Suit for Declaration and injunction – when the mutation of entiries in the name of collector with out following the procedure – the pujaries of the temple filed the suit on behalf of the temple – trial court dismissed – Appeal court allowed and decreed the suit -High court confirmed the same – Apex court held that the entry in the revenue record could not have been changed by the Tahsildar without holding a proper enquiry and giving an opportunity to the affected persons, namely respondents herein, in this regard. The suit was filed by the Deity through the Pujaris claiming ownership to the lands received from Syed Mohammad Ali, Manager of the landlord Hakim situated in Village Kharsod Kalan, District Ujjain. The Pujaris did not lay any claim to ownership of the lands in them. The Temple was constructed by the forefather of the Pujaris, who continued to perform puja and enjoy the usufructs of the lands also. They were suddenly made aware of the correction made in column 3 of the land records in the year 1979­80 when the collector published notice for auction settlement of the lands, leading to the institution of the suit. the present case the name of the Deity finds place in the revenue entries for the years 1969­70, 1970­71 and 1972­73. The same is the position with regard to the revenue entries for 1973 to 1977. The defence is that The revenue records were therefore rightly corrected by recording the name of the collector as ‘Vyawasthapak’ (Manager) which was done for better management of the temple properties. Respondent nos.2 and 3 were only “Pujaris”. It is not the case of the appellants that the correction in the revenue entries in 1979­80 was made in compliance with the provisions of Section 115 of the Code. Section 115 reads as follows: “115. Correction of wrong or incorrect entry in land record­ (1) A Sub­Divisional Officer may, on his own motion or on application of an aggrieved person, after making such enquiry as he deems fit, correct any wrong or incorrect entry including an unauthorised entry in the land records prepared under section 114 other than Bhoo­Adhikar Pustika and record of rights, and such corrections shall be authenticated by him: Provided that no action shall be initiated for correction of any entry pertaining to a period prior to five years without the sanction in writing of the Collector. (2) No order shall be passed under sub­section (1) without­ (a) getting a written report from the Tahsildar concerned; and (b) giving an opportunity of hearing to all parties interested: Provided that where interest of Government is involved, the Sub­Divisional Officer shall submit the case to the Collector. (3) On receipt of a case under sub­section (2), the Collector shall make such enquiry and pass such order as he deems fit.” There is a concurrent finding by the First Appellate Court and the High Court that the procedure not having been followed, the correction made in the revenue records and on basis of which the Temple was claimed to be a public temple and the Collector as the Manager thereof was unsustainable.

NON­REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO(s).956 OF 2010
STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH AND OTHERS ….APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
MURTI SHRI CHATURBHUJNATH AND
OTHERS ….RESPONDENT(S)
JUDGMENT
NAVIN SINHA, J.
The defendants are in appeal consequent to the dismissal of
their second appeal. The respondent filed a suit for declaration
and permanent injunction which was dismissed. The dismissal
was reversed in the first appeal and the suit was decreed.

  1. Shri Rahul Kaushik, learned counsel for the appellants,
    submitted that respondent no.1 was a public Temple. The
    revenue records were therefore rightly corrected by recording the
    name of the collector as ‘Vyawasthapak’ (Manager) which was
    done for better management of the temple properties. Respondent
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    nos.2 and 3 were only “Pujaris”. Therefore, they had no right to
    claim ownership of the Temple lands, much less have their
    names entered in the revenue records, seeking restraint against
    interference. The Temple being situated on government land
    belonging to the Aukaf Department was a “Devsthani Muafi”. The
    Pujaris had no “Bhumiswami Rights” in the lands. Reliance was
    placed on an order dated 22.07.2019 in Civil Appeal No. 5041 of
    2009 Ramesh Das (Dead) thr. Lrs. vs. State of Madhya
    Pradesh & ors., and Shri Ram Mandi Indore vs. State of
    Madhya Pradesh and ors., 2019 (4) SCALE 302.
  2. Conversely Shri Randhir Singh Jain, learned counsel for
    the respondents, submitted that the Pujaris never claimed any
    ownership rights in themselves to the lands. The lands belonged
    to the Deity gifted by Syed Mohammed Ali, Manager of the
    landlord Hakim. The Deity was in peaceful possession and
    enjoyment of the lands since very long. Puja was being done by
    the Pujaris on basis of the income of the Temple. The unilateral
    correction in the land revenue entries as late as 1979­80, by
    recording the collector as ‘Manager’ was in complete violation of
    the procedure prescribed in Section 115 of the Madhya Pradesh
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    Land Revenue Code 1959 (hereinafter referred as “the Code”) as
    concurrently held by the First Appellate Court and the High
    Court. Reliance was placed on an order dated 06.10.2016 in
    Civil Appeal No. 8554 of 2015 “State Government of Madhya
    Pradesh & ors. vs. Narsingh Mandir, Chikhalda & ors.”.
