MOSELEY A.CJT.—Dhammananda Thero v. Dhammapala Thero. 285
1939Present: Moseley A.C.J. and Soertsz S.P.J.
DHAMMANANDA THERO v. DHAMMAPALA THERO.
319—D. C. Kurunegala, 18,787.
Buddhist ecclesiastic law—The appointment of successor by incumbent—Application to disrobe and re-robe the pupil of another priest—Terms ofletter—Validity of appointment.
The incumbent of a temple who had an only pupil the defendant, aSamanera, applied to the Mahanayake to have the plaintiff, Upasampadapupil of another priest, to be disrobed and re-robed in his name as his.pupil.
In his application the grounds alleged were that the. incumbent was“ sick and confined to bed since two months and as there is no elderlyUpasampada pupil or junior suited to render assistance to me and totake care of the place and pansalas ”.
Held, that the document did not constitute a selection or appointmentof the plaintiff to succeed to the incumbency'.
H. V. Perera, K.C. (with him Sri Nissanka and V. F. Gunaratne), forthe plaintiff, appellant.
L. A. Rajapakse (with him J. R. Jayawardana), for the defendant,respondent.
Cur. adv. vult.
October 11, 1939. Moseley A.C.J.—
The plaintiff brought this action to establish his claim to the incumbencyof the Keppitiwalana Vihare which was held under the tenure known as 'Sisyanusisya paramparawa. The incumbency became vacant upon 'thedeath of Hunupola Dhammapala on February 19, i933. On September 11,1931, the defendant was robed by and became a pupil of the deceased.
' He was then aged eleven. Until February 7, 1938, the plaintiff, who bythat time had become an Upasampada monk, had been the pupil ofanother, but on February 4 of that year, the deceased by document P 8
286 MOSELEY A.C.J.—Dhammananda There v. Dhammapala Thero.
applied to the Maha Nayaka for the disrobing of the plaintiff' and there-robing in his name. The grounds for the application were that thedeceased incumbent was “ sick and confined to bed since two monthsand as there is no other elderly Upasampada pupil or junior suited torender assistance to me and to take care of the place and pansalasThe plaintiff’s case is that in pursuance of this application he was disrobedand re-robed on February 7, and in support of his contention the docu-ments P 1 and P 3 were produced. He further contends that the deceasedthen made application for his re-ordination which took place on May 13,1933. As has been already stated, the deceased died on February 19, sothat at the date of his death it is clear that the defendant was, as hasbeen found by the learned District Judge, the senior pupil of the deceased.The plaintiff, however, says that the documents upon which he reliesindicate that he himself had been selected by the deceased to succeed tothe incumbency. The case went to trial on a number of issues which areset out together with the answers given by the learned District Judge as-follows: —
Does a Samanera take precedence over an Upasampada monk even
though such Samanera has been longer in robes than an Upasam-pada monk?
District Judge : In view of the answers to the issues (2), (3), (4), (5)and (6) the answer to issue (1) is not necessary.
Is the Samanera defendant the senior pupil of the. deceased Damma-
District Judge: Yes.
Was the plaintiff robed by the late Hunupola Dhammapala?
District Judge: Yes.
<4) If he was, was he the senior pupil of the late H. Dammapala uponthe latter’s death in February, 1933 ?
District Judge : No.
<5) Did the plaintiff succeed to the Adikariship upon the death of thelate H. Dammapala in February, 1933 ?
District Judge : No.
<6) If he did not succeed in the Adikariship in February, 1933, did hesucceed in May, 1933, after the ordination ?
District Judge : No.
The plaintiff’s action was dismissed. From that order he appeals.
It seems to me that the simple issue is whether or not the plaintiff wasselected by the deceased to succeed him. It has been argued on hisbehalf that the deceased had taken every step necessary to ensure thatrhe should be succeeded by the plaintiff, and that had the latter’s ordi-nation preceded the death of the deceased the plaintiff’s succession to theincumbency would have taken place automatically. That might be so,but it should be borne in mind that had the plaintiff’s ordination precededthe death, it would still have been open to the deceased to revoke theimplied selection of the plaintiff. If one examines the wording of P 8,which I have quoted above, the phraseology of which appears in' the other
Rasiah v. Thiedeman.
documents produced by the plaintiff, it is not impossible to come to theconclusion that the deceased realizing his incapacity through illness, andthe youth of the defendant, desired that he himself should be assisted byan older priest and for that reason wished the plaintiff to become his ownpupil. That seems to me to be some way from selecting the plaintiff tosucceed him in the incumbency.
The bona fides of the plaintiff’s documents was attacked by Counselfor the respondent, but in the lower Court the learned Judge does notappear to have been impressed, and it will be noticed that the issue inregard to the re-robing of the plaintiff by the deceased was answered inthe plaintiff's favour. These documents would certainly appear to beopen to suspicion, but I do not propose to differ from the learned Judge’sfinding in this respect. It is undisputed that immediately after thefuneral ceremonies following upon the deceased’s death the plaintiff wentoff to the Pirivena some miles distant and remained there for a, year.During that period the defendant officiated as Adikari and his right to doso does not appear to have been questioned.
Counsel for the appellant brought to our notice two recently decidedcases (Saddkananda Tissa Therunnanse v. Gunananda Therunnanse 1 andSaranapala Therunnanse v. Piyatissa Therunnanse 2), in which it was heldthat selection in such a case need not necessarily be by deed or last will,but in each of those cases there was a writing which clearly indicatedthat a selection for appointment had been made. As I have alreadyobserved in the present case, it would be unsafe to infer a selection fromthe wording of the document.
I agree with the learned Judge that the plaintiff has failed to provethat he was the selected successor to the incumbency, and that his actionwas properly dismissed.
The appeal is dismissed with costs.
Soertsz S.P.J.—I agree.
DHAMMANANDA THERO v. DHAMMAPALA THERO