Idol and endowment

An idol is a jurisitic person capable of holding property. The property endowed to it vests in it but the idol has no beneficial interest in the endowment. The beneficiaries are the worshippers. Dedication may be made orally or can be inferred from the conduct or from a given set of facts and circumstances. There need not be a document to evidence dedication to the public. The consciousness of the manager of the TEMPLE or the devotees as to the public character of the TEMPLE; gift of properties by the public or grant by the ruler or Govt.; and long use by the public as of right to worship in the TEMPLE are relevant facts drawing a presumption strongly in favour of the view that the TEMPLE is a public TEMPLE.

The true character of the TEMPLE may be decided by taking into consideration diverse circumstances Though the MANAGEMENT of a TEMPLE by the members of the family for a long time, is a factor in favour of the view that the TEMPLE is a private TEMPLE it is not conclusive. It requires to be considered in the light of other facts or circumstances. Internal MANAGEMENT of the TEMPLE is a mode of orderly discipline or the devotees are allowed to enter into the TEMPLE to worship at particular time or after some duration or after the head man leaves, the TEMPLE are not conclusive. The nature of the TEMPLE and its location are also relevant facts. The right of the public to worship in the TEMPLE is a matter of inference.

Dedication to the public may be proved by evidence or by circumstances obtainable in given facts and circumstances. In given set of facts, it is not possible to prove actual dedication which may be inferred on the proved facts that place of public religious worship has been used as of right by the general public or a section thereof as such place without let or hindrance. In a public debutter or endowment, the dedication is for the use or benefit of the public. But in a private endowment when property is set apart for the worship of the family idol, the public are not interested. The mere fact that the MANAGEMENT has been in the hands of the members of the family itself is not a circumstance to a conclude that the TEMPLE is a private trust.

In a given case MANAGEMENT by the members of the family may give rise to an inference that the TEMPLE is impressed with the character of a private TEMPLE and assumes importance in the absence of an express dedication through a document. As stated earlier, consciousness of the manager or the devotees in the user by the public must be as of right. If the general public have always made use of the TEMPLE for the public worship and devotion in the same way as they do in other TEMPLEs, it is a strong circumstance in favour of the conclusiveness of public TEMPLE. The origin of the TEMPLE, when lost in antiquity it is difficult to prove dedication to public worship. It must be inferred only from the proved facts and circumstances of a given case. No set of general principles could be laid.[AIR 1995 SC 167 : (1994) 2 Suppl. SCR 687 : (1995) 1 Suppl. SCC 485 : JT 1994 (5) SC 152 : (1994) 3 SCALE 796]