However, notwithstanding the said answer given to issue No.1,learned District Judge had answered issue No.6, namely,

noted that the said section refers to the property, movable andimmovable belonging or in anywise appertaining to or appropriatedfor the use of any temple. In fact according to issue No.1 the ques-tion was whether the property referred to in the plaint came underthe administration of the trustee of the temple.
issue in the affirmative.
It is to be noted that learned District Judge had answered this
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Sampayo, J., in Charles v Appu (supra) that sanghika’ means nomore than property belonging to the entire priesthood, that is to say,to the temple”, I am in agreement with the submission made bylearned President's Counsel for the appellant that a temple couldacquire property by the ordinary civil modes of acquisition.
Considering the submissions made by both learned President'sCounsel for the appellant and the respondent it is apparent that thequestion to be decided here is whether the 2/3 share given by agrant to Medhankara Therunnanse as incumbent of KandebeddeTemple could be treated as sanghika property, temple property orpudgalika property.
In Wickremesinghe v Unnanse (supra), it was held that it is by agift that a temple or any other property can become sanghika, andthe very conception of a gift requires that there should be an offer-ing or dedication. Referring to the decision in Wickremesinghe vUnnanse (supra) in Wijewardene v Buddharakkita Thero <2> it wasstated that,
“It would appear from the case of Wickremesinghe vUnnanse that for a dedication to the sangha there mustbe a donor, a donee, and a gift. There must be an assem-bly of four or more bhikkus. The property must be shown;the donor and donee must appear before the assemblyand recite three times the formula generally used in giv-ing property to the sangha with the necessary variationaccordingly as it is a gift to one or more. Water must bepoured into the hands of the donee or his representative.
The sangha is entitled to possess the property from thattime onwards. No property can become sanghika withoutsuch a ceremony.”
It was stated that the procedure laid down in Wickremesinghe'scase for giving property to the sangha is in accord with the Vinaya(Kullawagga, Sixth Khandhaka sections 2,4 and 5).
However, although repetitively it has been mentioned that, theproperty acquired by a temple must be sanghika property and thatessentially there should be a dedication to the sangha with a cere-mony which included pouring water, this ritual seems to be flawedin certain instances. Referring to such instances, Dr.H.W.Thambiah
Vert. Omare Dhammapala Thero v Rajapakshage Peiris
and others (Bandaranavake, J.)
(Buddhist Ecclesiastical Law, Reprinted from the Journal of theCeylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series, Vol.VII,Part I pp.82-83) stated that,
“in the Sinhalese inscription at Periya Pulliyankulam adedication to the sangha is recorded. There is no mentionof the ceremony of pouring water, although it is men-tioned in later inscriptions, such as the one atDimbulagala, where King Abaya, grandson of the KingDevanampiya Tissa dedicated a canal to the sangha bypouring water from a golden vase….
Much later, in the time of King Kirti Sri, the Asgiri Vihara,which is the second largest of the Buddhist establish-ments in the Kandyan Kingdom, was dedicated by theKing and this dedication is inscribed on a stone. In 1766Adigar Pilimatalawa dedicated the Parana Vihara in theAsgiri Vihare premises to the priesthood and the inscrip-tion there sets out the ceremony that was performed bythe King. All that it says is that the King caused Ehelepolato read the contents of an ola dedicating Kahawala andUdasgiri to the new vihara and he offered the writing bylaying it on the table before the image. In both thesegrants, there is no mention of the pouring of water atthese ceremonies. Much earlier than that, theMahavamsa records the ceremony of planting a branchof the original Bo tree under which the Buddha sat andachieved enlightenment, which is illustrated by a stonesculpture on the lower and middle architraves of the EastGate of the Sanchi Tope. The sculptures do not depict,and the Mahawamsa does not refer to, the pouring ofany water, (emphasis added)”
The aforementioned description depicts that there are two meth-ods of making a dedication to the sangha one with a ceremonywhich includes pouring of water and the other without such a cere-mony.
It is also worthy of note that the Buddhist TemporalitiesOrdinance refers to pudgalika property belonging to a priest, whichcould later become the property of the temple. Section 23 of the
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Ordinance, which refers to pudgalika property acquired by a bhikkufor own use, reads as follows:330
“All pudgalika property that is acquired by any individualbhikku for his exclusive personal use, shall, if not alienat-ed by such bhikku during his lifetime, be deemed to bethe property of the temple to which such bhikku belongedunless such property had been inherited by such bhikkd’.
There is no reference made in the Buddhist TemporalitiesOrdinance, that the pudgalika property, of a bhikku must beacquired, in terms of the Vinaya.
This clearly enunciates the principle that the property dedicatedwith a ceremony to make the offering ‘sanghika’ is not the only way 340for a temple to acquire property.
