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Present: The Hon. Sir Joseph T. Hutchinson, Chief Justice,and Mr. Justice Wendt.
SUMANGALA UNNANSE v. DHAMMARAKKITA et al.
D. C., Colombo, 23,308.
Kelani Vihare — Right of succession — Pupil — Robing — Dispute as tosuccession — Reference to Maha Sanga Sabhawa — Decision —Res judicata — Irregularity.
TheMaha Sanga Sabhawa, or the Great CouncilofBuddhists,is
not arecognized tribunal, and its decisions have nottheeffect ofret
judicata. Even if the decision of the Maha Sanga Sabhawa be con-sideredas the award of arbitrators, such decision isliable to beset
aside on the ground of irregularity or misconduct in the proceedings.It isan irregularity which vitiates the proceedingsofan arbitrator
for him to refuse to allow one of the parties to adduce evidence insupport of his case.
PPEAL by the plaintiff from a judgment of the District Judge(F. R. Dias, Esq.) dismissing his action. The facts are fully
set out in the judgment of the District Judge, which was as follows(January 20, 1908): —
“ The plaintiff, a Buddhist priest, complains that he is beingwrongfully kept out of the incumbency of the Kelani Vihare and
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its income and emoluments by the first and second defendants, who 1908.deny his rights and claim to be sole incumbents. The third defendant September 22.is said to be jointly entitled with the plaintiff to a half share of theincumbency, and he has been made a defendant, because he refusedto join the plaintiff in the action.
“ The decision of this case involves most momentous issues to thewhole of the Buddhist world, and it is therefore with a full senseof my responsibility that I approach it. I think it would have beenfar more satisfactory if these parties had settled their disputes oncefor all by a Committee of their own ecclesiastical dignitaries thanforced a decision in a Court of Law; but, since they have adoptedthe latter course, I feel bound to give a decision on the evidenceboth sides have placed before me.
“ The case centres on the genuineness or otherwise of a certainentry in the ‘ Lekammitiya, ’ or ola register of ordinations, kept atthe Malwatte Vihare in Kandy, and that is peculiarly a point whichwould have been best decided by a committee of experts nominatedby the parties themselves. Perhaps such a course was impossible,in view of the considerable amount of feeling and division of opinionthere seem to have arisen in the Buddhist Church of Ceylon on thisvery point.
“ In order to understand the question properly it is necessarythat I should briefly narrate the history of this Vihare and of itsincumbents. As we all know, the Kelani Vihare is one of themost sacred and important temples in Ceylon. It was restoredat considerable expense by King Kirti Sri Raja Sinha, who by aRoyal Sannas dated 1779 a.d. conferred it on a priest namedMapitigama Buddharakkita and one of his pupils in succession inperpetuity.
" In the year 1858 the incumbent was one Mapitigama Sangarak-kita, who by a notarial deed I) 2 of that year purported to transferand assign the Vihare . and all its lands and other belongings to histwo pupils Dompe Buddharakkita (1), and Mapitigama – Dhamma-rakkita (2) (the present first defendant), to be held by them as. jointowners for ever with pupillary succession. After the death of thegrantor, Dompe and Mapitigama (2) continued as joint incumbents,and enjoyed the income in equal shares till the death of Dompe inJanuary, 1903, after which these disputes arose. Admittedly, thefirst and second defendants are#in sole possession, and they denythat the plaintiff, Kandeoluwe, is an adopted pupil of Dompe at all,or that be has any right to succeed him. They admit, however,that the third defendant was a junior pupil, but his right ofsuccession would only arise if Dompe left no senior'pupil.
“ There is no question raised by plaintiff as to the first defendant'sright to be in occupation either as a pupil of Mapitigama Sanga-rakkita, or under his deed of gift, but the plaintiff denies the rightsof the second defendant altogether.
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“ The second defendant is actually the person in sole possession,
September 22. an<j he claims to be there by his own right and by virtue of a powerof attorney granted to him a few years ago by the first defendant(his tutor), who is now too bid and imbecile to attend to any activework. He claims to be the senior pupil of Dompe (1), having beenduly adopted and robed by him as well as by the second defendant,and presented for ordination by them jointly in 1887. If thatallegation is true, the claims of the plaintiff and third defendant,who were only ordained in 1896, must necessarily fail. The ‘ Lekam-mitiya, ’ or register of ordinations, kept officially by the high priest,bears out the second defendant’s story, and shows that he wasordained as the joint pupil of Dompe and Mapitigama. This entryin the register is impeached as a forgery, and that is what we haverow to consider.
