    “Having accepted the appointment for a period of 10 years, now he cannot be permitted to say that he would continue till 65 years of age,” the High Court held, affirming the dismissal of the bishop.

    The bishop filed an appeal to the Indian Supreme Court and on Oct 30, 2009 it issued an order stating Bishop Devasahayam “shall continue as caretaker Bishop,” and ordered an “interim stay of any fresh election process,” pending the final disposition of the case.

    As of July 5, 2010 the proceedings remain pending before the Supreme Court

  3. vedaprakash Says:

    St. Andrew’s Church claim on land rejected
    B. Kolappan

    http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article598523.ece

    Land in Chennai was leased to CSITA: Defence Estates Office

    The decades-old dispute between the Church of South India Trust Association (CSITA) and St. Andrew’s Church (The Kirk) over possession of 9.47 acres of land in Chennai took a new turn with the Defence Estates Office rejecting the claim made by the Kirk that the “land at Vepery village absolutely belongs to it.”

    The Defence Estates Office, Madras Circle, in its communication on July 16, 2010, has informed the secretary of the Kirk Session that the land along with the building comprising the Church belonged to the Ministry of Defence and that it had been leased out in favour of CSITA.

    The communication also stated that it had reasons to believe that the Kirk Session was planning to construct a shopping complex on the defence leased site and stressed that the lessee of the property could use it only for church purposes.
    Unanimous move

    According to V. Devasahayam, Bishop, Madras Diocese, St. Andrew’s Church, established by the Church of Scotland, joined the union of CSI in 1959, on the basis of a unanimous resolution. It was approved by the general assembly of the Church of Scotland and the properties of the Church stood transferred to CSITA.

    The CSI was formed by integrating Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and the Congregational churches in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, the Union Territory of Puducherry, and the north and east of Sri Lanka. CSITA was formed in 1947 as a legal body to hold moveable and immoveable properties of the CSI.

    The Bishop also furnished several documents supporting CSITA’s rights over the land. In February 1988, the Ministry of Defence conveyed to the then Bishop, Sundar Clarke, that the government had taken a decision to recognise the transfer of St. Andrews Church from the Church of Scotland Colonial Chaplaincy Board to the CSI and transfer land and properties of the Church to CSITA.

    Even in 2008, P. Chidambaram, Union Home Minister, who then held the portfolio of Finance, wrote to Defence Minister A.K. Antony asking him to consider the request of CSITA and issue appropriate orders.

    On the other hand, the Kirk Session has been maintaining that St. Andrew’s Church has not joined the CSI and continued to remain an autonomous entity, acting under the terms of an Act of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland of 1899.

    But the Bishop, citing a letter from Dr. Finlay A.J. Macdonald, Principal Clerk, The Church of Scotland, pointed out that the legislation was revised many times, most recently in 2003, and the 1899 legislation “has no current force.” “The congregation today comes entirely within the jurisdiction of the CSI and cannot claim that its affairs are regulated in any way by the Church of Scotland,” the letter from Mr. Macdonald stated.

    Bishop Devasahayam remarked that “the St. Andrew’s Church arguments are inconsistent.” He explained: “In its earlier communications, including its letter in 1993, to the Director General, Defence Estates, the Kirk only wanted the lease of the property in its favour, but it subsequently started claiming that it was the owner of the land. Earlier the Kirk maintained that it does not want to secede from the CSI, but only wanted to make provision in the lease to meet the eventuality, however remote it may be. Now the Kirk claims that it is not part of the CSI.”

    A legal notice sent by the Kirk, in April 7, 2010, said a chance discovery of an extract in “A” register during examination of archives had proved that the property belonged to the St. Andrew’s Church. Asked about this claim, Bishop Devasahayam, said the argument does not hold water since the extract of the so-called “A” register has not been produced to anyone for the last couple of years.

    “Even if one accepts the version of St. Andrew’s Church for the sake of argument, it goes to establish that the property forms part of the property of the Church of Scotland and it had recognised CSITA as its legal successor. It also transferred all the 146 properties to CSITA,” he explained.

    As regards the property occupied by St. Andrews Church, he said, since the property belonged to the government of India, it took some time to recognise the change of congregation of St. Andrew’s Church before transferring the properties to CSITA.

