G. Rukmani Ganesan vs The Commissioner, the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Board

 Ganesan Rep by its Power Agent G. Rukmani Ganesan vs The Commissioner, the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Board - Supreme Court Important Judgment 2019 - 


On 3rd May 2019, in the case of Ganesan Rep by its Power Agent G. Rukmani Ganesan v. The Commissioner, the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Board & Ors. [Civil Appeal No.4582 of 2019], the following four questions arose for consideration: 1) Whether the Commissioner, Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious Endowment Board while hearing an appeal under Section 69 of the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1959, is a Court; 2) Whether applicability of Section 29(2) of Limitation Act is with regard to different limitation prescribed for any suit, appeal or application to be filed only in a Court or Section 29(2) can be pressed in service with regard to filing of a suit, appeal or application before statutory authorities and tribunals provided in Special or Local Laws; 3) Whether the Commissioner while hearing the appeal under Section 69 of 1959 Act is entitled to condone a delay in filing an appeal applying the provisions of Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963; and 4) Whether the statutory scheme of 1959 Act indicate that Section 5 of Limitation Act is applicable to proceedings before its authorities.


With respect to the first question, it was held that that Commissioner, Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious Endowment Board is not a Court within the meaning of the Hindu Religious Endowment Charitable Act, 1959. The Supreme Court observed that the definition of Court as contained in Section 6(7) clearly indicates that “what Act, 1959 refers to a Court is a civil court created in the State. The scheme of the Act clearly indicates that Commissioner is an authority under the Act who is to be appointed by the Government. The Commissioner is entrusted with various functions under the Act and one of the functions entrusted to the Commissioner is hearing of the appeal under Section 69 of the Act, 1959.” It was observed that “when an appeal is provided against the order of the Commissioner under Section 69 to the Court which is defined under Section 6(7), there is no question of treating the Commissioner as a Court under the statutory scheme of Act, 1959.”


On the second question, the Supreme Court held that “the applicability of Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act is with regard to different limitations prescribed for any suit, appeal or application when to be filed in a Court” and “Section 29(2) cannot be pressed in service with regard to filing of suits, appeals and applications before the statutory authorities and tribunals provided in a special or local law.” Insofar as the third question is concerned, the Supreme Court held that “the Commissioner while hearing of the appeal under Section 69 of the Act, 1959 is not entitled to condone the delay in filing appeal, since, provision of Section 5 shall not be attracted by strength of Section 29(2) of the Act.”


In regard to the fourth and last question, it was held that “Section 5 of the Limitation Act is not applicable as per the scheme of Act, 1959.” The Supreme Court observed that the scheme of Section 69 especially sub-section (2) also re-enforces its’ conclusion that “Legislature never contemplated applicability of Section 5 in Section 69(1) for condoning the delay in filing an appeal by applying Section 5 of the Limitation Act.”


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