“ It will be seen that the second defendant has more defencesthan one, and no matter in what direction we approach the subject,the genuineness of the entry comes into play.
“ If the deed of gift D 2 is valid, then first defendant would beentitled to half, and he (second defendant) as Dompe’s senior pupilwould be entitled to the other half. Whether he is the senior pupilor any pupil at all of Dompe must stand or fall by the genuinenessof the register.
“ If the deed of gift is bad, because the grantor had no rightto transfer or assign by a deed inter parties the Vihare and itsappurtenances in a manner inconsistent with the terms of the RoyalSannas and the ordinary rules of pupillary succession observed bythe Buddhist Church, then the second defendant would be entitledto be sole incumbent as the senior pupil of Dompe (1), who in turnwas the senior pupil of Mapitigama Sangharakkita, the grantor ofthe deed. Here, too, the question rests on the validity of the register.
“ Then again, if as has been contended in this case, arid as towhich there seems to be a difference of opinion, there is a rightof survivorship to the survivor of two joint incumbents, the firstdefendant as the surviving incumbent would be entitled to theentire incumbency, and the second defendant as his attorney isentitled to keep the plaintiff and the third defendant out.
“ A great deal of evidence has been called for the purpose ofimpeaching the register relied upon by the second defendant, andI may say at the very outset that the plaintiff has failed to satisfyme that the entry is a forgery. This register consists of about athousand ola leaves, strung together by means of a cord, and con-tains all the ordinations of priests carried out at the Malwatte Vihareduring the last seventy years or more. It is suggested that thefive olas containing the entries for the year 1887 have been bodilytaken out of the volume and five spurious ones introduced witha false entry, showing Dompe as one of the tutors of the seconddefendant. No doubt it is not a difficult matter to insert new leaves
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in a volume of olas, but that is no reason why we should, in the 1908.absence of some sogent testimony beyond mere speculation, hold a September 22.document which comes from proper custody to be a forgery. Thatis a very serious matter; and I should be sorry to lightly throw anydiscredit on such an important document as the official register ofthe Malwatte Vihare. It is kept by the Chief High Priest, andhanded down to his successor, and it has been now produced by thepresent High Priest Siddartha Sumangala. Both this High Priestand Hikkaduwe Sumangala, the High Priest of Adam’s Peak,impeach this entry as a forgery. They are Undoubtedly very eminentand learned men in the Buddhist world, and their opinions areentitled to respect, but I cannot say that their ex eathedrd state-ments can be accepted by a Court of Law as conclusive, unless thereis evidence to show that they are correct or even reasonable. Thesum and substance of the evidence to impeach these five olas isthat they are not of the same size or colour as the others in front andbehind them; that the characters are slightly different to those inthe preceding olas; that the language and spelling are unintelligent,the writing being done quickly and carelessly; and that a certainentry (No. 41 in the Index, P 6) has been omitted from the register,betraying the hurry with which the forger did his work. Allthese suggestions have been completely demolished in the cross-examination of the very witnesses who put them forward. EvenHikkaduwe has been forced to admit that some of the objections heraised with regard to the size, shape, and colour of these impeached,olas, the orthographical errors he discovered in them, Ac., are tobe found in other admittedly genuine olas, also both in front andbehind. I would particularly refer in this connection to the ad-mission extorted from Priest Madugalle Siddartha; the expert calledby the plaintiff, and who had made a special study of this volumefor the purposes of this case. He candidly admits that he will notcondemn the impeached olas on the ground of bad spelling alone,because bad spelling occurs in the genuine olas also through care-lessness. During the trial he went through all the genuine olas of1889 and found many similar mistakes in spelling in them. Healso admits that the spelling of names in the register does not alwaysfollow the spelling given in their own index (P 6). He also admitsthat in all parts of this register there are genuine olas, which aredifferent in length, size, and colour to those in front and behind them.
