1. S.A. No. 1645 of 1908.
2. The plaintiff is the son of Devaraja Aiyar, who died in the year 1850, leaving a widow named Ponnammal. He had another son Sivarama Aiyar who predeceased him in 1843. Sivarama Aiyar had a son, Devaraja Aiyar by name, who died in 1851. The plaintiff now claims to recover the property as the reversioner of this Devaraja Aiyar as his brother's son, alleging that the cause of action arose on the death of Devaraja Aiyar's mother, Mangalathammall, who obtained possession of the property on Devaraja Aiyar's death and died in the year 1905. The defendants are the parsons who claim under various alienations made by Mangalathammal. One of the questions raised for decision is whether Mangalathammal had become the absolute owner of the properties which are in the possession of of these defendants, under a compromise. Exhibit VIII, or whether she had only a widow's interest in the estate.
3. Some years before plaintiff's father, Devaraja Aiyar's death, there was a partition entered into between him, his son, the plaintiff and his daughter-in-law, Mangalathammal, acting as the guardian of her minor son, Devaraja Aiyar. Each of them took a 1/3rd share in the family property. The partition-deed also recites that on the death of the plaintiff's father, Devaraja Aiyar, his property was to be divided equally between the plaintiff and his brother's son, Devaraja. Six years afterwards, in 1859, a fresh arrangement was come to, by which the arrangement of 1844 was modified. Devaraja Aiyar died in 1850. Disputes arose between the parties immediately after and a suit (O. Section 726 of 1851) was filed by Ponnammal (widow of Devaraja Aiyar) in the Diwani Adawlut Court of Kumbakonam against her daughter-in-law, Mangalathammal and certain others. She set out the partition of 1844 as well as the partition of 1850 and stated that when she came to know of this arrangement of 1850, she represented that the arrangement was unfair, as it did not provide for the performance of various ceremonies of her son and she alleged in the plaint that when her husband was about to die he acknowledged in presence of mediators that the deed of partition executed by him was inequitable and that the properties should, upon her son's attaining the age of majority, be divided into two equal shares. She alleged that these defendants had taken illegal possession of these properties, that the deed of partition was void, that her daughter-in-law was entitled only to maintenance and not entitled to any property and that she was entitled to recover possession of those properties which she was not in possession of. What Mangalathammal's contention in that suit was does not appear. All the evidence that is relied on by the plaintiff to prove what her contention was, is Exhibit XXIII, which is a statement filed by Ponnammal in that suit itself in reply to the written statement of Mangalathammal. That statement does not show what Mangalathammal's contentions were. In the course of that suit, a razinamah, Exhibit VIII, was put in by the parties. It refers to the death of Devaraja Aiyar after the partition of the 18th July 1850 and it states that Mangalathammal '1st defendant herself, shall with rights of every kind and with competency to alienate by way of gift, sale or otherwise enjoy the properties that fell to the share of the said Devarajan under the said deed of partition and list,' and it gives similar rights to the plaintiff therein on behalf of Annasami Aiyar. By that document Mangalathammal also undertook to pay to the plaintiff therein through court Rs. 115 for meeting the marriage expenses of her son, Annasami. The main question in the suit is whether this compromise (Exhibit VIII) gives the properties referred to therein to Mangalathammal absolutely. On behalf of the defendants it is contended that it was a family arrangement between the members of a Hindu family and that it settled the disputes which had been raised between the parties and it should not now be re-opened at this distance of time. On behalf of the plaintiff it is contended that the compromise gives Mangalathammal no more than what was given to her by the deed of the 18th July 1850 in the properties, that she took only a life interest in them, i.e., the interest of a Hindu widow and that for her acquisition of the absolute interest in the properties there was really no consideration. But as we have already pointed out, it does not appear what Mangalathammal's contentions were in that case. Nor does it appear whether the properties of which she obtained possesssion were one-half of the properties left by Devaraja Aiyar, the plaintiff's father. It also appears that she paid Rs. 115, which she was not bound to pay, for meeting the expenses of the plaintiff's marriage. If in that suit she claimed one-half of the properties in dispute and she claimed not only a widow's interest in such properties but an absolute interest with right to alienate by way of gift or sale or in any other form, th?n it is difficult to say that the compromise was not in settlement of claims advanced in that suit. In that view she must have given up a portion of the properties to which she laid claim and paid a sum of Rp. 115. in consideration of Ponnammal recognising her absolute interest in the properties which were finally given to her. It is true that there is no direct evidence in the case of what the scope of the litigation was or what her contentions were; but the deed of compromise itself, by recognising in her such rights, is evidence that she claimed those rights. The plaintiff's pleader contends that the deeds of partition of 1844 and 1850 did not recognise such a claim and that she did not put forward any claim which was not recognised by those partition-deeds. But in judging of the validity of a compromise we are not entitled to enquire into the right of parties as they stood before the compromise to see whether the compromise has recognised them; we are only entitled to enquire whether the claims advanced by either side were bona fide and whether the compromise really was in settlement of such claims. Every compromise may involve the giving up of certain claims to which a party may be lightly entitled and the acquisition of interests to which he may have no claim. But if such compromise is a settlement of disputes advanced bona fide, then, prima facie, it ought to be upheld. And this reason applies with greater force in cases of family settlement where the peace of the family is involved. Further, taking into consideration that more than 50 years have elapsed after the date of the compromise and Mangalathammal is now dead, we shall not be justified in presuming that the contentions advanced by Mangalathammal did not involve claims justifying such a razinamah. We are therefore unable to say that the compromise is invalid for that reason.
4. It is then argued that though the compromise may be valid, Ponnammal had no authority to part with Annasamy's rights as his guardian. If Annasamy himself could have entered into a razinamah like this, we fail to see why Ponnammal acting as his guardian, could not have entered into it. It is possible that Ponnammal might have got on his behalf more property than he would have been entitled to get. She certainly got Rs. 115 of which presumably he had the benefit. She has not parted with Annasami's right of inheritance to Devaraja Aiyar, as was contended for by the respondent's pleader. We disallow this contention. We hold accordingly that the Razinamah (Exhibit VIII)is binding on the plaintiff and that therefore he is precluded from contending that the deceased Mangalathammal was not the full owner of the properties therein referred to with power to alienate. She acquired such power under that compromise. The alienation made by her cannot therefore be impeached by t he plaintiff on the grounds alleged.
5. The decree is reversed and the suit is dismissed with costs throughout, against the appellants, (defendants) Nos. 7 to 10.