    “Unfortunately some vested interests in the St Andrew’s Church are attempting to dilute the authority of the CSI/CSITA for reasons best known to them,” the Bishop observed. “There is an attempt to grab the Defence land. The question now is whether the Ministry of Defence will encourage an attempt of land grabbing or will it execute the agreement for the already sanctioned lease with CSITA and defend the Defence Land.”

  4. vedaprakash Says:

    Heard The Respective Counsel For … vs Unknown on 22 June, 2009

    http://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/55796/

    IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS

    DATED: 22.06.2009

    CORAM

    THE HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE K.CHANDRU

    ORIGINAL APPLICATION NO.329 OF 2009

    AND APPLICATION NO.1561 OF 2009

    IN C.S.NO.295 OF 2009

    AND

    ORIGINAL APPLICATION NO.492 OF 2009

    AND APPLICATION NO.2171 OF 2009

    IN C.S.NO.423 OF 2009

    ORDER

    Heard the respective counsel for parties and perused the records.

    2.C.S.No.295 of 2009 is filed by one Laity Association of CSI-Madras Diocese represented by its General Secretary and Vice President. The suit is filed for a declaration that the fifth defendant (Rt.Rev.Dr.V.Devasagayam) cannot hold the post of Bishop of Church of South India-Madras Diocese beyond 1.5.2009. It also prayed for a mandatory injunction, directing defendants 1 to 4 to take action in terms of Clause 2 of Chapter VI of the Constitution of the Church of South India. A further prayer is for a mandatory injunction directing the defendants 2 and 3 to issue a mandate to the fourth defendant in respect of the nomination of Bishopric candidates to the post of Bishop of Church of South India – Madras Diocese. 3.The said plaintiff has filed an application in O.A.No.329 of 2009, seeking for grant of interim injunction restraining the fifth defendant from holding the post of Bishop of CSI – Madras Diocese beyond 1.5.2009. In Application No.1561 of 2009, the same plaintiff Association also sought for a direction to respondents 1 and 2 to send a mandate to the fourth respondent to start the election process of bishopric falling vacant in the Madras Diocese immediately as per Clause 2 of Chapter VI of Constitution of CSI. 4.When these matters came up on 16.4.2009, the respondents were directed to be served with notice. Accordingly, they were served. On 29.4.2009, this Court recorded the statement of first and second respondents that the Executive Committee of the Synod was seized of the issue relating to the tenure of the fifth respondent and that the Synod will decide the issue relating to the continuance of the fifth respondent as the Bishop. The Synod also will address the issue relating to the tenure of fifth respondent and take a decision in accordance with their Constitution. 5.When these matters were pending, the second defendant in the suit, i.e. Moderator of CSI (Rt.Rev.D.J.Gladstone), issued a communication, dated 30.4.2009, stating that the term of office of the fifth respondent Bishop will come to an end on 1.5.2009 and that he may continue as a caretaker Bishop of the CSI Diocese from 2.5.2009 till such time the Executive Committee of Synod takes a decision as per the interim order passed by this court, dated 29.4.2009. 6.In view of these developments, the fifth respondent Bishop filed a suit in C.S.No.423 of 2009, seeking for a declaration that he is entitled to continue to hold office of Bishop in Madras CSI till he completes the age of 65 years and that the letter, dated 30.4.2009 issued by the Moderator (2nd respondent) was contrary to the Constitution of CSI. He also sought for a permanent injunction retraining the defendants in that suit from interfering with his functioning as Bishop of Madras CSI – Madras Diocese. He also filed O.A.No.492 of 2009 and application No.2171 of 2009. 7.Even before the suit, the fifth respondent Bishop filed an appeal being O.S.A. No.135 of 2009 to question the order, dated 29.4.2009 made in O.A.No.329 of 2009 in C.S.No.295 of 2009. When that matter came up for admission, the Division Bench of this court noted that a meeting of Synod is convened on 4.6.2009 for taking a decision on the appointment of a new Bishop. In such view of the matter, a status quo order till 26.5.2009 was granted. It was also stated that till an appointment is made by the competent authority, the Bishop can continue. 8.In O.A.No.492 of 2009 in C.S.No.423 of 2009, the prayer is for an interim injunction, restraining the respondents from interfering with the Bishop holding his office and discharging the functions of Bishop of Madras Diocese, CSI, pending disposal of the suit. In A.No.2171 of 2009, the prayer is for a stay of operation of letter, dated 30.4.2009 issued by the Moderator to the applicant Bishop. 9.When these two matters came up on 14.5.2009, a vacation judge of this court, after noting the pendency of the OSA before the Division Bench, granted a similar order. These two applications were directed to be posted along with the OSA No.135 of 2009.