There is also nothing in the alleged omission of “ No. 41 ” in theindex from the entries in the register, because the index is only arough list of candidates for ordinations, and not a list of those whohave, in fact, been ordained. It is possible for a candidate whosename is sent in and is registered in the index not to come up forordination at all through some unforeseen circumstance, and it isfurther admitted that the numbering in the register does not neces-sarily follow the numbering in the index. The way in which the
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190S. register is entered up is this. As each candidate goes through theSeptember22. ceremony of ordination, bis name and that of his tutors and date“ and time of. ordination are entered in a separate strip of ola andpreserved. Ordinations are only held during the Wesak seasonof each year, and are continued for about a month. The ola stripsreferring to the ordinations of a particular season are collectedtogether and copied into the register by a scribe to whom the HighPriest entrusts the work. This is not done immediately after theordinations, but, as the evidence shows, once in six months or so,or even once in two or three years. A priest reads out the strips tothe scribe, and he copies them. It is not necessary that the scribeshould be a scholar well versed in the intricacies of Sinhalese ortho-graphy, so that one can well understand and explain any inelegantspelling that may occur in any of these entries. Moreover, as theentries for each year are not made by the same scribe, one can alsowell understand the difference in the shape and formation ofcharacters appearing in different olas of this register.
“ In view of all these facts, which are proved out of the mouths ofthe plaintiff’s own witnesses, I am unable to say that he has evenmade out a case of suspicion against these olas. The register is anofficial document of this church, and it comes from proper custody.The presumption is that every leaf of it is genuine, and all I needsay is that that presumption has not been rebutted by any of theevidence led before me.
“ It transpired during the progress of this case that the seconddefendant is detested by some of the leading members and digni-taries of his sect as being a disreputable man, who is utterly unfitto be a priest, and much less to be the incumbent of so renowned aplace as the Kelani Vihare. It was alleged that he was a forger,who had actually been tried before the Supreme Court, and acattle-stealer, who had figured in the Police Court. There was somejustification for those allegations, and it may even be that he wasguilty of the charges, although he was never convicted; but so faras this Court is concerned his character has nothing whatever to dowith the question before it. A man’s bad character cannot deprivehim of his civil rights, and if a Buddhist priest is of bad characterand unfit to hold office, the congregation and their trustee must seektheir remedy elsewhere and deprive him of his benefice.
“ It seems to me, therefore, that the high priests and others whogave evidence against the second defendant’s claim have beencarried away, perhaps unconsciously, by reports against this priest'scharacter, and were thereby prejudiced against him.
“ Leaving aside the improbabilities of the case put forward by theplaintiff, I cannot overlook the very strong evidence called by thesecond defendant to show the truth of his statement that he was thejoint pupil of both Dompe and Mapitigama, and that he was dulyordained as such in 1887. His ohief witness on this point is no
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other than the present Anunaike or Second High Priest of the 1908.Malwatte Vihare. This priest, who is eighty-.two years old, and has September 22.been' a fully ordained priest for sixty' years, and the Anunaike of•Malwatte Vihare for the last twenty-eight years, swears that he waspresent and took part in the ordination of the second defendant.
He .then came up with a letter of introduction to the then HighPriest Hippola signed by both Dompe and Mapitigama, who pre-sented him for ordination, their joint pupil, and he was accordinglyordained. When a tutor cannot personally attended his pupil’sordination, it is customary ,to send such a letter of introduction,and the witness from his personal knowledge knew that the seconddefendant was ordained as the joint pupil of those two priests.
Perhaps in the case of an ordinary priest one might not remember orcare to remember, after the lapse of so many years, who his masterwas; but in the case of such an important Vihare as Kelani it is amatter of the highest interest to every Buddhist, whether priest orlayman, to know and to remember who the person presented forordination by its incumbent was. This witness further says thathe was well aware of the entry in the register referring to thesecond defendant’s ordination, and that till this dispute arose hehad never heard it suggested that the second defendant was notDompe's pupil.
“ I think the testimony of this High Priest, who, bo far as weknow, is a perfectly disinterested person, is entitled to quite as muchrespect as that of any of .the High Priests called by the plaintiff. Itfully corroborates the genuineness of the register, which, in myopinion, it is impossible to throw aside.
“ Another of the issues raised in this case is, whether or notthe second defendant is bound by a certain decision given by theMaha Sanga Sabhawa, or Great Council of priests, at Malwatte in1904, which held that the plaintiff was entitled to his incumbency■jointly with the defendants. I need only say a very few wordstouching this point, which I decide in the negative for tworeasons: —
“ (1) That was not the decision of a recognized tribunal, whichcould be pleaded as res judicata in a Court of Law; and“ (2) It was manifestly an improper decision, forced upon .thesecond defendant without allowing him to put forwardhis best piece of evidence, namely, the register, andwhich decision wps repudiated by him as soon as it waspronounced.
