1. The suit was brought by one Olati Pulliah to recover possession of certain properties which belonged to his father's elder brother Olati Lakshmiah. Lakshmiah died in 1892 leaving a will. It is the plaintiff's case, that under that will the testator's adopted grandson Kuppiah and his widowed daughter-in-law Ranganaikammal took a joint life interest in the properties left by him, and that on the death of Kuppiah without any issue in April 1893 Ranganaikammal took the whole property only, as a tenant for life; that in any event the will did not give her anything more than a widow's estate under Hindu Law; and on her death, therefore, in April 1904, the plaintiff and his deceased father Veeriah became entitled to the property left by Lakshmiah.
2. The defendants who claim under a will executed by Ranganaikammal answer that it is not open to the plaintiff to rely upon the will as the nature of the interest taken by her under it was in dispute in a suit brought by her against the plaintiff's father Veeriah to which the plaintiff was also made a party, and the dispute was settled by a razinamah between the parties which was Embodied in the decree passed in that suit.
3. They also deny that Ranganaikammal took only a widow's interest as alleged by the plaintiffs. That suit, C.S. No. 124 of 1894, was brought by Ranganaikammal as the 'sole owner of the whole' of the testator's property under his will with the exception of a certain portion left for charity, against the plaintiff's father and a son-in-law of the testator who were her co-executors under the will, for a declaration that she had become 'solely entitled to and to the possession of the property ' and for other reliefs. These defendants denied her claim to the sole ownership. The parties having agreed to settle their disputes, the plaintiff, then a minor, and the daughter of the testator were made parties to the suit, and leave of the Court having been obtained to enter into the compromise on the plaintiffs' behalf, a razinamah was entered into by which the property in suit was acknowledged to be the absolute property of Ranganaikammal in accordance with the terms of the will; she also obtained the right of adoption, and in return she gave the plaintiff and his father a house and a sum of Rs. 3,500, and to the daughter of the testator a house and a sum of Rs. 1,000. She also agreed to pay to the plaintiff, as directed by the will, Rs. 500 for his marriage. A decree was passed in accordance with the terms of the razinamah, and a deed of release was also executed by the plaintiff and his father. After the death of Ranganaikammal and his father, the plaintiff now sues to recover possession from the respondents before this Court who claim under a will left by her.
4. The plaintiff alleged that the razinamah is invalid for misrepresentation and coercion. Mr. Justice Boddam disbelieved the evidence to prove the same, and we see no reason to differ from him on that point.
5. Mr. Justice Boddam also held that the estate given to Ranganaikammal by the will was a widow's estate only; if it is open to us to go into that question we should be inclined to take the same view; but we have no doubt that this case is one of compromise of a doubtful right.
6 There is a bequest of half the property to Ranganaikammal, and the other half to the adopted grandson Kuppiah Chetty and, on the death of either of them, the survivor was to take that share and under Section 82 of the Indian Succession Act, Ranganaikammal was, therefore, on the death of Kuppiah Chetti, entitled to take the whole interest, of the testator, unless it appeared that only a restricted interest was intended, for her. The provision that she was to take in a certain event Rs. 40 per mensem for her maintenance and that her jewels were to go on her death not to her heirs but to Kuppiah is, no doubt, a strong indication that the testator intended that she should take only a widow's estate. But in the face of the other provisions referred to, it is impossible to say that the claim was not bona fide or that it was frivolous or vexatious.
7. Ranganaikammal's claim under the will was thus brought, into controversy in a Court of Justice; by way of compromise her full ownership was recognized by the plaintiff and his father, who received valuable properties for such recognition. Can they now turn round and repudiate the entire transactions for the purpose of claiming those properties on the ground that she was not the full owner?
8. As the right must always be on the one side or the other, the fact that the right is on his side is not by itself sufficient for a party to set aside a compromise entered into by him on the supposition of a doubtful right. In the case before us there was no miserpresentation, no surprise. The terms of the compromise were under discussion for many days. Counsel's opinion was taken on both sides. The compromise was sanctioned by Mr. Justice Subrahmanya Aiyar in the interests of the plaintiff who was then a minor. About a year after the compromise, the plaintiff and his father executed a release deed in pursuance of its terms; they got a house and a sum of Rs. 3,500 from the widow in consideration of their acknowledgment other full ownership under the will. She paid another sum of Rs. 1,000 to the daughter as a part of the same transaction. The plaintiff's father never repudiated the transaction, and it is repudiated by the plaintiff only many years afterwards after the widow's death, when it has become impossible to restore the parties to their former position.
9. Under these circumstances, we have no doubt that the plaintiff is bound by the razinamah unless, as contended on his behalf, the razinamah and the decree are illegal and void.
10. It is argued before us that on the true construction of the will Runganaikammal took only a widow's interest in the property, and as the interest of the plaintiff's father in the property was at the date of the compromise only a chance of succession, the razinamah should be treated as effecting a transfer of such interest to the widow; that such a chance or mere possibility being incapable of transfer by virtue of Section 6(a) of the Transfer of Property Act, such transfer is illegal and invalid, and as the Court cannot empower the parties to do what they are otherwise prohibited from doing on grounds of public policy ,the razinamah decree cannot be held to effect such transfer to the widow, and the cases of Ramasawmy Naicker v. Ramasawmy Chetti I.L.R. (1907) M. 256, Nagappa v. Venkata Row I.L.R. (1902) M. 265, Lakshmanasawmy Naidu v. Rungamma I.L.R. (1902) M. 31, and Rajah of Viziangaram v. Dantivada Chelliah I.L.R. (1904) M. 84 were relied upon.
11. It will be noticed that the argument proceeds upon the supposition that there was a transfer by the alleged reversioners of their chance of succession.
12. We are unable to agree to this view. The widow never acknowledged that the plaintiff or any body else had any reversionary interest in the property; she claimed full ownership herself. The plaintiff and his father never purported to convey-any interest to her for the very good reason that they admitted they had no reversionary interest.
13. The razinamah and the decree in terms state that Ranganaikammal is to have absolute powers as regards the estate of the deceased Lakshmiah 'which is the absolute property of the plaintiff (widow) in accordance with the terms of the will.' These words rebut the idea of any transfer of any reversionary right by the plaintiff and his father by distinctly negativing the existence of any such right in them.
14. The acceptance of the release deed in this case is not an acknowledgment that any right existed in the releasor. The words in Exhibit M, the release deed, on the other hand distinctly allege that the full ownership vested in the widow under the will.
15. As Lord Redesdale observed in a similar case about a release: 'It amounts only to this. I give you so much for not seeking to disturb me.' Underwood v. Courtown (Lord.) (1804) 2 Sc 68.
16. The cases cited, which would only apply if there was a transfer by the revevsioners, do not, therefore, apply.
17. There is, of course, nothing illegal in a widow acquiring full ownership in any property under a will; and a razinamah or decree recognising that right is therefore, not illegal.
18. We agree with the learned Judge, therefore, in his view of the compromise and disallow this contention.
19. The decree is confirmed, and the appeal is dismissed with the costs of the respondents, the Trustees of Pachaiyappa's Charities.