    10.It is to be noted that the said OSA No.135 of 2009 itself came to be disposed of by a final order, dated 9.6.2009. These two applications were directed to be posted before this court. In paragraphs 6, 7 and 8 of the order of the division bench, it was observed as follows:

    “6.With reference to the argument made by Mr.R.Thiagarajan, learned Senior Counsel, it is seen that the learned Single Judge after recording the statement made by the counsel has stated that the Synod shall address the issue relating to the tenure of the fifth respondent and take a decision in accordance with the Constitution and other rules of procedures on or before 07.06.2009. Hence this sentence in the order is quite in consonance with the argument made by the learned Senior Counsel for the appellant that the tenure should be in accordance with the Constitution. With regard to the power to decide the tenure by the Synod, we are of the view that the matter has to be adjudicated with reference to the power conferred on the Synod. It is also stated across the Bar that as on date no decision has been taken by the Synod and there is nothing remains to be putforth before this Court on the basis of the decision of the Synod which was directed to be done before this Court on 08.06.2009. 7.Having regard to the totality of the circumstances of the case, we are of the view that the learned Single Judge in the impugned order only recorded the submission made across the Bar by the counsel and further stated that the Synod shall address the issue relating to the tenure of the fifth respondent and take a decision in accordance with the Constitution and other rules of procedures and as such there is nothing perverse or nothing in the order to go against the Constitution as the order clearly states the decision should be taken in accordance with the Constitution and other rules of procedures only. 8.It is also brought to the notice of this Court that the suit in C.S.No.423 of 2009 was filed by Rt.Rev.V.Devasagayam, 5th respondent in this Original Side Appeal seeking for the relief to declare that he is entitled to continue to hold the office of Bishop in Madras, Church of South India- Madras Diocese till the completion of his sixty fifth year of age and other ancillary incidental reliefs. In the Application No.2171 of 2009 filed for temporary injunction restraining the respondents from interfering with the applicant’s holding the office and discharging the functions of the Bishop in Madras, the Court has passed an order to the effect that there will be an order of status-quo till 26.05.2009 and it was made further clear that till the appointment is made by the competent authority, the appellant (who has been continuing as Bishop) is entitled to continue. In view of the said order, we are of the view that the same order would continue till further orders are passed by the learned Single Judge in the civil suit and other connected applications.” 11.In the light of the directions issued by the Division Bench, all the matters came to be posted before this Court. The respective respondents in the applications have filed their counter affidavits. They have also filed supporting documents in the form of typed set and additional typed set, after circulating the same to the respective opposite side.

    12. The short question that arises for consideration in these batch of interim applications is whether Rt.Rev.Dr.V.Devasagayam is entitled to continue as Bishop of Madras CSI- Madras Diocese till he reaches the age of 65 years or whether in terms of resolution of the Executive Council at the time of appointment, he has to vacate his office after the completion of 10 years, i.e. on 1.5.2009. 13.All the parties have agreed that the office of the Bishop is covered by the Constitution of the Church of South India, which has a body of Rules framed by the CSI. A typed copy of the book was circulated for reference.

    14.Chapter V of the Constitution deals with the Ministry of Church and Clauses 12(a) and (b) deal with duration of appointment and voluntary retirement of a Bishop. For the sake of convenience, Clauses 12(a) and (b) of Chapter V may be usefully extracted below:

    “12(a)Duration of Appointment – The Bishop of a diocese shall remain Bishop of that diocese until he resign, or accept the charge of another diocese, or depart permanently from the diocese or be deprived of his charge by sentence of the Court of the Synod, or be adjudged by the Executive Committee of the Synod to be mentally, physically or otherwise incapable of discharging the duties of his office. A bishop shall retire on completion of his 65th years of age (S.78:07) (b)Voluntary Retirement – The bishop of a diocese may opt for voluntary retirement any time after completing ten years of service as a Diocesan Bishop.