Learned President's Counsel for the respondent strenuouslyargued that there cannot be a category known as temple propertyas opposed to sanghika property because that would reduce theconcept of sanghika property to a nullity. On the basis of that sub-mission it is necessary to examine, whether there is a category ofproperty known as ‘temple property’ which a temple can own with-out such property being termed 'sanghika’. The contention of thelearned President's Counsel for the respondent was that, aBuddhist temple is not a juristic person that can receive or hold 350property and has no legal personality. Several decisions datingfrom 1879 were cited to demonstrate that although a Buddhist tem-ple may be an institution, that it cannot be regarded as a juristicperson. This position had been accepted by the Supreme Court forover a hundred years and that now it is well settled law. [RatnapaiaUnnanse v Kewitigala Unnanse Sedhananda Therunnanse vSumanatissa <8)' Wijewardane v Buddharakkita Thero (supra)Buddharakkita Thero v Wijewardane (supra), Pavisthinahamy vAkurala Seelawansa Thero (9>.
Much emphasis was placed on the decision in Kampane 360Gunaratne Thero v Mawadawila Pannasena Thero (supra) by thelearned President's Counsel for the respondent to show that thedecision in Kosgoda Pangnaseela and another v GamagePavisthinahamy (1°) was not followed by the Supreme Court in
Ven. Omare Dhammapala Thero v Rajapakshage Peiris
and others (Bandaranavake. J.)
Kampane Gunaratne Thero's case (supra). Learned President'sCounsel contended that the Supreme Court in the KampaneGunaratne Thero's case expressly rejected the submission that atemple can own property without a dedication as prescribed in theVinaya. In Kampane Gunaratna Thero's case the plaintiff sued thedefendants for a declaration that he is the lawful Viharadhipathi ofthe temple known as Mahagama Rajaramaya, for ejectment of thedefendants from the temple premises and for recovery of posses-sion of the same. The temple was constructed on an allotment ofcrown land which had been leased to the trustees of a BuddhistAssociation for the purpose of constructing a Buddhist Temple anddedicating it to the sangha after which it was stipulated that thelessor will issue a fresh lease of the land for 99 years in favour ofthe trustee or the controlling Viharadhipathi of the temple. The tem-ple was constructed and a deed ‘of dedication’ was executed with
the approval of the Govenment Agent and the Commissioner ofBuddhist Affairs. The deed appointed the plaintiff as theViharadhipathi of the temple. The Supreme Court held that the factthat a deed ‘of dedication’ was executed with the full authority of theState did not by itself, render the temple a sanghika viharaya whichwas the basis of the plaintiff's action and a mere claim to the officeof Viharadhipathi independently of the title to the temple and tem-proralities is untenable. It also held that as the deed ‘of dedication’had not been accompanied by a solemn ceremony in the presenceof four or more monks representing the ‘sarva sangha’ or ‘entirepriesthood’ as prescribed in vinaya, the temple and its property didnot become sanghika property. Therefore, it was decided that thetitle to the property remained with the State. In other words theproperty remained ‘gihi santhaka'.
The decision taken in Kampane Gunaratne Thero's case couldbe clearly distinguished form the present appeal, for the foilowningreasons. It is to be noted that in Kampane Gunaratne Thero's casethe land in which the temple was built was on a lease agreementwhere the lessees were to hold the property until the dedication ofthe temple in the manner provided in clause 11 of the 6th scheduleto the agreement. According to clause 14 of the lease agreement,upon dedication of the temple in the manner provided in clause 11the lessor was to issue a fresh lease of the land for 99 years in
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favour of the trustee or the controlling Viharadhipathi, in time for thetemple so dedicated. These clauses expressly disclose that the titleto the temple in question was to remain in the State. Furthermore,as described in the preceding paragraphs, I am unable to agreewith the view that the only mode of dedicating a property to a tem-ple is through the procedure described in the Vinaya. I am there-fore, with respect, unable to subscribe to the view taken inKampane Gunaratne Thero's case that a temple can own property 410only if such property is dedicated in the manner prescribed in theVinaya. The decision in Kosgoda Pangnaseela and another vGamage Pavisthinahamy (supra) on the other hand, has clearlyanalysed the position with regard to a temple in owning property.
After an intensive examination of the past and present enactmentsdealing with Buddhist Temporalities, the relevant provisions and thedecided cases with specific reference to the requisite capacity of atemple to receive property, Atukorale, J. was of the view that,
“There is therefore legislative sanction for the propositionthat a temple can acquire property otherwise than by way 420of a sanghika dedication. I am therefore with respect,unable to subscribe to the view taken by the Privy Councilin Buddharakkita Thero v Wijewardene (62 NLR 49) thatsection 20 of the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance (Cap.
318) deals only with sanghika property, that is, propertydedicated to the priesthood as a whole with the custom-ary ceremonies appurtenant to such a dedication.
Contrary to the position taken by the learned President'sCounsel for the respondent, there are other decisions where thereare certain dicta to the effect that a temple is a corporation and can 430:acquire property. If I may reiterate, the position in Charles v Appu(supra), a case decided in 1914, De Sampayo, J. stated that,
“…. it may be remembered that a temple is a corporation,and often acquires property by the ordinary civil mode ofacquistion.”
