1. This is a plaintiff's appeal arising out of a suit for pre-emption of an ostensible sale of 6th October 1925. The first Court decreed the claim, but the lower appellate Court has dismissed it. The latter Court has not expressed itself clearly in recording its findings which is the chief source of difficulty in this second appeal. But the facts found by it are clear enough and only one conclusion can be drawn from those facts. Mardan Singh the last owner died some 40 years ago and his widow Mt. Jeet Kunwar succeeded to the property. Jot Singh and others sued as the reversioners denying the widow's rights on the ground that she had not been legally married. The widow in her turn denied the relationship of the claimants. Without going into the question of the pedigree of the claimants the Court held that Mt. Jeet Kunwar had been the legally married wife of Mardan Singh. After this Mt. Jeet Kunwar remarried and yet continued in possession of the property for more than 12 years. From her second husband the contesting defendants were born. When Mt. Jeet Kunwar died, the representatives of the former claimants again put forward their claim as the next reversioners, but their relationship was disputed by the sons of Mt. Jeet Kunwar who further set up their own title based on her adverse possession. The lower appellate Court has distinctly found that it was not easy for the representatives of the former claimant to prove that they and Mardan Singh had been descended from a common ancestor, and has further found that the sons off Mt. Jeet Kunwar were honestly contesting the rights of the claimants to succeed to the property. He has also found that the value of the property was Rs. 1,3(SIC)0 but the defendants took a document which was ostensibly a sale-deed for Rs. 600 from the claimants, and before the deed was actually registered an application was filed by the claimants in the mutation Court that they had renounced all their rights. The learned Judge has further found that 'the sale was really a relinquishment of the rights of the claimants.' Having regard to all these findings there is no doubt that what the learned Judge meant by his opinion quoted above was that this transaction was not in reality a sale transaction but was a mere relinquishment; of the claim, that is to say, a settlement of the dispute between the parties.
2. The present plaintiff cannot pre-empt this property unless the transaction is one of sale. A bona fide settlement of doubtful claims is not a transfer of property at all but really a recognition of the title of the opposite party and an abandonment of all further claims to it. Such an arrangement cannot be considered a sale within the meaning of Section 54, T.P. Act. The mere fact that the registered document following upon the settlement took the form of a sale-deed is not by itself conclusive. In this view of the matter the transaction was not pre-emptable at all. The vendees were setting up their own title and in order to estop the claimants from farther trouble paid them Rs. 600 and took a document from them in the garb of a sale-deed. This in reality was a bona fide settlement of doubtful claims and not a sale. The decree of the lower appellate Court must therefore be affirmed. Having regard to the vagueness of the findings we think that the appeal was not a frivolous one and direct that the parties should bear their own costs of the appeal.