BASNATTAB3B, C.J.—Janananda Therunnanse v. JtcUanapala Therunnanse 273
1959Present: Basnayake, C.J., and Sansoni, J.JANANANDA THERUNNANSE, Appellant, and RATANAPALAT H HiRTTNN AN8E, Respondent
S. C. 251—D. G. Matara, 22604
Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance—Register of bhikhhus—Power of Registrar-General to alter or correct entries made therein—Sections 41 (2) (a) (i), 41 (3).
By section 41 (5) of the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance—
“ The Mahanay&ka Thera or Nay aka Thera of every nikaya shall fromtime to time make all such corrections, additions or alterations in his registersas may be necessary to keep up to date his registers of upasampada bhikkhusand sameneras of his nikaya and the relevant details regarding them; andwhenever he makes any such modification in his registers he shall forthwithconvey that fact to the Registrar-General who shall similarly modify theregisters he is required to keep by this section
Held, that the corrections, additions or alterations which fall within theambit of the section are only such as are of a routine nature and are undisputedand do not prejudice the rights of others. The Registrar-General must notmodify the registers he is required, to keep unless the corrections, &e., madeby the Mahanayaka or Nay aka fall within the ambit of the authority conferredby section 41 (5).
An Upasampada bhikkhu had declared on 5th January 1944 in form Aunder section 41 (2) (a) (i) of the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance that thedate of his robing was 15th October 1940. Seven years after the declarationthe date of robing was at his instance altered in the registers to 15th October1938.
Held, that the alteration was not necessary to keep the registers up to datewithin the meaning of section 41 (5) of the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinanceand was, therefore, unauthorised.
XAPPEAL from a judgment of the District Court, Matara.
N. E. Weerasooria, Q.G., with H. W. Jayewardene, Q.C., and S.D.Jayasundera, for Defendant-Appellant.
-D. S. Jayavnekreme, Q.O., with A. F. Wijemanne and A. W. W. Goone-wardene, for Plaintiff-Respondent.
November 11, 1959. Basnayake, C.J.—
The only points argued in this appeal are—-
(a) whether the rule of succession governing the Galgane PuranaViharaya is the rule of sisyanu sisya paramparawa, and
(&) whether Talahagama Deepananda Thera is the senior pupil ofBeragama Ravidhaja Thera.
274 BASNAYAKJE, G. J-—Janananda Therunnanse v. Hatanapala Therunnanse
Now in regard to (a) the appellant relied on two documents D2 andD12. The former reads as follows :—
" I Angahawatte Ratnajothi Therunnanse the Chief incumbent ofGalgama Viharasthana at Deundara throughout I hare been in thecourse of performing all the duties appurtaining to the said Aramaya.And as I hare been appointed at present to perform the office of Adi-kariship of Deundara Mahavihara. That out of the two pupils ofmine Mirisse Gunaratana and Beragama Dhammananda I do herebyappoint the eldest the aforesaid Mirisse Gunaratana to the Adikarishipof the aforesaid Galgane Viharasthana so that he may administer anduse all the moveables and immoveables appurtaining thereto accordingto the rites of religion.
“ Sincerely the office of Adikariships shall go to the eldest in succes-sion and for the purpose of having the succession upheld in the aforesaidmanner that after his death it shall devolve on my next pupil, BeragamaDhammananda.
“ Further I do hereby declare that none out of another Nikayaother than that of our tutors shall become the Adikari thereof.
“ That if in any way there happened to be none out of my pupilarysuccession to come to the administration of this Aramaya the eldestpersonages of the Nikaya shall appoint a suitable successor.
“ And I Augahawatte Ratanajothi Therunnanse aforesaid do herebyset my hand to these presents on this 10th day of December 1896 atGalgane Viharasthana.
Sgd Ratanajothi. ”
and the latter as follows :—
** Know all men by these presents that I Beragama DhammanandaTherunnanse V’haradhipathi of Galgane Vihara at Deundara in theWellabodapattu of Matara District Southern Province being at presentin ill-health and in old age and finding it difficult to carry on the ad-ministration of the Aramaya and also attend to the religious neces-sities of the Dayaka people and others I do hereby appoint out of mypupils Beragama Kavidaja, Bandattara Jananda and the Samenerapupils, Deundara Dhammaloka, Mirisse Gunaratana and MakawitaRatanapala. The first named Beragama Kavidaja to the adikariship ofthe Viharasthana and of all the moveable and immoveable propertiesappurtaining thereto to be taken care of and for use and enjoymentaccording to the rites of religion of the premises called DeundaraRajamaha Viharasthana.
“ That the said Beragama Kavidhaja shall perform the duties of thesaid office of Adikariships and after his demise shall be entrusted overto the aforesaid Bandattara Jananda and after them the said Adika-riship shall go to the eldest of my pupilary succession accordingly.And it is further ordered that if any of my successors of the pupilary
BAS^ATAKE, C.J.—Janananda Therunnansa v. Ratanapdla Therunnanee 27 5
succession were to join an} other Nikaya than Sri Dhammarakkhittawansa, Amarapuranikaya such pupil shall lose all right whatsoeverto the aforesaid office or if assigned over to such person such assignmentis declared invalid.
“ The act of appointment is signed and granted by me the aforesaidBeragama Dhammananda on this 4th day of August 1935 at GalganeViharasthana on a six cents stamp.
They both refer to the office of Adhikari and not to that of Viharadhi-pati. The context shows that the authors of the two documents wereusing the expression “adikari” in contradistinction to the expression** viharadhipati”. The author of D2 was appointing Miriase Gunaratanaas adhikari of Galgane Yiharaya and not its viharadhipati, while theauthor of D12 was appointing Beragama Kavidajato the office of adhikarias distinguished from the office of viharadhipati. It is well establishedthat the offices of viharadhipati and viharadhikari are not the same andthese two documents afford evidence of that fact.