" Admittedly, the Maha Sanga Sabhawa is the highest ecclesias-tical court of the Buddhist Chinch. The Mahanaike or Chief HighPriest is the President of that assembly, and its decisions, so far asthey relate .to the internal discipline of the church and the conductof priests, are final. It has no right of deprivation, and its decrees
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1908. oan only be enforced in.a negative way, namely, by an interdict.,September 92. ordering all other priests ,to boycott the delinquent by ceasing to”associate with him in any religious functions until he is brought
back to the paths of rectitude. In the present case it would appearthat when Dompe died in 1903, the first and second defendantsdenied the rights of the plaintiff and of the third defendant asDompe's successors, and the letter appealed to the Maha SangaSabhawa for a decision on the point. The chapter of priests metin November, 1903, and the second defendant loyally responded tothe notice sent to him, and attended that meeting, but the firstdefendant was absent through ill health. The second defendantthen stated his case, which was that he was the senior pupil otDompe, and appealed to the register to prove his point. That was theonly point in the case, and the evidence of the register would havebeen the best evidence to decide it. Although (he second defendantpressed for the production of the book, the President declinedto produce it, which was then close at hand in the Vihare. AsHikkaduwe High Priest, who took part at that meeting, says, thePresident retired into a room when the register was called for, andcame back and said that he would not produce it before anybodyexcept on an order of Court, as he had doubts about its genuineness,When that refusal was given, none of the other priests who formedthe chapter dared to press for the production of the book, because,as it is said, it would have been an act of disloyalty and contumacytowards their Chief High Priest or Pope, whose word was as lawto them. In other words, the chapter were prepared to subordinatetheir own opinions to that of their Chief High Priest and abide byhis mere ipse dixit, even though they knew they were therebydenying justice to a man who was clamouring for it, and appealingto the only piece of evidence which would have conclusively provedhis case, and which was then at the disposal of the very personwho was refusing to produce it.
“ The Chief High Priest himself admitted in his evidence thatif such an entry was in his register and was correct, the seconddefendant would be the senior pupil of Dompe, and would as suchtake precedence over the plaintiff and the third defendant; and hefurther admitted that if the entry was correct, the decision theygave would have been wrong. He says that he did not produce theregister because at no stage of the inquiry did the second defendantor any one else call for it. It is impossible to get over the utterimprobability of such a thing, considering that the production ofthe register would have conclusively proved or disproved the claimof the man who was being then tried before them. The High Priestfurther stated that, until he opened the register two or three daysafter the inquiry was closed and judgment was deferred, he had-nosuspicion whatever that any entry in his register was not genuine.If he was acting fairly by the second defendant, it is extraordinary
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that as soon as he made that discovery and found that there was 1908.some truth In the second defendant’s claim he did not re-assemble Septanber22.his chapter and give them the benefit of this newly discovered piece ~of evidence before they came to a final decision one way or thethe other. The conduct at the Chief High Priest in this connectioncan only be explained on the hypothesis that he was so firmly con-vinced in his own mind as to .the second defendant not being a pupilof Dompe that he wanted to have his own way irrespective of whatthe register contained. We need not go so far as to say that he wasdeliberately doing an injustice to the second defendant in what-ever he did, and I am prepared even to say that in'his own mind hethought he. was acting quite correctly, but in a Court of Law theattitude he took up will not bear scrutiny. No one claims infalli-bility for him, and although his utterances are accepted withoutquestion, even by such exalted personages as the High Priest ofAdam’s Peak, we yet cannot forget that he is ODly a human being,who is sometimes liable to make mistakes. His evidence withregard to what transpired at the Malwatte inquiry touching theproduction of the register is so hopelessly contradicted by theplaintiff’s own witness, the High Priest of Adam’s Peak, not tomention the defendant and his witness, the Annunaike of Malwatte,that I am compelled to throw it aside altogether.
“Having closed the inquiry without the production of the register,the chapter did not, as is usual, pronounce its decision there andthen, but it would appear that three months jater the Chief HighPriest himself pronounced a judgment instead of the Judge, or‘ Anu Wijjaka, ’ whose duty it was to pronounce it. That decisionwas, as I indicated before, nothing but the ex cathedra opinion of theChief High Priest, which he wanted everybody to accept withoutquestion, in order, if possible, to get rid of an undesirable priest.
That being 60, it goes without saying that it was not a decisionwhich any Court should uphold as being binding on the seconddefendant.
