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S.Rm.Ar.S.Sp. Sathappa Chettiar Vs. Ar.Rm. Umayal Achi and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1959)2MLJ300
AppellantS.Rm.Ar.S.Sp. Sathappa Chettiar
RespondentAr.Rm. Umayal Achi and anr.
Cases ReferredVenkatagiri Nayani v. Subbarayulu Nayani
Excerpt:
- ordersubrahmanyam, j.1. the petitioner, as plaintiff, instituted c.s. no. 311 of 1951 on the file of this court. it was dismissed on 22nd september, 1953, by ramaswami goundar, j., sitting on the original side of this court. the petitioner's appeal from that judgment and decree, viz-, o.s.a. no. 2 of 1958, was dismissed by us sitting as a division bench of this court on 23rd january, 1959. the petitioner applies that a certificate be granted to him under article 133 of the constitution to enable him to appeal to the supreme court from the judgment and decree pronounced in o.s.a. no. 2 of 1958.2. article 133(1) of the constitution (so far as material) is in these terms:article 133(1).--an appeal shall lie to the supreme court from any judgment, decree or final order in a civil proceeding.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Subrahmanyam, J.

1. The petitioner, as plaintiff, instituted C.S. No. 311 of 1951 on the file of this Court. It was dismissed on 22nd September, 1953, by Ramaswami Goundar, J., sitting on the Original Side of this Court. The petitioner's appeal from that judgment and decree, viz-, O.S.A. No. 2 of 1958, was dismissed by us sitting as a Division Bench of this Court on 23rd January, 1959. The petitioner applies that a certificate be granted to him under Article 133 of the Constitution to enable him to appeal to the Supreme Court from the judgment and decree pronounced in O.S.A. No. 2 of 1958.

2. Article 133(1) of the Constitution (so far as material) is in these terms:

Article 133(1).--An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court from any judgment, decree or final order in a civil proceeding of a High Court in the territory of India if the High Court certifies--

(a) that the amount or value of the subject-matter of the dispute in the Court of first instance and still in dispute on appeal was and is not less than twenty thousand rupees...or

(b) ...or

(c) that the case is a fit one for appeal to the Supreme Court;

and where the judgment, decree or final order appealed from affirms the decision of the Court immediately below in any case other than a case referred to in Sub-clause (c), if the High Court further certifies that the appeal involves some substantial question of law.

3. It is beyond question that the amount or value of the subject-matter of the dispute in the Court of first instance and still in dispute on appeal was and is not less than Rs. 20,000. Petitioner's learned Counsel says that that fact is by itself sufficient to enable him to appeal to the Supreme Court against the judgment in O.S.A. No. 2 of 1958 and requests us to say so. His contention is that, although the judgment affirmed the decision of Ramaswami Goundar, J., his decision cannot be said to be the decision of the Court immediately below the Court constituted by the Division Bench of the High Court and that, therefore, it is not necessary for the petitioner to have a further certificate that the appeal involves some substantial question of law. If, on the other hand, we take the view that the High Court on its Original Side should be regarded as a Court immediately below the High Court on the Appellate Side, the petitioner's learned Counsel requests that we certify that the appeal he proposes to institute involves a substantial question of law.

4. The first question for decision is whether the High Court on its Original Side, when a single Judge presides over it, is a Court immediately below the High Court on its Appellate Side for the purposes of Article 133(1) of the Constitution. From the decision of a single Judge sitting on the Original Side of the High Court, a party aggrieved has a right of appeal to the High Court under Clause 15 of the Letters Patent. But, notwithstanding that incident of the appeal ability of his judgment to the Appellate Side of the High Court, the Court over which a Judge sitting on ' the Original Side presides is the High Court and not a Court other than the Court which hears the appeal from his decision. All the powers of the High Court as a Court of Record and as the highest Court in the State are his when he presides over the Original Side in no less a measure than when he presides on the Appellate Side. Since the High Court on the Original Side and the High Court on the Appellate Side form together the High Court, there is no room, technically speaking, for the application of the words ' Court below ' in regard to the trial of a suit in the High Court and the appeal from the decision to the High Court. The division into ' original' and ' appellate ' is a division by a vertical, and not by a horizontal line. But it is nonetheless true that the High Court trying a suit on the Original Side is the Court of first instance in relation to that litigation. Article 133(1)(a) uses the words ' the Court of first instance '. The latter part of Article 133(1) uses the words ' the Court immediately below '. While the High Court on the Original Side cannot be said, in the ordinary sense of those words, to be immediately below the High Court on the Appellate Side, the High Court may properly be said to be at the same time the Court of first instance and the Court of appeal. The point for decision thus resolves itself into whether, in relation to the Original Side of the High Court, the expression, ' the Court immediately below' in Article 133(1) should not be construed as the equivalent of ' the Court of first instance ' occurring in the same Article.

