Oldfield and Tyrrell, JJ.
1. This suit was instituted on the 27th July 1885, to recover a sum of Rs. 679-14, due on a mortgage-bond of the 15th August 1876.
2. The Courts below have decreed the claim, and the question in appeal is how far the defendant is liable for interest on the principal sum.
3. The principal sum lent was Rs. 99, with compound interest at 2 per cent, per mensem, and we are of opinion that, under the circumstances, compound interest should not be allowed. We understand that the defendant was being pressed in the tahsili for immediate payment of revenue due, and advantage was taken of this circumstance to induce him to execute the bond, charging compound interest at the high rate of Rs. 24 per cent, per annum, notwithstanding that ample security was given by mortgage of landed property for the small sum advanced. Moreover, under the terms of the bond, the plaintiff had power to enforce the bond at any time by bringing to sale the mortgaged property. Instead of doing so, he has wilfully allowed the debt to remain unsatisfied, in order that compound interest at this high rate should accumulate.
4. The bargain seems to us a hard and unconscionable bargain, which, under all the circumstances, it would be unreasonable and inequitable for a Court of justice to give full effect to.
5. That a power lies in the Court to refuse to give effect to such transactions is undoubted and rests on authority, and we may refer to the case of Kamini Sundari Chaudhrani v. Kali Prosunno Ghose I. L. R., 12 Cal., 225, decided by the Privy Council, and the case therein cited of Beynon v. Cook, L. R., 10 Ch. App., 389. A similar principle was laid down in the decision of a Bench of this Court in Lalli v. Ram Prasad I. L. R., 9 All., 74.
6. We modify the decree of the Courts below, and decree the principal sum of Rs. 99, with simple interest at Rs. 24 per cent, per annum up to the date of institution of the suit, with proportionate costs.