The Supreme Court rendered the 107-Tai-Shang-16 Civil Decision of July 27, 2018 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that since it is difficult to verify the membership data of a folk religion association, if consistency with facts can be inferred pursuant to empirical and logical rules based on land ownership evidence, appropriate evidence shall still be deemed to have been produced.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, the Appellant filed a complaint asserting that Kung Yeh Fu Teh Yeh, the owner of the land at issue, was a folk religion association organized by local residents during the era of Japanese occupation. After the retrocession of Taiwan, the believers rebuilt the old temple in the land, renamed it as the “Holy Bright Temple,” which is the Appellant, and completed its temple registration in 1987. The Appellant subsequently applied for a certificate for the “registration of the change of name by the same subject of rights with respect to land ownership” (hereinafter, the “Name Change Certificate”) in accordance with Article 35 of the Cadastral Clearance Act. The application was rejected due to the Appellee’s objection. Therefore, a complaint was filed to declare that the Appellant and Kung Yeh Fu Teh Yeh were the same subject of rights and the Appellant owned the land at issue. Since the original decision was rendered against the Appellant, the Appellant appealed.
According to the Decision, the membership data about folk religious associations in Taiwan are essentially antiquated. Since relevant people and things have changed, it is difficult to verify such data and to produce direct evidence. Although the relevant evidence produced by the party concerned was not direct, if consistency with facts can still be inferred pursuant to empirical and logical rules, appropriate evidence should still be deemed to have been produced.
It was further pointed out in this Decision that the contract signed by the believers at that time as produced by the Appellant indicated “…Whereas we seven believers blessed by the miracle demonstrated by Tu Cheng Chuang Fu Teh Yeh and Chu Fu Lord hereby organize the conference of believers.” In addition, the wooden signs erected in the Holy Bright Temple also indicate relevant information, and the supporting documents which were submitted during the application to register the change of the temple’s name also indicate that the land at issue registered under Kung Yeh Fu Teh Yeh indeed belongs to the Holy Bright Temple. In view of the fact that if Kung Yeh Fu Teh Yeh and the Holy Bright Temple are not the same entity, why have the administrator or members or believers of Kung Yeh Fu Teh Yeh long allowed the Holy Bright Temple to use their land and worship the same god without any dispute, it was concluded that the original decision, which had held that the Appellant’s claims were not acceptable, was imprudent, and the original decision was reversed and remanded.