5. One of the cardinal principles of construction is that the

words of a statute, when there is a doubt about their meaning, are to be understood in the sense in which they best harmonise with the subject of the enactment and the object which the Legislature has in view ' Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes Cloth edn.) page 52.

In construing the provisions of a Constitution, particularly, the principle, viz-, that the object to be achieved should be constantly kept in mind, is of overriding-importance. It is on that principle that several guide-posts in the field of constitutional law--the doctrine, for example, of ' the pith and substance of an enactment ' with a view to decide under what category of subjects of legislation the enactment falls stand firmly rooted. As one writer put sit, the thing to do in construing the words used in a Constitution is 'to pick out the properties which the words connote.'

6. Let us consider the object sought to be achieved by the clause in Article 133(1) which provides that, if the judgment appealed from affirms the decision of the Court below, the High Court should certify that the appeal involves some substantial question of law. Obviously, the authors of the Constitution consider that, if the trial Judge and the Division Bench of the High Court sitting in appeal, arrive at concurrent findings on the matters in issue, there should be no appeal to the Supreme Court unless a substantial question of law is involved. In regard to suits tried on the Original Side of the High Court, that object would be defeated if we hold that the trial Judge cannot be regarded as a Court immediately below the High Court on the Appellate Side. In the case before us, the suit instituted by the plaintiff might have been instituted in the Court of the Subordinate Judge, Deva kottai. If he had done so and the Subordinate Judge had pronounced judgment dismissing the suit and a Division Bench of this Court affirmed the decision of the Subordinate Judge, there could be no further appeal to the Supreme Court unless the High Court certified that the appeal involved some substantial question of law. But the suit was instituted and tried on the Original Side on the High Court. If we place on the words ' the Court immediately below ' their ordinary meaning, and hold that the Court on the Original Side is not a Court below the High Court on the Appellate Side, there would be a right of appeal to the Supreme Court from the judgment pronounced by the Division Bench, notwithstanding that the appeal may not involve any substantial question of law. That is to say, concurrent findings recorded by a Judge on the Original Side and by Judges constituting a Division Bench would be of less significance than concurrent findings recorded by a Subordinate Judge and Judges constituting a Division Bench. That is a clear indication that, in this case, we should look not at the plain meaning of the words used but at the properties which the words connote. In relation to a suit tried on the Original Side of the High Court, what is material is that the Court is a Court of first instance. That it is not a Court below the Court of appeal is an accidental circumstance. On principle, therefore, it seems to us that the words ' the Court immediately below ' in relation to the High Court on the Original Side, when it is presided over by a single Judge, are the equivalent of the words 'the Court of first instance' occurring in the same article, and that, for the purposes of that Article, the High Court on the Original Side, when it is presided over by a single Judge, should be regarded as the Court immediately below the High Court on the Appellate Side.

7. Were the matter historically considered, the conclusion, in our opinion, would be the same. The Privy Council did not entertain appeals from judgments of High Courts in cases where such judgments affirmed the decision of the trial judge on the Original Side of the High Courts in what were then the Presidency Towns of Madras, Bombay and Calcutta. In Tulsi Per sad Bhakt v. Benavek Misser the Privy Council had to consider an appeal preferred from the decree of the High Court of Calcutta on the Appellate Side. In holding that the appeal could not be entertained, their Lordships said:

Their Lordships think that no question of law, either as to construction of documents or any other point, arises on the judgment of the High Court, and that there are concurrent findings of the two Courts below on the oral and documentary evidence submitted to them.

