CHARITABLE ENDOWMENT BY A HINDU THROUGH WILL As per Hindu law a person may dispose of property which is capable of being

disposed of by him. Any person, who is not a minor and of sound mind can prepare a will to dispose of his or her property,. Nothing stops the testator from disposing the entire property which belongs to him to charity or any other purpose as he deems fit. A will need not be in any particular form. Any form sufficiently expressing the desire of the testator is enough. As per section 57 of the Indian succession act a will must be in writing and signed by two witnesses. Hence a Hindu who is not a minor and who is of sound mind may dedicate his property to religious and charitable purposes through a written will. What may be religious and charitable is a subjective question which must be tested as to merit as one recognizable as so under Shastric basics. It has to be, however, also construed leniently to accommodate the changes in public policy and the needs of modern society1. The Supreme Court has made it clear in the case of Saraswati Ammal v. Rajagopal Ammal2 that “now it is correct to say that what is a religious purpose under the Hindu Law must be determined according to Hindu notions”. The general law of wills suggests that a will however would fail when it is vague and uncertain. The will must in clear words what the intention of the testator was regarding the use of the property. Such an endowment created in favor of a religious or charitable institution cannot be held as invalid on the ground that it violates the rule against perpetuity. This rule only applies to private persons and gifts3. A Hindu can make a gift for the ishta and the purta. The usual charitable gift or bequest for charitable purposes are the institution of the dharamshala,annastrams, Sadavarts, for the establishment or maintaince of educationa l and medical institution, for construction and maintenance of source of supply of water, such as tanks and wells, bathing ghats, etc. A Hindu can create a charitable trust for any of these purposes. He may also dedicate property for any of these purposes and create an endowment. Such dedications are made by the usual ceremony of sankalpa and utsarga, though as has been pointed out earlier that no particular ceremonies are obligatory. Following are the requisites of a valid endowment(1) The author or settler of the endowment must be competent to settle it. (2) The object must be either religious or charitable or both. (3) The dedication by the settler must be bona fide and unambiguous. (4) The object or purpose of dedication must be definite or certain.
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AIR 1953 SC 491 AIR 1953 SC 491,494. 3 S 118 of Indian succession act , section 18 of Transfer of Property Act, (1898) 25 Cal 112

(5) The property dedicated must be ascertainable. (6) The dedication must not be made in contravention of any provision of law. .

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