    A bishop who has voluntarily retired will be entitled to such retirement benefits as may be prescribed by the Synod Executive Committee. The Executive Committee of the Synod or the diocese concerned may use his services in an alternative field of ministry with such emoluments and perquisites as are fixed by the Executive committee of the Synod or of the diocese, as the case may be. A bishop who has voluntarily retired will be a member of the Synod and the Council of Bishops, until he attains the age of 65, but shall not hold the office of Moderator or Deputy Moderator.” (Emphasis added).

    15.Clause 13 (Chapter V) deals with compulsory resignation. Chapter VI deals with election, appointment, consecration and installation of Bishops. Clause 6.2 obliges the Moderator to send to the Secretary of the Diocesan Council his mandate to summon a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Diocesan Council to arrange for the election of a panel of names for the bishopric. Clause 6.5 deals with the Secretary of the Diocesan Council, on receiving mandate, to convene a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Diocesan Council and in turn, the Executive Committee shall elect a sub committee, consisting of a lay member of the Diocesan Council who shall act as Chairperson of the special meeting of the Diocesan Council to be convened for the purpose and as the Convener and Chairperson of the Sub Committee and four other lay members of the Diocesan Council.

    16.Thereafter, nominations are called for including the nomination of the Executive Committee of Synod and it shall be published and circulated to all members of the Diocesan Council. Clause 17 obliges that from the nominations made by the members of the Diocesan Council and the nominations if any made by the Synod Executive Committee, the Diocesan Council shall elect a panel of not less than two and not more than four persons and all of whom must be supported by a majority of the members of the Diocesan Council present and voting. 17.Thereafter, voting take place and the Moderator of CSI will have to examine the persons in the panel relating their physical fitness to do the duties of Bishop along with two other Christian Medical persons chosen by him. He must also get willingness of the persons elected to the panel to accept the office of the Bishop if appointed. The Moderator, thereafter, shall communicate to the General Secretary the names of all persons elected to the panel by the Diocesan Council. The General Secretary shall take steps to secure by public notice, the election of those persons to the panel in all Churches of the diocese, for which an appointment of Bishop is to be made. If objections are not sent to the General Secretary, the result of the election shall be submitted to the Board consisting of Moderator and six members appointed by the Executive Committee of Synod, excluding all representatives of diocese concerned. 18.As per clause 31, it is this Board will appoint the Bishop from those elected to the panel by the Diocesan Council. Under clause 32, after the Board made an appointment under clause 31, the Moderator shall inform the General Secretary of the name of the person appointed, which was informed to all concerned. It was thereafter, the Executive Committee of Synod will confirm the appointment and the same would be reported to the Moderator. Thereafter, the Moderator and the General Secretary shall in the name of the Executive Committee will execute the certificate of confirmation. Under clause 38, the Consecration of the Bishop will take place.

    19. In the light of this Constitution, on 5.4.1999, the Selection Board of the Madras Diocese met and recommended the case of Rt.Rev.Dr.V.Devasagayam to the Moderator to consecrate him as a Bishop of Diocese of Madras. It is stated that the members, after a prolonged consideration, decided to restrict the period of appointment of Bishop for a period of 10 years. After this minute was communicated, the General Secretary of CSI Synod wrote a letter, dated 7.4.1999 expressing his doubt regarding the curtailment of the period of office of the Bishop for 10 years as it was against the Constitution. Subsequently, in the meeting of the Diocesan Executive Committee held on 24.4.1999 and in the Resolution No.99.53, it was resolved as follows: “99:53.- The Most Rev. William Moses, Moderator and the Bishop-in-charge of the Diocese of Madras announced the decision of the Selection Board which met on 5.4.99 that the Rev.Dr.V.Devasahayam has been duly selected for appointment as the Bishop of the Diocese of Madras for 10 years.

    a)The Committee unanimously resolved to accept and welcome the decision of the Selection Board and of the Executive Committee of the CSI Synod.”