Neither in the argument of the appellant's counsel nor in the judgment of their Lordships was any doubt cast on the proposition that the High Court, in trying the suit on the Original Side, was the Court immediately below the High Court on the Appellate Side which decided the appeal. In Probhawati v. Panmal 45 C.W.N. 1002 a Bench of the Calcutta High Court considered an application for leave to appeal to the Privy Council from a judgment of the High Court which had affirmed the decision of the High Court on its Original Side presided over by McNair, J. The petitioner's counsel argued that the High Court was one Court and, therefore, there was no such thing as a Court immediately below the Appellate Bench of the Court. In regard to that argument, Derbyshire, C.J., said:

That is a new argument to me and it seems to me that it is contrary to the usage that has prevailed with regard to the word ' Court' in this particular respect. For instance, in the case of Abdul Rahman v. D.K. Cassim and sons (1932) 64 M.L.J. 307 : L.R. 60 IndAp 76 Sir George Lowndes, referring to the Rangoon High Court, said:

It does not appear, however, to have been objected before the Appellate Court that the question was not open to the first Respondent, or that they had ceased to be parties to the suit before the decree of the trial Judge was made, and their Lordships are not prepared now to take any account of the very apparent irregularities in the trial Court.The ' trial Court' is clearly the Court below the Appellate Court and I see no reason why Mr. Justice McNair, sitting as he was, was not the Court immediately below the Bench which has heard the appeal from him.

That being so and the order appealed from being one of affirmance, and no question of law arising (because in each case the Court exercised its discretion upon the facts which were before it in determining the amount in respect of the marriage), I am of the opinion that no certificate of fitness for leave to appeal to His Majesty in Council can be granted in this case. The application is, therefore, dismissed with costs.

The Constituent Assembly, when it framed the Constitution, knew that, in relation to judgments pronounced on the Original side of the High Court, it had been held that the High Court on the Original Side was the Court immediately below the Court on the Appellate Side. The inference is that the Constituent Assembly intended in regard to suits heard on the Original Side of the High Court that the expression ' the Court immediately below' in Article 133(1) of the Constitution should include the High Court in the exercise of its Original Jurisdiction.

8. The proposition that, for the purposes of Article 133(1) of the Constitution, the High Court on the Original Side is a Court immediately below the Court on the Appellate Side does not by any means entail the consequence that the High Court on the Original Side is a Court subordinate to the High Court on the Appellate Side, or that the orders passed by the High Court on the Original Side are liable 10 be revised or otherwise interfered with in the exercise of the revisional or supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 227 of the Constitution or Section 115 of the Civil Procedure Code. The legal position on that matter is, if we may say with respect, clearly explained in Sahaba Reddy v. Venkata Reddy and In re A.K.D. Rangaswami Raja and Anr (1957) 1 M.L.J. 364.

9. Our finding that the High Court on the Original Side, is, for the purposes of Article 133(1), a Court immediately below the High Court on the Appellate Side is based substantially on the view that, in relation to the High Court, the words ' the Court immediately below ' should be construed as the equivalent of the words ' the Court of first instance ' used in the same Article. That argument would not be applicable to a judgment pronounced in appeal by a Judge of the High Court sitting singly. In such a case, there may be an appeal to a Divisional Bench of the High Court. Although that question does not arise in the present petition, we think it necessary to state that our finding that the High Court on the Original Side, when presided over by a single Judge, is the Court immediately below the High Court on the Appellate Side, does not involve the further proposition that the High Court, when presided over by a single Judge and exercising its Appellate Jurisdiction, would be a Court immediately below the Division Bench of the High Court, to which an appeal may be preferred from the appellate judgment of the single Judge. On that question, we find ourselves, with respect, in complete agreement with the views expressed in Dabendra Nath Das v. Bibudhendra Mansingh I.L.R. (1915) Cal. 90 and by Din Mohammad and Abdur Rahman, JJ., in Sk. Wahid-ud-din v. Makhan Lal A.I.R. 1944 Lah. 458. Where, in a litigation, the High Court is at once the Court of first instance and the Court of appeal, there is no other Court which may be considered to be the Court immediately below the High Court. In such a case, the object sought to be achieved by Article 133 requires us to hold that the expression ' the Court immediately below ' includes the High Court on the Original Side. But, where a single Judge of the High Court hears an appeal from a subordinate Court there is that other Court which is immediately below the High Court, and the reason for holding that a single Judge sitting on the Original Side is immediately below the Division Bench on the Appellate Side disappears. The correct thing in that case is to regard the words ' the Court immediately below ' as connoting the properties of separateness and subordination and as referring only to the Court from whose judgment an appeal is preferred to the High Court.

