Thankerton, J. -
(1.) THE appellant, who attained majority in 1923, filed the present suit on June 12, 1926, seeking to set aside a compromise decree passed in 1912, by the High Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal. On January 25, 1932, the appellant's suit was dismissed for want of prosecution by a judgment and order of the High Court passed in its original jurisdiction (Lort Williams J.), which was affirmed on appeal by a judgment and order of the High Court dated July 11, 1932. Hence the present appeal.
(2.) THE litigation is concerned with the title to the Dumraon Raj, a large and important estate situated in the Shahabad District of the Province of Bihar and Orissa and other places, and ether properties pertaining to the Raj.
In 1894, the then Maharaja of Dumraon, Sir Radha Prasad Singh, died leaving no male issue, but leaving a widow, Maharani Beni Prasad Kuari, and a daughter. By an authority executed and registered in 1889, which he confirmed by his will, the Maharaja had empowered his widow to adopt a son to him. On his death, the widow took possession of the estate, and held it until her death on December 13, 1907, when it was claimed on the one hand by the present appellant, who maintained that he had been duly adopted by the widow on the day before her death, and, on the other hand, by Keshava Prasad Singh, who, failing such adoption, was the next person entitled to the estate, and was the first respondent in the present appeal, but has since died, his representatives being substituted in his place.
The Court of Wards, in exercise of its powers under Bengal Act IX of 1879. made the appellant, who was then five years old, a ward of Court and took possession of the estate on his behalf. Thereafter, in 1909, Keshava Prasad Singh instituted a suit in the Court of the Subordinate Judge of Shahabad to recover possession against the present appellant, J. B. Rutherford, manager under the Court of Wards, as his guardian ad litem, and the Collector of Shahabad, as representing the Court of Wards. After trial, the Subordinate Judge, on August 12, 1910, decided against the adoption and made a decree in favour of Keshava Prasad Singh awarding him possession with mesne profits and costs.
(3.) IN September 1910, J. A. M. Wilson, who had succeeded J. B. Rutherford as manager and guardian ad litem, obtained the leave of the High Court to prosecute an appeal against the decision of the Subordinate Judge. Thereafter the Court of Wards made over the estate to Keshava Prasad Singh, the latter furnishing security in Court. Mr. Rutherford became manager under the latter, and Angus Ogilvy was thereafter appointed guardian ad litem to the present appellant. The appeal came on for hearing before the High Court in April 1912, but it was adjourned on a suggestion from the bench that a settlement might be effected. A compromise was arranged among the parties and was submitted by the said Angus Ogilvy to the Court, by which, after certain alterations, it was approved as for the benefit of the present appellant. On May 17, 1912, the compromise was filed as of record and a decree was made in terms thereof. This compromise and decree forms the subject matter of the present suit, by which the appellant seeks to set it aside and to be remitted to his original rights so as to proceed with the appeal which was the subject of the compromise.
Under the compromise, the main terms were that the present appellant's adoption was negatived, and Keshava Prasad Singh was declared to be entitled to the estate, the Court of, Wards was not to be liable for any monies spent prior to the handing over of the estate in September 1910, and Keshava Prasad Singh was to pay a sum of rupees ten lakhs by ten annual instalments to the present appellant.;