These documents do not establish that the rule of succession to thetemple in dispute is one other than the rule of sisyamt sisya parawparawa.Later in the coarse of his argument learned counsel who has considerableexperience in actions relating to Buddhist Ecclesiastical law seeing theforce of the documents D2 and D12 quite properly did not press hisargument that they supported the claim that the rule of succession to thetemple in dispute was not the rule of sisyanu sisya param/parawa.
Now, in regard to the second point, plaintiff asserts that he is the seniorpupil. The defendant relies on the amended statement in the declarationin Form A made by Deepananda under section 41 (2) (a) (i) of the BuddhistTemporalities Ordinance on the occasion of his becoming an TJpasarupadabhikkhu. In that form he had declared on 5th January 1944 tl at thedate of robing was 15tb October 1940. Subsequently on 8th September1951 Deepananda wrote to the Mahanayake of his Nikaya (D26) PeleneSri Vajiranana informing him that the dateof robing, 15th October 1940,in cage 5 should he altered to 15th October 1938 and that cage 7 shouldbe altered as “ Name of Achariya Bhikshu : Enrobed by UyangodaSumanajoti Sthavirapadayanwahanse as a pupil of Beragama Kavi-dhaja Stavirayanwahanse.” At the same time he addressed a similarcommunication to the Registrar-General. The Registrar-General appearsto have made in his register the alterations made by the MahanayakeVajiranana in cages 5 and 7 of his register upon receipt of a communicationfrom him. In doing so the Mahanayake and the Registrar-Generalappear to have regarded section 41 (5) as sufficient authority. Thatprovision of the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance reads—
“ (5) The Mahanayaka Thera or Nayaka Thera of every nikayashall from time to time make all such corrections, additions or altera-tions in his registers as may be necessary to keep up to date his registersof upasampada bhikkhus and samaneras of his nfki ya and the relevant
270 BASNAYAKE, C.J.^Janancmda Therunncmae v. Satanapala Thenmnanae
details regarding them ; and ■whenever he makes any such modification
in his registers he shall forthwith convey that fact to the Registrar-
General who shall similarly modify the registers he is required to keep
by this section.’*
The corrections, additions or alterations in his registers that a Maha-nayaka or Nay aka may make are limited to such as may be necessaryto keep up to date his registers of upasampada bhikkhus and samanerasof his nikaya. Subsection (5) cannot therefore be read as authorisinga Mahanayaka or Nayaka to make any correction, addition or alterationwhatsoever. The Registrar-General is not bound to modify the registershe is required to keep unless the corrections etc. made by the Mahanayakaor Nayaka fall within the ambit of the authority conferred by section41 (5). His statutory obligation to modify his registers arises onlywhen such corrections, additions or alterations as may be necessary tokeep the registers up to date have been made by the Mahanayaka orNayaka in his registers and are conveyed to him. “ Up to date ” meansnot behind the times; with the latest information, facts or methods;keeping abreast of the times ; regarded as prevailing at the presenttime. Learned counsel stated from the bar tlat the practice is for theRegistrar-General to modify his register whenever the Mahanayaka orNayaka modified his register and conveyed that fact to him withoutpausing to examine whether the corrections, additions or alterations aresuch as fall within the ambit of subsection (5) or not. That practice is notin accord with the statute and should stop. Now in regard to the altera-tion of .the date of robing from 15th October 1940 to 15th October 1938we are unable to hold that that alteration was necessary to keep theregisters up to date. In our opinion the alteration is not one authorisedby section 41 (5). Deepananda’s only explanation is that 15th October1940 was entered by an oversight. Apart from the fact that the altera-tion was not one authorised by the statute his claim that he was in factrobed on 15th October 1938 has to be approached with the greatestcaution especially when it is to his advantage and has the effect of placingthe plaintiff below him in order of succession to the office of viharadhipatiand is made—
(а)seven years after the original declaration,
(б)after the death of his teacher ELavid&ja,
less than three months before the institution of this action, and
at a time when the disputes which culminated in these proceedings
had become manifest.
A further circumstance which seriously afFects the genuineness ofDeepananda’s claim is the failure of the defendant to produce the dec-laration made under section 41 (2) (a) (ii) when Deepananda became asamanera. The Ordinance requires that declaration to be made by therobing tutor and the samanera within one month of the robing whenthe date of robing is fresh in the minds of the declarants. The absence insection 41 (5) of any machinery for affording an opportunity of beingheard to any person adversely affected by any correction, addition or
Kurunerti v. Alim Hadjiar
alteration is a further indication, that the corrections etc. which fall withinits ambit are only such as are of a routine nature and are undisputed anddo not prejudice the rights of others, for if the Legislature had intended tobring within the ambit of the section corrections etc. which affect therights of others machinery for giving such persons an opportunity ofbeing heard would have been provided. It is a rule of interpretation ofstatutes that the Legislature is presumed not to legislate in derogation ofthe principles of natural justice, New Zealand Dairy Board v. Okiiu Co-operative Dairy Company LimitedThe alteration made in the instantcase has the effect of causing grave prejudice to the plaintiff in that itmade it appear that Deepananda was senior to him in the pupillary line.
The appellant has failed to satisfy us that the judgment of the learnedDistrict Judge should be set aside on the ground of error in law or fact.
We accordingly dismiss the appeal with costs.
Sansoot, J.—I agree.
JANANANDA TERUNNANSE , Appellant, and RATNAPALA THERUNNANSE, Respondent