10. On the question whether a Judge sitting singly exercising appellate jurisdiction represents a Court immediately below the Division Bench which hears an appeal from his judgment, a view different from the views expressed in Dabendra Nath Das v. Bibudhendra Mansingh (1915) I.L.R. 43 Cal. 90 and Sk. Wahid-ud-din v. Makhan Lal A.I.R. 1944 Lah. 458 was expressed by the Nagpur High Court in Kishanlal v. Vithal A.I.R. 1956 Nag. 276. Although, as we said, the question does not arise directly on this application, we are in agreement with the views expressed by the Calcutta and the Lahore High Courts, and are unable, with respect, to agree with the view taken by the Nagpur High Court. In Deoki Nandan v. State of Uttar Pradesh : AIR1959All10 a view directly opposed to ours has been taken. We have considered that judgment with care and are unable, with respect, to agree with the views expressed therein.

11. We hold that, for the purposes of Article 133(1) of the Constitution, the High Court on the Original Side presided over by a single Judge is the Court immediately below the High Court on the Appellate Side.

12. The question then arises whether the proposed appeal involves some substantial question of law. Far from there being any substance, we are clearly of opinion that a bare statement of the facts would make it apparent that the plaintiff's suit is woven out of the flimsiest gossamer.

13. In 1930, the plaintiff's father, Subbiah Chettiar, instituted O.S. No. 33 of 1930 on the file of the Sub-Judge, Devakottai, praying for partition and separate possession of a half share of the properties which belonged to the S. BN. AR. estate. He valued the estate at Rs. 30,00,000. The half share claimed was, on that estimate, worth Rs. 15,00,000. The defendant in that suit was Ramanathan Chettiar, the son of Ramaswami. Ramaswami Chettiar was the youngest of three brothers, Sathappa, Veerappa and Ramaswami. Sathappa had died in 1876; Veerappa in 1896; and Ramaswami died in 1915. Sathappa and Veerappa had died issueless, while Ramaswami left a son about four years old. He was the defendant in O.S. No. 33 of 1930. Subbiah Chettiar claimed that Sathappa's widow, Lakshmi Achi, had adopted him as her and her deceased husband's son in 1922. That was a legitimate suit to bring. Ramanatha's defence was that the adoption was not true, and, if true, was not valid. Invalidity arose, according to Ramanatha, firstly, because there was alive at that time one Annamalai who had been validly adopted by Lakshmi Achi in 1888, and, secondly, because, for an adoption made by a widow without the authority of her husband who died as a member of a joint Hindu family, the consent of the surviving co-parcener is necessary, and because Ramanatha was a minor at the time of the alleged adoption of Subbiah, there could be no valid consent by any co-parcener. Those were legitimate defences to raise. O.S. No. 33 of 1930 was, beyond all doubt, one of those suits which our Courts are established to receive and try. The suit was duly tried. Judgment was pronounced by the Subordinate Judge in November, 1934, holding that Subbiah had been validly adopted by Lakshmi Achi in 1922 and declaring that he was entitled to a half share in the properties described in the plaint.

14. Against that judgment, Ramanatha preferred A.S. No. 16 of 1935 on the file of this Court. That appeal ended in a decree passed on a compromise. Under the compromise, Subbiah was given properties and moneys of the value of a little over Rs. 10,00,000, and he, on his part, agreed that Ramanatha would be entitled exclusively to the entire S. RM. AR. estate and that Subbiah would accordingly execute a deed releasing all claims to the estate on behalf of himself and his minor son, the plaintiff in this litigation. The parties agreed further that the question regarding the truth and validity of Subbiah's alleged adoption need not be decided in that litigation. The compromise was recorded. The decree passed by the Subordinate Judge in O.S. No. 33 of 1930 was set aside and a decree was passed in terms of the compromise. Ramanatha paid and delivered to Subbiah properties and funds of the value of over Rs. 10,00,000 as stated in the compromise, and Subbiah for himself and as guardian of his minor son, executed a deed of release in favour of Ramanatha.

15. The terms on which the appeal A.S. No. 16 of 1935 should, if possible, be compromised has been engaging Subbiah's attention from the summer of 1935. The compromise ultimately arrived at has been found by the trial Judge, and in the appeal, to have been a compromise entered into in good faith, after adequate thought and attention had been bestowed by Subbiah on the plaintiff's interests as well as his (Subbiah's) own.

16. It is now necessary to tell the plaintiff's interesting story as to how his claim arises. It appears that the plaintiff is a member of a joint Hindu family with Ramanatha and that the plaintiff's father (Subbiah) got himself divided from that joint family by the compromise and the decree in A.S. No. 16 of 1935 receiving lands and properties of the value of about Rs. 10,00,000 for his (Subbiah's) exclusive, individual benefit. Propounding that theory, the plaintiff claims a half share in the properties in Ramanatha's possession. Except that one has seen that case typed out in the form of a plaint, it would be hard to believe that a case of that kind would ever the presented to a Court of law.