    20.It was also seen that on the same day, the then Moderator wrote a letter to the Bishop, which reads as follows:

    “I acknowledge the receipt of your letter regarding your order of appointment limiting your term of episcopal office for a period of ten years. In consultation with the Synod lawyers, I am to inform you that the retirement of Bishops is governed by the Constitution of the Church of South India, i.e. retirement at the completion of 65 years of age and that the term of office cannot be limited by any order contrary to the provision of the Constitution.” (Emphasis added). This letter is doubted by the contesting respondents by stating that on the same day, the Moderator having signed the minutes, dated 24.4.1999, could not have expressed a doubt of this nature. In any event, that is matter of evidence in the Trial of the suit.

    21.It is in this backdrop, the respective learned counsel addressed their arguments. Mr.S.Parthasarathy, learned Senior Counsel appearing for Ms.Pushpa Sathyanarayanan, counsel for the plaintiff in C.S.No.295 of 2009, filed by the Association of Laity, stated that the Bishop having agreed to serve a term of 10 years and the Executive Committee also decided to curtail the term to 10 years, it is not open to the Bishop to seek for continuance in his office contrary to the term prescribed. He also submitted that the Rule of CSI Diocese is in the nature of a contract and the Bishop having been in the office for a term of 10 years, cannot, by virtue of the Court order, get an extended tenure. He also submitted that Clause 12(a) cannot be invoked by the Bishop for continuance in the office. In any event, no injunction can be granted in terms of the Specific Relief Act.

    22.Mr.A.M.Packianathan Easter, appearing for the third defendant (Deputy Moderator), took this court to the averments made in his counter affidavit, dated 24.4.2009 and also adopted the arguments of the learned Senior Counsel appearing for the plaintiff.

    23.However Mr.N.R.Chandran, learned Senior Counsel, leading Mr.P.S.Venkatasubramanian appearing for the fourth respondent (Secretary of CSI Madras Diocesan Council) contended that the suit itself is not maintainable and the plaintiff Association has become defunct since they have not filed the statutory returns as contemplated under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975. He has also submitted that the Bishop is entitled to continue till reaching the age of 65 years. He submitted that the term of appointment cannot be curtailed and the Warrant of Appointment issued to the Bishop clearly stipulated that the appointment is in terms of the Constitution which can be referable to Clause 12(a). 24.Mr.R.Thiagarajan, learned Senior Counsel appearing for Mr.V.Sanjeevi, counsel for the Bishop and plaintiff in C.S.No.423 of 2009, submitted that the order appointing the Bishop did not contain any retricted period and no authority of CSI can act contrary to the bylaws of the CSI. In fact, even at the time of appointment of the Bishop, there were some doubts expressed about acting contrary to the Constitution of the CSI. He further placed reliance upon Clauses 31 and 32 of Chapter VI of the Constitution. Once a person is duly appointed as the Bishop and was also consecrated in his office, there is no question of reducing the term to 10 years. In any event, if the Diocesan Council did not return the nominations and the Moderator also not order for a fresh election, then the person, who was appointed as Bishop, shall have a full term of his office as per the Constitution of the CSI. 25.The learned Senior Counsel also submitted that the objections raised by the defendants will have to be tried in the suit. He further submitted that in the earlier interim order, the issue relating to the tenure of the Bishop was directed to be considered by the Synod. When the matter was referred to the Synod Legal Questions Committee, the said body in its meeting held on 21.4.2009 resolved as follows: “As far as the matter related to the tenure of the Rt. Rev. Dr.V.Devasahayam, the Bishop in Madras Diocese, the Committee taking into consideration the fact that the Rt. Rev. Dr. V.Devasahayam was appointed and consecrated as the Bishop in Madras Diocese with effect from 2nd May 1999 for a period of 10 years in contrast of Rule 12 of Chapter V of CSI Constitution, which provides that the Bishop shall hold the Office until he attains the age of 65 years. Conditional appointment of the Rt. Rev. Dr. V.Devasahayam was totally outside the frame work of the CSI Constitution governing the tenure of the Bishop there under. The conditional appointment of the Bishop is ultra virus of the CSI Constitution. Hence, the Committee unanimously resolved that the Rt. Rev. Dr. V.Devasahayam, the Bishop in Madras Diocese shall retire on attaining the age of 65 years as per the CSI Constitution.” 26.According to the learned Senior Counsel, this resolution was communicated to all concerned. In any event, it is admitted by all sides that there is no decision taken by the Synod on this issue. He further submitted that even when the resolution was made on 21.4.1999, the then Moderator in office had raised the question of restricting the term of office will be contrary to the Constitution.