This view was cited with approval by Atukorale, J. in KosgodaPangnaseela and another v Gamage Pavisthinahamy (supra). Inthat case, it was further stated that,
Van. Omare Dhammapala Thero v Rajapakshage Peiris
and others (Bandaranavake, J.)
“On a consideration…. there appears to me…. that aBuddhist Vihara or temple is an institution sui generiswhich is capable in law of receiving and holding property.
The view I have formed is that in the context of past leg-islation the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance (Cap. 318)recognises a Buddhist temple or vihara as an institutionwith the attributes of a corporation for the purpose ofacquiring and holding property, both movable and immov-able".
On a consideration of the totality of the material available, whichincludes not only the case law, but the relevant past and presentlegislation, I am of the view that the present Buddhist TemporalitesOrdinance recognises a Buddhist temple as an institution with thecharacteristics of a corporation which could acquire and holdmovable and immovable property by the ordinary civil modesof acquisition.
A temple, according to the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance,means a place of Buddhist worship and would include the commu-nity of the sangha, viz. the entire priesthood. As contended bylearned President's Counsel for the appellant, offerings to a templecould include a rupee coin put into a till box or offerings such as bedsheets, plates, cups etc. for the use of the priests. In each of theseinstances, the dedication may not be accompanied by a solemnceremony in the presence of four or more priests who represent the‘sarva sangha’ or entire priesthood with the ceremony of pouringwater. Does this mean that, purely because of the absence of sucha ceremony, the dedication to the temple by a devotee wouldremain as ‘gihi santhaka', depriving him of his devotion and acquir-ing the merits of his benefaction? I do not think so. Such an inter-pretation would deprive the good intentions of a devotee who hasno intention of retaining the ownership of what he has alreadydonated to the temple. In terms of section 20 of the BuddhistTemporalities Ordinance “all offerings made for the use of suchtemple…. shall vest in the trustee or the controlling Viharadhipathifor the time being of such temple”. Furthermore, the BuddhistTemporalities Ordinance provides for situations where an individualbhikku could acquire property for his exclusive personal use.However, as referred to earlier, section 23 of the Ordinance pro-
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vides that, such pudgalika property if not alienated by such bhikkuduring his life time be deemed to be the property of the temple towhich such bhikku belonged unless such property has been inher-ited by such bhikku. In terms of section 23 of the Ordinance, in a 480situation where an individual bhikku departs from this world, with-out alienating his ‘pudgalika property’ acquired by him during his lifetime, such property would deem to be the property of the templeeven though such property had been acquired without ceremonyand dedication in the manner prescribed in the Vinaya. Therefore itis a conclusive surmise that in addition to sanghika and pudgalikaproperty belonging to a temple, there could be other property whichbelongs to the temple, but acquired without a ceremony and a ded-ication in the manner prescribed in the vinaya.
In the present case, it is common ground that the land in ques- 490tion was purchased on a crown grant dated 06.02.1921 which con-veyed a 2/3 share to Medhankara Therunnanse. On a careful con-sideration of the said grant, it is abundantly clear that the crowngrant (P1) given to Rev.Medhankara is not a personal grant allottedto him, but a grant given to him as the trustee of the temple knownas Kandebedde Viharaya. When this case is examined in the lightof the aforementioned facts and circumstances, it is clear that thereis no material to indicate that at the time the property was pur-chased on behalf of the temple, there was no such ceremony todedicate the said property to the ‘sarva sangha’ according to the sooVinaya. However, sanghika dedication is not the only mode ofacquisition of property by a temple. A temple could acquire proper-ty by the ordinary civil modes of acquisition without a ceremonyconducted according to the Vinaya as happened in this case. On aconsideration of the circumstances of the instant case, the proper-ty in question becomes temple property belonging to the templeknown as Kandebedde Viharaya. Hence, the questions on whichspecial leave to appeal was granted should be answered in the fol-lowing terms:
the answer of the learned District Judge to issue No.2 is erro- 510neous and the answer to issue No.6 is incomplete.
the answers of the learned District Judge to issues No.2 and6 are inconsistent with his answer to issue No.1.
fen. Omare Dhammapala Them v Rajapakshage Peiris
and others (Bandaranavake. J.)
The property described in paragraph 2 of the plaint in anyevent is temple property as it was property purchased orgranted for and on behalf of the temple and title to the saidproperty devolved and vested in the temple on the death ofRev.Ovitigamuve Dammananda.
For the aforementioned reasons this appeal is allowed and thejudgment of the Court of Appeal dated 17.08.1998 and the judg- 520ment of the District Court dated 25.08.1988 are set aside. TheDistrict Court is directed to enter judgment in favour of the appel-lant.
On a consideration of the totality of the circumstances in thiscase, there will be no costs in this Court.
ISMAIL, J. – I agree.YAPA, J. – I agree.
Appeal allowed.