17. O.S. No. 33 of 1930 was filed in March, 1930. Assuming that Subbiah had been validly adopted by Lakshmi Achi in 1922, as her and her deceased husband's son and had thereby become a member of a joint Hindu family with Ramanatha, Subbiah became divided in status from Ramanatha by the institution of that suit. The plaintiff was born in October, 1930. Since, on the assumption that Subbiah had been validly adopted by Lakshmi, he and Ramanatha were at the time of the plaintiff's birth divided members of the S. RM. AR. family. The plaintiff could not at the same time be joint in status with Subbiah and be joint in status with Ramanatha. One cannot imagine that the plaintiff himself believes that, when he was born, he was born joint in status with Ramanatha and divided in status from his father. Since, at the time of his birth, the plaintiff was joint in status with his father, he was undoubtedly born divided in status from Ramanatha. Subbiah had claimed in O.S. No. 33 of 1930 a half share in the properties of the S. RM. AR. estate. That half, surely, did not belong to Subbiah individually, to the exclusion of the joint family consisting of himself and his son. The Subordinate Judge decreed the half share. That half share belonged to the joint family consisting of the plaintiff and his father, Subbiah. There was then a compromise which, on its terms, was entered into by Subbiah on behalf of himself and his son (the plaintiff). By no process known to human experience or to law could that compromise effect a separation between Subbiah and the plaintiff or enable Subbiah to carry away for his own individual and exclusive benefit the properties and funds of the value of over Rs. 10,00,000 which he received under the compromise and the decree, or cause the plaintiff to become joint in status with Ramanatha. Yet, that is the bottom of the plaintiff's case. Since the bottom is illusory, the case has no substance in it.

18. The plaintiff desires that the issue whether his father had been validly adopted by Lakshmi Achi should be heard and decided in this litigation. He, along with his father, is having the benefit of the funds and properties of the value of about Rs. 10,00,000 which the joint family consisting of the father and son received under the compromise and the decree in A.S. No. 16 of 1935. Let us suppose that the issue as to the adoption is tried in this litigation and it is found that the adoption is not true, or, if true, is not valid. Then, justice would require, that the plaintiff should lose at any rate his half share of the properties and funds which he and his father acquired as a result of the compromise and the decree. But he has deliberately refrained from impleading his father as a party and expressly claims that the funds and properties acquired as a result of the compromise are the father's exclusive property. The result would be that, if the adoption is found against, Ramanatha and his successors would still have lost what they gave. On the other hand, if the adoption is found to be true and valid, the plaintiff would gain something more. ' Tails you lose, heads I win', is not a game that is played in our Courts. If the plaintiff frankly avowed that he and his father are members of a joint Hindu family, but that the compromise and the decree, though they might be binding on his father, are not binding on him (the plaintiff) and that he is, therefore, entitled to partition and separate possession of a fourth share in the family properties, and if the plaintiff, making his father a party to this litigation, subjected his (the plaintiff's) half share in the properties already obtained by the compromise and the decree, to the risk of being lost in the event of the alleged adoption being found either not true or not valid, the plaintiff would be instituting a suit of a kind known to law.

19. The argument pressed on us over and over again is that the truth and validity of Subbiah's alleged adoption has been expressly left undecided in A.S. No. 16 of 1935 and that that question remains, therefore, open for decision in this litigation. What the argument overlooks is that, in every compromise in a suit or an appeal, material questions are left undecided. That does not involve the proposition that a party to a decree based on the compromise could institute a fresh suit to have such questions decided. Even in the case of an ordinary suit on a promissory note, if the defendant, the alleged maker of the promissory note denies execution, and there is a compromise by which the defendant pays the plaintiff a portion of the sum claimed in settlement of the claim, and the plaintiff agrees to have the suit dismissed, the question whether the promissory note is genuine and supported by consideration is left undecided. For that reason, the plaintiff or the junior members of the joint Hindu family for whose benefit the suit was instituted, cannot institute a fresh suit and claim to have questions relating to the genuineness of the promissory note heard and decided. Provided the compromise was entered into in good faith and was reasonable from the point of view of the junior members, the compromise and the decree would bar, on the principle of res judicata, a fresh suit with reference to the same subject-matter.

