N.G. Chandavarkar, J.
1. The learned District Judge has found upon the evidence that the compromise, Exhibit 31, was entered into by the appellant's natural father for the appellant's benefit when he was a minor. It is urged before us in support of this second appeal that after the appellant had been adopted, the natural father ceased to be his guardian and could not, therefore, legally represent him in the matter of the compromise. That, however, is not the law. Where a dispute arises as to the factum or validity of the adoption of a minor, the minor's natural father, or in his absence, those who would, according to Hindu law, be the minor's natural guardians, are entitled to protect his interests against rival claimants, and to enter into a compromise provided that be for the minor's benefit: Nirvanaya v. Nirvanaya ILR (1885) 9 Bom. 365.
2. Whether such a compromise is in any particular case beneficial to the minor or not is, generally speaking, a question of fact; but that question must be determined with due regard to certain principles of law. It is not enough that there was a dispute but it is essential that the rights of the respective parties were fair subject of doubt and that to avoid the expense and delay of legal inquiry the parties entered into an amicable settlement. It is also necessary that each of the parties, before entering into the compromise, put forward an honest claim, that is, a claim which, however ill-founded, each party honestly believed he was warranted in making and which they intended to pursue and would have pursued but for the compromise. Further the parties should have been on equal terms as to information or means of information and that there was no bad faith on the part of any. Where a compromise is entered into under these circumstances the law will uphold it; even though there may be in the terms of it inequality of benefit. These are the principles laid down in Rajunder Narain Rae v. Bijai Govind (1839) 2 M.I.A. 181 and Miles v. New Zealand Alford Estate Company (1886) 32 Ch. D. 267
3. In the present case the District Judge's finding that the compromise was for the benefit of the minor has been arrived at on the main consideration that because the adoptive mother, Basawa, repudiated the appellant's adoption and held the property in open defiance of the appellant's rights, his natural father was at a disadvantage. But something more than the difficulty which the natural father had to encounter is required by law before the compromise can be held to bind the appellant. Did his adoptive mother honestly believe that she had not adopted the appellant or was the dispute raised by her simply to take advantage of the appellant's minority and secure some property for herself? In considering the question from this point of view, the Court ought also to take into account the actual benefit derived by Basawa under the compromise. It is contended before us that under it Basawa obtained no more than a life interest in the land in dispute. The District Judge has expressed no opinion on that point but it may have a bearing on the question at issue. The terms of the compromise must be construed by the light of surrounding circumstances as they existed at its date.
4. We, therefore, send back the case to the District Judge for a fresh finding on the point for determination raised by him in his judgment under appeal: the finding to be recorded with reference to the observations above made. Finding to be returned within two months.