Landmark Judgment by Supreme Court in Trusteeship Dispute: Umapathymurthy vs K.S. Sabapathy

In a significant legal battle, the Supreme Court has settled the trusteeship dispute between Umapathymurthy and K.S. Sabapathy. The case involved complex issues surrounding the inheritance of trusteeship of a temple, with the Trial Court’s findings becoming final. Stay tuned to learn more about the outcome of this case!


  • The High Court relied on sale deeds dated 11.08.1948 and 22.06.1950 to establish Umapathymurthy as the eldest son and K.S. Sabapathy as the second minor son of Sadhasivamurthy.
  • In a settlement deed dated 19.09.1947, it was stated that the eldest son of the deceased trustee would become his successor.
  • Based on O.S. No 8664/1988, the Trial Court found that the Appellant and his uncle were trustees of the temple.
  • The Court confirmed this finding by referring to documents proving the Appellant’s father, K.S. Sabapathy, as the eldest son of Sadhasivamurthy.
  • The Appellant had been dispossessed from the trusteeship by his younger brother, K.S. Sabapathy.
  • Execution Petition No 1910/1992 was filed by the decree holders against the Appellant and his uncle, leading to an application under Section 47 of CPC alleging fraud in the original decree.
  • The executing court noted that objections to the heir certificate were not raised when it was presented in the Trial Court.
  • The suit filed on behalf of the temple by K.S. Jaganathan and S. Bhaskaran sought injunction against tenants Gnanambal and her husband, involving Umapathymurthy as a defendant.
  • The High Court observed that the decree passed in the original suit was a nullity and could not be enforced.
  • The executing court dismissed E.A. No 5750/2003 filed under Section 47 of the CPC as non-maintainable.
  • The executing court based this decision on the fact that the Trial Court’s judgment had been confirmed by the First Appellate Court and had become final.
  • A revision petition was filed against this order, which was allowed by the High Court in the impugned judgment.
  • The Appellate Court confirmed the judgment and decree of the Trial Court in O.S.No.8664/1988, and no further appeal was preferred.

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  • The Trial Court did not decide trusteeship based solely on the heir certificate.
  • Other documents were also considered in the adjudication of trusteeship.
  • K.S. Sabapathy was found ineligible to become the trustee of the temple.
  • The Trial Court’s findings on trusteeship have become final.
  • Umapathymurthy and other Respondents are bound by the Trial Court’s findings.
  • The decision of the High Court in the impugned judgment was disagreed with after examining the records and Trial Court’s findings.
  • No objections were raised by Sadhasivamurthy at the time regarding the heir certificate considered by the Trial Court.
  • The First Appellate Court confirmed the Trial Court’s judgment, and no further appeal was made by the Respondents.
  • Executing court cannot go beyond the order or decree under execution
  • Trial court found that Appellant and his uncle were trustees of the temple
  • Umapathymurthy contested the suit claiming to be the eldest son of Sadhasivamurthy
  • The High Court exceeded its revisional jurisdiction by allowing re-opening of the question of trusteeship in an execution petition.
  • The executing court’s decision to dismiss E.A. No. 5750/2003 should have been affirmed as the Trial Court’s findings had attained finality.
  • The impugned judgment is illegal and without jurisdiction.

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  • The impugned order dated 10.12.2007 in Civil Revision Petition No. 1007 of 2007 passed by the High Court is set aside.
  • The order of the City Civil Court, Chennai dated 31.01.2007 in E.A. No 5750/2003 is restored.

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Case Number: C.A. No.-007800-007800 / 2014

Click here to read/download original judgement

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