20. In view, however, of the persistence with which the question was argued before us, undoubtedly with great ability, it is perhaps necessary that we explain the position further by means of an illustration. Let us suppose that A for himself and as manager of the joint family consisting of himself and his sons institutes a suit against B and C. The suit is for the recovery of properties, which, according to A, had been purchased in B's name with the funds of the family and for the benefit of the family, and which B had dishonestly alienated in favour of C. Let us suppose that C pleads that it is not true that the properties were purchased in B's name benami for A and the members of his family and that, in any event, C is a purchaser for value and without notice of A's title or claim. Let us suppose that the Court holds that it is unnecessary to decide whether the properties had been purchased by A for the benefit of his family in the name of B and that the Court decides only the other question and finds that C was purchaser for value and in good faith without notice of the title or claim of A. On that finding, the Court dismisses the suit and the decision becomes final. Is it, thereafter, open to a junior member of the family to institute a fresh suit asking for a decision on the question whether the properties had been purchased by A with the funds of the family and for the benefit of the family benami in B's name Nobody would deny that the answer is, ' No. '. That, it may be said, is an obvious case, because the Court has expressly decided that the decision on the issue of the benami nature of the purchase was unnecessary for the determination of the rights claimed in the suit in relation to the properties. Now, let us take the other case. Let us suppose that the suit is not disposed of after trial but that A, B and C enter into a compromise in which they say expressly that the question relating to the benami character of the purchase in B's name may be left undecided and that, since C has given, and A, on behalf of himself and the junior members of his family, has accepted, funds and properties roughly equal in value to two-thirds of the properties described in the plaint in satisfaction of the claim made in the suit, the suit may be dismissed. Let us suppose that the Court accepts the compromise and dismisses the suit and that A duly accepts on behalf of the family funds and properties as stated in the compromise. Let us suppose further that, in view of the doubtful nature of the claim and the unpredictability of the decision that the Courts might eventually give on the issues involved, the compromise is fair and reasonable from the point of not merely of A but also of his undivided sons. Could the undivided sons thereafter institute a suit with reference to the same subject-matter and ask for a decision on the issue regarding the character of the purchase in B's name on the ground that the question of the character of the purchase had, by the compromise, been expressly left undecided The answer must be, ' No. '. A material issue in a case might be left undecided by the Court when it gives its judgment after trial, because it considers the decision of that issue not necessary for the determination of the suit. In such a case, the Court's finding that the decision of the question is not necessary for the determination of the suit is conclusive between the parties. Similarly, a material issue may be left undecided by the Court because the parties agree that it may be left undecided on the ground that the suit has otherwise been settled by a lawful compromise. In that event, against the parties' agreement that the issue be left undecided would bar, on the ground of res judicata, the trial of that issue in any subsequent litigation with reference to the same subject-matter. The only qualification is that the compromise entered into should be a lawful compromise and, where it affects persons other than the person who enters into the compromise, the compromise should have been entered into with adequate regard to their rights and interests, as well as his own. In the case before us, the parties agreed that the issue as to the adoption be left undecided. They entered into that agreement because the subject-matter of the suit was otherwise settled. Provided that settlement was fair and was entered into by Subbiah after he had adequately considered the plaintiff's interests as well as his own, the agreement that the decision of the issue was not necessary for the determination of the suit was an agreement that was conclusive on that matter. Neither Subbiah nor the plaintiff could, thereafter, claim that the decision of that issue was necessary for the determination of the rights of the joint family consisting of the plaintiff and Subbiah in the properties belongirg to the S. RM. AR. estate. So long as the compromise was within the power of Subbiah to enter into on behalf of himself and his undivided son, the decree passed on the compromise bars on the ground of res judicata the trial of any issue relating to the same subject-matter.

21. That a father and manager of a joint Hindu family has power to bind his minor sons by a bona fide compromise of disputed claims was declared in 1914 to be un-doubted law Please see Venkatagiri Nayani v. Subbarayulu Nayani (1914) 24 I.C. 491. On the facts, this Court held that the compromise entered into by Subbiah was a bonafide compromise of disputed claims. We are unable to see that any substantial question of law arises in the proposed appeal.

22. The alleged adoption was in 1922. Its validity depended in part on the truth and validity of an alleged adoption of 1888. Ramanatha, against whom the suit was instituted, is dead. The compromise was the result of thought and care bestowed over a period of years on the subject-matter of the litigation over which hundreds of thousands of rupees had been spent. We are happy that our conclusion would prevent this litigation from being fought any further from generation to generation.

23. The petition is dismissed. No costs.


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