1. This is an application by the plaintiff in Small Cause Suit No. 97 of 1907 in the District Court of Nellore to revise the judgment of: the District Judge. The suit is to recover from the defendants a sum of Rs. 349-8-0 on a promissory-note executed by them in favour of the plaintiff in 1906. The defendants pleaded thaithere was no consideration for the note, that they had instituted a suit, Original Suit No. 281 of 1907, in the District Munsif's Court of Nellore, for the cancellation of the note, and that the suit was therefore not maintainable. It appears from the B From Diary that the suit was adjourned pending the decision of the Munsif in Original Suit No. 281 of 1907, and that after the Munsifs decision of the suit declaring the promissory -note not enforceable against the defendants, this suit was dismissed. The judgment of the District Judge states: 'Both parties represented in this Court that they would abide by the decree of the District Munsif of Nellore in Original Suit No. 281 of 1907 on his file in regard to the question raised in this case.' The question referred to in this sentence seems to be whet tier the promissory-note was unenforceable on the ground that it was not supported by any consideration. Unfortunately, there is no written record of the representation by the parties except what appears in the judgment. Nor are the parties agreed as to what exactly the representation was. The plaintiff says that the agreement between the parties was that the question in dispute should be decided in accordance with the final judgment of the matter in Original Suit No. 281 of 1907 on the file of the District Munsif of Nellore which was capable of being carried up on appeal to the District Court and finally to this Court. The defendants, on the other hand, contend that the decision of the District Munsif in Original Suit No. 281 of 1907 was to be accepted as binding between the parties in the Small Cause Court. In the view we take of the case we think it unnecessary to decide which of these statements is correct. It may be noted that the decision of the Munsif in Original Suit No. 281 of 1907 was reversed by the District Court on appeal and the promissory-note was held to be binding on the defendants; and the Second Appeal against the District Judge's judgment was dismissed by this Court.
2. The question argued in this revision petition at the hearing was, assuming that the plaintiff had originally represented that the case might be decided in accordance with the decision of the Munsif in Original Suit No. 281 of 1907, he thereby disentitled himself to ask subsequently and that it should be decided by the District Judge on the merits. We are not at present concerned with the question, what legal effect, apart from any agreement between the parties, the judgment of the Munsif in Original Suit No. 281 of 1907 or the final appellate judgment in that case would have upon the controversy in the small cause suit. We have come to the conclusion that the defendants were not entitled to insist on the representation originally made by the parties as a bar to the plaintiff's right to the trial of the small cause suit. The agreement in question cannot be regarded as an adjustment of the subject-matter of the suit by a lawful agreement or compromise. The agreement did not settle the dispute but postponed the settlement and purported to authorize the Court to settle it in a certain manner. A compromise has been defined as a mutual agreement between two or more persons at difference to put an end to such difference upon certain terms agreed upon. (Burrill's Dictionary, quoted in 8 American Cyclopaedia of Law and Procedure, page 501.) It must be an agreement which one of the parties can insist on the Court enforcing against the will of the other.
3. Can it be said in this case that one of the parties could insist on the Court postponing the small cause suit till the District Munsif s decision in Original Suit No. 281 of 1907? We think not. The ordinary rule is that, when the Court is 'seized' of a case, it has jurisdiction to decide it in the manner prescribed by law, and that parties have no right to interfere with its authority to do so. There are, no doubt, well understood exceptions to this rule, but where the exceptions do not apply, the rule must prevail. Notwithstanding the pendency of a suit, the parties may settle their disputes as they like by any lawful arrangement, and the Court is then bound to give effect to the settlement. Again, they may ask the Court to refer the questions in dispute to an arbitrator, in which case though the decision of the cause is primarily transferred to another tribunal, the Court still retains some control over the proceedings. The parties may also enter into an agreement making the oath of one of them conclusive evidence of all or any of the facts in issue between them. This again is subject to the control of the Court.
4. The present case does not fall within any of these exceptions-Our attention is not drawn to any rule or principle which would compel a party to adhere to any agreement by him that the suit may be decided in a manner different from that prescribed by law. For instance, we do not think that if a litigant agreed that the Judge might decide the suit in the manner that a certain individual might advise, such an agreement would bind him. In Rukhanbhai v. Adamji (1909) 33 Bom. 69, Beaman, J., held that an agreement that certain disputes relating to the accounts between the parties in the case should be decided by the Assistant Commissioner in a summary manner without going into formal evidence beyond the accounts, objections and surcharges filed before him, was not binding. The learned Judge observes that it did not amount to an adjustment or compromise and that the agreement not being in writing would not constitute a binding reference to arbitration. He elaborately discusses the question whether an agreement to refer to arbitration and to be bound by the award passed by an arbitrator can be treated as amounting to a compromise, and expresses his disinclination to accept as sound the decisions cited before him in support of the position that such an agreement would amount to an adjustment or compromise when an award has been passed by the arbitrator. We consider it unnecessary to express any opinion on this question, as it is clear that the agreement in the present case cannot be treated as a reference of the dispute in the small cause suit to the arbitration of the Munsif who was trying Original Suit No. 281 of 1907. In Moyan v. Pathukutti (1908) 31 Mad. 1, an agreement by the plaintiff to take a certain oath and to have his suit dismissed, if he failed to do so, was regarded as not binding on him. We hold that the agreement in question in this case did not deprive the plaintiff of his right to have the suit decided on the merits.
5. We therefore reverse the decision of the Judge and remand the suit to the District Munsif of Nellore to be disposed of by him according to law as a regular Original Suit. The costs of this petition will abide the result.