“ In view of my above finding, it is unnecessary to touch uponany of the other questions that have been raised in this case. Ifind it proved that the second defendant was duly adopted androbed at the instance of both Dompe and Mapitigama, and, as beingthe senior ordained pupil of Dompe, he is at present solely entitledto Dompe’s share of the incumbency to the exclusion of all otherpupils. I therefore dismiss the plaintiff’s action with costs. ’’
The Royal Sannas dated 1779 a.d., and referred to by. the DistrictJudge, was as follows: —
“ Hail! When His Renowned, Excellent, Heroic, and ValorousMajesty Kirti Sri Raja Sinha, the Great King, whose fame hasspread not only in his own, but also in those of other countries,having ascended the throne of prosperous Lanka, which was brought
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190$. tinder the one single canopy of his sway, was enhancing the growingSeptember 22. success and furthering the propagation of .the religion of the omni-scient one, who is adored by Brahamas, Gods, Demigods, sages, andmen, His Majesty was informed of the dilapidated condition of theDagoba at Kelani, situated on the spot where our Buddha, at theinvitation of Maninayana, Supreme Sing of Nagas, having madehis advent through the sky, attended by five hundred of the lusi-conquered priests, preached his Dharma (Buddhist scripture) toBrahamas, Gods, Demigods, and Nagas, sitting on the gemmy seatin .the middle of the Jewel Hall, having partaken of the celestialfood offered by the Chief Nagas.
“ Then, on the occasion when His Majesty received informationconcerning the dilapidated condition of Dagoba at Kelani, HisMajesty, granting thousands of money from the Royal Treasury toMapitigama Buddharakkita, Priest, ordered him to repair the damagesin the Dagoba. He, the Priest, constructed it with 550,000 bricksto the height of 40 cubits, plastering it with 500 amunams of chunam,and enclosing the same with a parapet wall, and the said Priestfurther built an image-house, wherein was placed an image ofBuddha refulgent in all beauty of .the ten great proportions ofmeasurement; moreover, a top covering and "stone steps beingalso put up, the priests reported the merits of the work to theKing, when His Majesty was pleased to grant unto the said veryenergetic Priest Buddharakkita the establishment place, “ is-thane, ” in perpetuity, in order that he and one of his pupils insuccession, who is well conducted and learned in the Winaya andDharma, may keep the works in due state of preservation forthe future. And to enable them to carry out that purpose, it wasordered that 12 amunams of paddy be given and granted out of .theproduce of Maniangama, and this copperplate be engraved andgranted, and by order of His Majesty, sitting like Indra on thegolden Throne ornamented with nine precious gems, this copper-plate was engraved.
“ Given and granted on this Sunday, the 15th day of the FullMoon, in the Lunar Month of Nawan, in the year named Wikari,- One thousand Seven hundred and One of the Saka era atSriwardanapura.
The plaintiff appealed against the judgment of the DistrictJudge.
M. Fernando,- C.C. (with him H. Jayewardene and Batuwan-tudawe),ior the plaintiff, appellant.
J. C. Pereira (with him A. St. V. Jayewardene and De Zoysa),for the defendants, respondents.
Gwr. adv. vvlt.
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September 22, 1908. Hutchinson C.J.—
This is an appeal by the plaintiff. He claimed a declaration thathe is a joint incumbent of the Kelani Vihare, and the District Courtdismissed his claim. He alleged in his plaint that by virtue ofa deed dated January 11, 1858, Dompe BuddharakHta and thefirst defendant were joint incumbents of the Vihare until the deathof Dompe in 1903; that Dompe left him surviving his pupils, theplaintiff and the third defendant, but that after his death the firstand second defendants disputed the right of the plaintiff and thethird defendant to the incumbency, and exclusively enjoyed theincome and emoluments of the post without giving them theirlegitimate shares; that the plaintiff and the third defendantthereupon made a representation to the Maha Sanga Sabhawa atMalwatte Vihare complaining that the first and second defendantswere unlawfully depriving them of their legitimate shares of theemoluments and income; that the Sanga Sabhawa inquired intothe complaint, and on February 12, 1904, ordered that the plaintiffand the three defendants should jointly have the incumbency;that the first and second defendants failed to act in conformity withthe order, and that, for failure to do so, the second defendantwas interdicted by the Sanga Sabhawa, and that in view of thesaid interdiction the second defendant is not entitled to any sharein the incumbency.