  3. We have considered the submissions on behalf of the parties
    and perused the materials relied upon by the counsel for the
    parties as also the precedents cited.
  4. The suit was filed by the Deity through the Pujaris claiming
    ownership to the lands received from Syed Mohammad Ali,
    Manager of the landlord Hakim situated in Village Kharsod
    Kalan, District Ujjain. The Pujaris did not lay any claim to
    ownership of the lands in them. The Temple was constructed by
    the forefather of the Pujaris, who continued to perform puja and
    enjoy the usufructs of the lands also. They were suddenly made
    aware of the correction made in column 3 of the land records in
    the year 1979­80 when the collector published notice for auction
    settlement of the lands, leading to the institution of the suit.
    There is no material on record with regard to any alleged
    mismanagement of the temple which required it to be taken over
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    by the Collector. On the evidence on record, the respondents
    plaintiffs have been held to be Maurusi Krishaks of the lands.
    Column 3 records their occupation, while the ownership stands
    in the name of the Deity.
  5. It is not the case of the appellant that the plaintiff Temple
    stands recorded in the list of public temples prepared in 2013 for
    the District of Ujjain as noticed in Shri Ram Mandir Indore
    (supra). The lands have not been taken on lease by the Deity
    from the Government but from the erstwhile owner. Ramesh
    Das (supra) is distinguishable on its own facts as the ownership
    of the lands for a claim of a private temple was not being made in
    the name of the Deity but those physically in possession of the
    lands.
  6. In the present case the name of the Deity finds place in the
    revenue entries for the years 1969­70, 1970­71 and 1972­73.
    The same is the position with regard to the revenue entries for
    1973 to 1977. It is not the case of the appellants that the
    correction in the revenue entries in 1979­80 was made in
    compliance with the provisions of Section 115 of the Code.
    Section 115 reads as follows:
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    “115. Correction of wrong or incorrect entry in
    land record­
    (1) A Sub­Divisional Officer may, on his own
    motion or on application of an aggrieved person,
    after making such enquiry as he deems fit, correct
    any wrong or incorrect entry including an
    unauthorised entry in the land records prepared
    under section 114 other than Bhoo­Adhikar
    Pustika and record of rights, and such corrections
    shall be authenticated by him:
    Provided that no action shall be initiated for
    correction of any entry pertaining to a period prior
    to five years without the sanction in writing of the
    Collector.
    (2) No order shall be passed under sub­section (1)
    without­
    (a) getting a written report from the Tahsildar
    concerned; and
    (b) giving an opportunity of hearing to all parties
    interested:
    Provided that where interest of Government is
    involved, the Sub­Divisional Officer shall submit
    the case to the Collector.
    (3) On receipt of a case under sub­section (2), the
    Collector shall make such enquiry and pass such
    order as he deems fit.”
  7. There is a concurrent finding by the First Appellate Court
    and the High Court that the procedure not having been followed,
    the correction made in the revenue records and on basis of which
    the Temple was claimed to be a public temple and the Collector
    as the Manager thereof was unsustainable. In State
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    Government of Madhya Pradesh vs. Narsingh Mandir,
    Chikhalda (supra), this court observed:
    “Be that as it may, the appeal of the respondents
    warranted to be succeeded on the substantial
    question of law No.2 itself, inasmuch as, the entry
    in the revenue record could not have been changed
    by the Tahsildar without holding a proper enquiry
    and giving an opportunity to the affected persons,
    namely respondents herein, in this regard.
    Therefore, the judgment of the High Court can be
    sustained on that ground alone. Needless to
    mention, it will always be open to the concerned
    authority to follow the procedure under Section
    115 of the M.P. Land Revenue Code, 1959 to take
    further action, if any.
    The appeal is dismissed with the aforesaid
    observations.”
  8. We therefore find no merit in the present appeal. The
    appeal is therefore dismissed but with similar observations as
    aforesaid.
    .………………………. J.
    (Navin Sinha)
    ………………………. J.
    (Sanjiv Khanna)
    New Delhi,
    October 25, 2019
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