Nugatoela (Basnayake Nilame) and Mohathala.
1945Present: Soertsz A.C.J. and Rose J.NTJGAWELA (BASNAYAKE NILAME), Appellant, andMOHATHALA et al., Respondents.
5Q—D. C. Kandy, 1,444.
Deioale—Hereditary office of Kajrurala—No panguwa attached to office—Right of Basnayake NUame—General control and management.
The Kapuralas of the Alutnuwara Dewale hold .their office byhereditary right and the hereditary quality of the office is not dependenton whether or not a panguwa is attached to it.
The Basnayake Nilame who has only the general control and man age -ment of the Dewale has no right to appoint any person to the officeprovided he is a Buddhist of the Goigaxna caste.
PPEAL from a judgment of the District Judge of Kandy.
H. V. Per era, K.C. (with him N. E. Weerasooria, K.C., and H. IF.Jayewardene), for the first defendant, appellant.
N. Nadarajah, K.C. (with him L. A. Rajapahse, K.C., and E. A. G. d&Silva), for the plaintiffs, respondents.
Cur. adv. vult.
1 438 D. C. KahOara 24682 S. C. Min. March 3, 1945.
SOILRTSZ A.C.J.—Nvgawela (Basnayake Nilame) and Mohathala.
December 19, 1945. Soertsz A.C.J.—
This case was very fully tried and carefully considered in the Courtbelow, and the learned trial Judge came to the conclusion that the plain*tiff's and second, third and fourth defendants “ have been performingthe functions of Kapur alas of the Aluthnuwara Dewale by hereditaryright”. Counsel for the first defendant, appellant, who, as BasnayakeNilame has the general management and control of the chief dewales,maintained that although these parties and their ascendants had alwaysfilled the office of Kapurala, they had done so not in virtue of anyhereditary right but because the Basnayake Nilames had thought fiton grounds of expediency and convenience quieta non movere, and it wasopen to them at any time to appoint anyone to the office provided he wasa Buddhist of the Goigama caste.
I have examined the evidence carefully, and on that evidence, thisclaim on the part of the appellant is quite untenable. The defendanthimself is unable to adduce a single instance in respect of any dewalein which a stranger has been appointed Kapurala. He says that inregard to the dewale concerned in this action “ I was under the im-pression that these people were hereditary Kapuralas as in the otherdewales ”, but he appears to have taken a different view when for thefirst time he “ found out that there were no kapu pangus attached to theAlutnuwara Dewale Neither the appellant nor his Counsel, wasable to show that the hereditary quality of a Kapurala’s office wasdependent on whether or not a “ panguwa ” was attached to the office. -The. dictum in Dr. Hayley’s book on Sinhalese Laws and Customs atpage 532 indicates that this hereditary quality of the office applied-without any discrimination to all Kapuralaships. He says, “ Thepriests called Kapuwas, Kapuralas or Pattinihamis …. ap-pointed by the villagers or lay managers do not belong to any order,but conduct the ceremonies of each temple according to custom, usuallylearned from relations whom they succeed in office ”. I am unable tosubscribe to Mr. H. V. Perera’s contention that the words “ whom theysucceed in office ” mean nothing more than a fortuitous succession ofinstances and do not mean that such is the established custom. I findit impossible myself to resist the conclusion to which the trial Judgecame when he held that the office is hereditary, it being left to theKapurala family to make such arrangements for the performance of theservices as expediency and convenience dictated subject to the approvalof the Basnayake Nilame who, clearly, enjoys the control and manage-ment of the dewales and could, therefore, impose reasonable terms andconditions which, in the long course of time, have become more or lesswell established.
In the social order of today and in the light of modem legal conceptions,the rights and obligations of an office such as this cannot be rigidlydefined, and it must be left to the sense of fairplay on the part of so highan official as the Basnayake Nilame on the one hand, and to the sense ofservice and discipline of the Kapuralas on the other hand to ensure thatthe interests of the dewales and of the devotees who resort to themare maintained with dignity and efficiency, and that personal motivesare repressed.
ROSE J.—Sujjpyan and Andris Appu.
According to the system of tenure of this office which has obtained,for some time, it was the plaintiffs’ turn to officiate at the time theysought to officiate and, in my opinion, they were entitled to the reliefthe trial Judge gave them. I would dismiss the appeal with costs.Rose J.—I agree.
NUGAWELA (BASNAYAKE NILAME) , Appellant, and MOHATHALA et al , Respondents