The first and second defendants filed a joint answer. They saidthat the pupils of Dompe were the second and third defendants, andthat the second defendant was the senior pupil, and is also a pupilof the first defendant; they denied the plaintiff's statements aboutthe Sanga Sabhawa; they referred to the Sannas granted in 1779 a.d.by King Kirti Sri Raja Sinha, by which it was declared that thethen incumbent and one of his pupils in succession should enjoy theincumbency and -the emoluments of the Vihare in perpetuity, andthey contended that the appointment of the two incumbents by thedeed of January 11, 1858, was in violation of the decree in theSannas, and that, on the death of Dompe, the first defendant, as thesurvivor of the two appointed, became the sole incumbent of theVihare with the rights attaching thereto, and, further, that the rights,if any, of Dompe on his death devolved on the second defendant(as his senior pupil); and they claimed that the incumbency andall rights under the Sannas are now vested in the first defendantalone, or in him and the second defendant, and that neither theplaintiff nor the third defendant has any right thereto.
The following issues were settled: —
Were the disputes between the parties – referred to thedecision of the Maha Sanga Sabhawa .by the plaintiff andthe defendants, and did the Sabhawa decide that theplaintiff was entitled to the incumbency jointly with thedefendants? If so, is the decision binding on the parties?
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Is the plaintiff a pupil of Dompe? If so, is he entitled toa share of the incumbency?
Is the second defendant the senior ordained pupil of Dompe?
If so, is he solely entitled to Dompe's share of theincumbency, to the exclusion of the plaintiff? *
Is the plaintiff’s claim prescribed?
The second defendant is, in fact, in sole possession. He says
that either the first defendant is the sole incumbent, or else, the firstdefendant and himself are the joint incumbents, and that he holdsa power of attorney from the first defendant. There is strongevidence that the first defendant is now imbecile; but no objectionhas been made on that account either to his answer or to thepresent validity of the power of attorney. The real contest isbetween the plaintiff and the second defendant. The third defend-ant filed no answer, but appeared at the trial, and said he wouldstand or fall with the plaintiff.
The District Judge decided that the second defendant is notbound by the decision of the Sanga Sabhawa given in February, 1904,for two reasons: (1) That it was not the decision of a recognizedtribunal, which could be pleaded as res judicata; and (2) that' itwas an improper decision, forced on the second defendant withoutallowing him to put forward his best piece of evidence.
It is not asserted in the plaint, and it is not proved, that theSabhawa is a tribunal which has exclusive jurisdiction to decide sucha dispute as this, that is, a dispute as to the right of succession toan incumbency. On a matter of such great importance one wouldhave expected clear and decisive evidence. There is, however, no suchevidence. Nor is there clear evidence as to whether the decisionof the Maha Sanga Sabhawa is that of the High Priest alone, as it -practically was in this case, or that of the majority of the members.Moreover, the order of February 12, 1904, was attacked by thesecond defendant as having been improperly made; a good deal ofthe evidence was directed to that point, and at the close of theevidence the plaintiff’s counsel admitted that it is competent forthe Court to set aside the award (meaning the order) on grounds ofirregularity or misconduct; and I agree with the District Judgethat the order was improperly made, because the most importantevidence was improperly excluded. If, however, . the first issuewas intended to be, whether, the parties agreed to refer the disputeto the Sanga Sabhawa, so that the order of February 12 was reallyan award on an arbitration, there is no evidence of such an agree-ment. In my opinion the District Judge was right in holding thatthe second defendant was not bound by the order.
The District Judge also found that it was proved that the seconddefendant is the senior ordained pupil of Dompe, and that as suchhe is solely entitled to Dompe’s. share of the incumbency, to thoexclusion of all other pupils. The evidence that he is the senior
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pupil is conclusive; and as to the primd facie right of the senior 1908.pupil to be the sole successor, that is what I should have expected September 82,the rule to be, and the evidence satisfies me that it is the rule.Hutctmsow
For the purpose of this action it is not necessary to decide- whether C.J.on Dompe’s death the other joint incumbent, the first defendant,became the sole incumbent, or whether he and the second defendantbecame the joint incumbents.
The District Judge recorded no finding on the issue as toprescription, and I do not think it necessary to consider it.
In my opinion the appeal should be dismissed with costs.
I agree. There is no evidence to establish that the Maha SangaSabhawa had exclusive jurisdiction to determine the dispute as tothe succession to the incumbency. Even the exact constitution ofthat tribunal is left somewhat doubtful. Assuming its jurisdiction,there is ample evidence to show that its decision was vitiated byillegalities in the procedure. Upon the evidence here given. Icannot reverse the District Judge’s finding that the senior pupilis entitled to succeed in preference to his juniors.
SUMANGALA UNNANSE v. DHAMMARAKKITA et al