    27.The learned Senior Counsel also referred to the provision relating to the voluntary retirement, contained in Clause 12(b) (Chapter V), wherein an option to step down or to continue after a period of 10 years is given to the Bishop. If he did not opt to go out, Clause 12(a) will come into operation. Hence the Bishop can be retired only on the completion of 65 years of age. Therefore, he wanted the interim injunction to be continued till the disposal of the suit, as there was a prima facie case in favour of the Bishop. Even on grounds of balance of convenience, it is stated that the office of Bishop is an elected office and if new elections are held, then he cannot be restored to office. 28.Mr.V.Prakash, learned Senior Counsel, leading Mr.Adrian D.Rozario, representing the Moderator and defendant, stated that due to paucity of time, his counter affidavit filed in M.P.No.1 of 2009 in O.S.A.No.135 of 2009 may be taken as the counter affidavit for this application. He also submitted that the power of appointment vested with an appointing authority inhere with them the power to reduce a tenure. The appointing authority did not appoint the Bishop in terms of Clause 12(a) of Chapter V. The Bishop having had the benefit of appointment is estopped from going against the term offered to him. He also submitted that it is not open to the Bishop to place any correspondence to get over the original offer of appointment which was accepted by him. He submitted that the bylaws of the Association is in the nature of contract and therefore, there was no prohibition in entering into a contract. In such circumstances, it cannot be held to be contrary to the bylaws of the Association. 29.Mr.V.Prakash, learned Senior Counsel also placed reliance upon a Division Bench judgment of this court in Dowager Rani Lalitha Kumari Devi and others vs. The Raja of Vizianagaram and others reported in AIR 1954 MADRAS 19. This is for the purpose of showing that a person cannot accept and reject the same instrument and that was the foundation of the law of election. He relied upon the following passage found in para 119 of the said judgment, which reads as follows: “119. … The question that was thus left over undecided by the Supreme Court has now to be determined.

    “The general rule is that a person cannot accept and reject the same instrument and this is the foundation of the law of election, on which Courts of Equity particularly have grounded a variety of decisions in cases both of deeds and of wills though principally in cases of wills, because deeds being generally matter of contract, the contract is not to be interpreted otherwise than as the consideration which is expressed requires.” 120.In __'(1873) LR 7 HL 854 (O)’, Lord Cairns observed:

    “By the well settled doctrine which is termed in the Scotch law the doctrine of approbate and reprobate and in our Courts more commonly the doctrine of election, where a deed of will professes to make a general disposition of property for the benefit of a person named in it, such a person cannot accept the benefit under the instrument without at the same time conforming to all its provisions and renouncing every right inconsistent with them.” With particular reference to deeds, the principle is that the settlor must be taken to intend that all the obligations mentioned in the deed form the consideration for the benefit; that the deed with its benefits and burdens constitute one indivisible transaction which must stand or fall in its entirety. …” Basing upon this passage, he wanted to contend that the Bishop having accepted a tenure for his office, cannot seek for an injunction till he reaches the age of 65 years.

    30.This judgment has no application, as in that case, a Will was considered in terms of the Hindu Law and while considering the deed, the Division Bench made parameters under which a deed can be construed.

