A second appeal was suit filed by Mr.Murti Chaturbhujnath for claiming ownership of land of a temple in Madhya Pradesh.
The counsel of Respondent Mr.Randhir Singh Jain had put forward in front of Hon'ble Judge Navin Sinha that the land being Devstani Muafi did not belong to the poojaris since they had no Bhumiswami rights. Originally, the land belonged to Syed Mohammed Ali, Manager of the landlord Hakim who gifted it to the Deity. All the Poojas and ceremonies were performed by the Poojaris (who are also the respondents) from the income of the temple. They continued to perform puja and enjoy the usufructs of the lands also. They were unaware and were suddenly made aware of the correction made in column 3 of the land records (which was a wrong entry) when it was published by the collector notice for auction settlement of the lands, leading to the institution of the suit.
Mr.Singh stated that recording the collector as ‘Manager’ was in complete violation of the procedure prescribed in S.115. of the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code 1959.
S.115 states: Correction of wrong or incorrect entry in land record¬ A Sub¬Divisional 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 unauthorized entry in the land records prepared under section 114 other than Bhoo-Adhikar 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.
On the basis of evidence on record, the respondents have been held to be Maurusi Krishaks of the lands also column 3 records their occupation, while the ownership stands in the name of the Deity.
Hence SC held that since 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 and referred case of State Government of Madhya Pradesh vs. Narsingh Mandir,
“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.”