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Bai Rewa Alias Next Friend of Minor Vs. Jethabai Vithal and a Minor - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in4Ind.Cas.133a
AppellantBai Rewa Alias Next Friend of Minor
RespondentJethabai Vithal and a Minor
Excerpt:
consideration quieting of possible law suits is valuable consideration - hindu, law--joint family--compromise by manager binds a minor member. - .....must be bilateral, which he says this is not. but it is conceded before us, and indeed the learned district judge has found, that there was a dispute between the parties as regards the estate of the deceased maneklal, each claiming to be maneklal's heir to the property. further the plaintiff claimed under a will or testamentary disposition of the deceased. that dispute was settled by the parties in terms which are embodied in exhibit--110. although exhibit--110, is not signed by the plaintiff and there is no formal acceptance of it, the fact stands that for the purpose of buying peace and avoiding litigation, they came to an amicable settlement (exhibit--110), and the document was made over to defendant no. 1. the learned district judge says: 'the plaintiffs have not under it.....
Judgment:

Chandavarkar, J.

1. The learned District Judge in dealing with this case has held that Exhibit--110, is not agreement of compromise between the plaintiffs and the defendants but that it must be treated as an award. The reason which he gives is that an agreement must be bilateral, which he says this is not. But it is conceded before us, and indeed the learned District Judge has found, that there was a dispute between the parties as regards the estate of the deceased Maneklal, each claiming to be Maneklal's heir to the property. Further the plaintiff claimed under a will or testamentary disposition of the deceased. That dispute was settled by the parties in terms which are embodied in Exhibit--110. Although Exhibit--110, is not signed by the plaintiff and there is no formal acceptance of it, the fact stands that for the purpose of buying peace and avoiding litigation, they came to an amicable settlement (Exhibit--110), and the document was made over to defendant No. 1. The learned District Judge says: 'The plaintiffs have not under it relinquished any right or property or given any consideration in respect of it.' There again there is a fallacy. If there was a compromise of the dispute between the parties in order to render the compromise valid, it is not necessary in law for either party to relinquish his right, because the very fact that parties enter into a compromise for the purposes of peace and avoiding litigation consideration for the compromise. The District Judge further says: 'The ultimately test appears to me to be this: if the plaintiffs had brought a suit for possession of the rest of Maneklal's estate, could the defendants have set up Exhibit--110, as a sufficient and valid relinquishment of any title they (the plaintiffs) might possess? I opine not.' This is begging the question. The answer to the question is that, if the plaintiffs had brought a suit, the defendants could have successfully set up Exhibit--110, as a complete answer. Exhibit--110, must be regarded in the eye of law as a compromise and although it deals with immovable and movable property, the two portions are separable. The next question is whether we must accept the District Judge's finding that this document, whether it is treated as a compromise or as an award, is not binding upon defendant No. 2, because it was not for the benefit of defendant No. 2, who was a minor. That finding would have been binding upon us if it had been upon facts, which it is not. It is based upon an assumption which is erroneous in law. The District Judge treats the mother of defendant No. 2 as his guardian, whereas defendant No. 1, as manager of the joint Hindu family, was the guardian of his property and besides that, he had every right to deal with the minor's interests in the estate for a family necessity or benefit.

2. Then the question is whether the facts found are sufficient to justify us in finding that the compromise was for the benefit of the minor. 1 think they are, because the compromise was the result of a desire on the part of both parties to put an end to threatened litigation. Therefore, where that benefit is gained by the minor, I think, the transaction is one which must be held binding upon him. For these reasons we reverse the decree of the District Judge and restore that of the Subordinate Judge with costs of this and of the appeal in the lower Court upon the respondents.

Heaton, J.

3. I agree. It looks at first sight very much as if we were reversing the decree of the First Appeal Court on question of fact, but in reality it is not so. The only difference is as to the legal aspect of consideration The Judge below found that there was a dispute between the parties, that there was a reference to arbitration although that reference may not have been formal and regular; and that there was a pronouncement by the arbitrators, which at any rate for the sake of convenience he calls an award. And though this may not have been an award of which the law will take account as a binding award, yet it was followed by something further. It was signed by one of the parties in token of acceptance; and it was delivered to and accepted by the other. Therefore, it seems to me that on the facts found there was a compromise accepted by both the parties. There certainly was consideration, because the quieting of possible law suits is a consideration, and often a very valuable consideration and certainly a consideration which might often be sufficiently in the interests of the minor to bind him in the transactions which are actually carried out by the manager of the family to which he belonged. I think the facts actually found by the District Judge show that there was consideration enough to justify the compromise and also to justify our holding that the interests of the minor defendant were properly and legitimately bound by this compromise.


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