    31.The learned Senior Counsel also relied upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in State of Orissa and others Vs. Narain Prasad and others reported in (1996) 5 SCC 740. According to him, when a person enters into a contractual obligation with his eyes wide open and worked the contract, cannot be allowed to turn around and question the very same contract. He relied upon the following passage found in paragraph 21 of the said judgment, which reads as follows: “21. …A person who enters into certain contractual obligations with his eyes open and works the entire contract, cannot be allowed to turn round, according to this decision, and question the validity of those obligations or the validity of the Rules which constitute the terms of the contract. The extraordinary jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226, which is of a discretionary nature and is exercised only to advance the interest of justice, cannot certainly be employed in aid of such persons. Neither justice nor equity is in their favour.” 32.It must be noted that the said judgment arose under the Excise Act, regarding Liquor vending. In that context while exercising the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court refused to exercise its discretionary jurisdiction. It is not clear as to how, this would help the case of the contesting respondents. 33.In the light of the above submissions, it has to be seen that whether an injunction sought for by the Bishop (plaintiff in C.S.No.423 of 2009) is prima facie sustainable or whether the injunction sought for by the Laity Association (plaintiff in C.S.No.295 of 2009) can be countenanced by this Court.

    34.Before dealing with those submissions, it is necessary to refer to certain decisions, which will have a bearing on a voluntary society. While dealing with a voluntary Association and the power of expelling a member by exercising the so-called inherent power, the Supreme Court negatived such a claim vide its decision in T.P.DAVER VS. LODGE VICTORIA reported in AIR 1963 SC 1144. The Supreme Court laid down principles in dealing with members of a club. It is necessary to extract the following passages found in paragraphs 5, 6 and 9 of the said judgment, which reads as follows: “5. The source of the power of associations like clubs and lodges to expel their members is the contract on the basis of which they become members. This principle has been restated by Lord Morton in Bonsor v. Musicians Union, 1956 AC 104. There, one Bonsor who became a member of a trade union, was expelled. In that context Lord Morton observed: “When Mr Bonsor applied to join the respondent union, and his application was accepted, a contract came into existence between Mr Bonsor and the respondent, whereby Mr Bonsor agreed to abide by the rules of the respondent union, and the union impliedly agreed that Mr Bonsor would not be excluded by the union or its officers otherwise than in accordance with the rules.” This contractual origin of the rule of expulsion has its corollary in the cognate rule that in expelling a member the conditions laid down in the Rules must be strictly complied with. In Maclean v. Workers Union, 1929-1 Ch.602 at p.623, the contractual foundation of the power is described thus:

    “In such a case as the present, where the tribunal is the result of rules adopted by persons who have formed the association known as a trade union, it seems to me reasonably clear that the rights of the plaintiff against the defendants must depend simply on the contract and that the material terms of the contract must, be found in the rules.” Proceeding on that basis, the learned Judge observed:

    “It is certain, therefore, that a domestic tribunal is bound to act strictly according to its rules and is under an obligation to act honestly and in good faith.”

    The same idea was expressed by the Calcutta High Court in Ezra v. Mahendra Nath Banerji, ILR (1946)2 Cal. 88 at p.109 thus:

    ” …..where the rule provides in any particular respect that some condition must be fulfilled, then that condition must be strictly complied with, since the power of expulsion is itself dependent on the terms of the rule.”

    6.The next question is whether the doctrine of strict compliance with rules implies that every minute deviation from the rules, whether substantial or not, would render the act of such a body void. The answer to this question will depend upon the nature of the rule infringed; whether a rule is mandatory or directory depends upon each rule, the purpose for which it is made and the setting in which it appears.

    ……

    9. The following principles may be gathered from the above discussion. (1) A member of a masonic lodge is bound to abide by the rules of the lodge; and if the rules provide for expulsion, he shall be expelled only in the manner provided by the rules. (2) The lodge is bound to act strictly according to the rules whether a particular rule is mandatory or directory falls to be decided in each case, having regard to the well settled rules of construction in that regard. (3) The jurisdiction of a civil court is rather limited; it cannot obviously sit as a court of appeal from decisions of such a body; it can set aside the order of such a body, if the said body acts without jurisdiction or does not act in good faith or acts in violation of the principles of natural justice as explained in the decisions cited supra.” (Emphasis added). 35.This Court also dealt with the scope of the Civil Court’s power in dealing with the action of the society incorporated under the Societies Registration Act and laid down principles under which the Court can interfere with the action of the society in a case in S.Krishnaswamy and others vs. South India Film Chamber of Commerce and others reported in AIR 1969 MADRAS 42. It is necessary to extract the passage found in para 14 of the said judgment, which reads as follows: “14. …. In the case of clubs and Societies registered under the Societies Registration Act, the general principles governing the right of suit of an individual share holder or a member of the Company would apply and ordinarily the Court will not interfere with the internal management of the Society at the instance of one or some only of the members of the Society subject to well recognised exceptions. (1) where the impugned act is ultra vires of the Society, (2) the act complained of constitutes fraud or (3) whether the impugned action is illegal. The Rules are made by the Society itself for the convenience of its members for regulating their own conduct as members and for regulating the affairs of the Society as an entity. A breach of any Rule made by the Society would not give rise to a cause of action for any member to rush to Court, it must be a case of manifest illegality or where the act of omission or commission is something which goes to the root of the matter. …” (Emphasis added) 36.It must be seen that in the present case, the essential activities of the Church of South India is of religious/spiritual in nature. The post of the Bishop is an elected office and he is also the Spiritual and Temporal head of the Diocese. Therefore, when a voluntary body like the CSI frames certain bylaws, providing for an election to the post of the Bishop, then the office of the Bishop is regulated by only these bylaws. Neither any sub-group nor any other authority of the society can have any right to curtail, annul or amend or modify the bylaws except in accordance with the procedure available under those bylaws. 37.Undoubtedly, the Bishop was appointed in terms of the procedure for electing a person to that office. Once he was elected and consecrated as the Bishop of the Diocese, then his retirement age is referable only to Rule 12(a) of Chapter V. Chapter VI only deals with the election, appointment, consecration and installation of Bishops. The warrant of appointment (though disputed by the contesting respondents) produced before this court ordains that the Bishop was appointed in accordance with its Constitution. There is no reference to any tenure period in that warrant. 38.It might be possible that there was some parley between the parties for restricting the term of office, but such parleys and correspondence cannot override Rule 12(a) of Chapter V. Even assuming that the Bishop had originally agreed to serve only for 10 years and later changed his mind to continue, he cannot be ejected on the basis of his earlier offer, especially when he has chosen to continue till the age of 65 years, which is the retirement age prescribed for that office. Unless the bishop voluntarily steps down in terms of Rule 12(b) or he is removed from the office for any proved incapacity or misconduct, he is entitled to continue in office till the age of 65 years, being the prescribed retirement age. 39.In an elected office held by the Bishop as spiritual and temporal head of an organisation, the question of curtailing his tenure does not arise. The Constitution of CSI diocese does not clothe with any authority the power to deal with the tenure of office of an elected person. Hence the question of approbating and reprobating as well as the concept of estoppal cannot be pressed into service. 40.In the present case, the action of the Moderator had clearly resulted in manifest illegality, which goes into the root of the matter. The CSI Diocese is bound to act strictly according to the rules and certainly, the rule relating to the retirement age is a mandatory rule. The arguments advanced to the contrary are not acceptable.

    41.Further, the issues raised by the contesting respondents are to be tried in the suit. Hence till such time the suit is tried and a decision is rendered, both on the ground of prima facie as well as balance of convenience, the applicant in O.A.No.492 of 2009 in C.S.No.423 of 2009, namely the Bishop of CSI – Madras Diocese is entitled to continue till his reaching the age of 65 years subject to the result of the suits and the contra applications are bound to fail. 42.In view of the above discussions, O.A.No.492 of 2009 and Application No.2171 of 2009 in C.S.No.423 of 2009 are allowed. O.A.No.329 of 2009 and Application No.1561 of 2009 in C.S.No.295 of 2009 stand dismissed. No costs.

    vvk

  5. மோசடி பிஷப்புகளின் குற்றங்கள் வெளிவருகின்றனவா? அங்கிகள் கழட்டப்படுமா அல்லது மேலும் அலங்கரிக Says:

    [...] எதிர்த்து வழக்குத் தொடர்ந்தார்[11][11]. ரூ.600-650 கோடி மதிப்புள்ள சொத்தை ரூ.75 [...]

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