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Mangal Sen and ors. Vs. Muhammad HusaIn and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectContract
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1915)ILR37All115
AppellantMangal Sen and ors.
RespondentMuhammad HusaIn and anr.
Excerpt:
contract--privity of contract--bight of third parties to sue on covenant in lease. - - in their lordships' judgment although no party to the document, she is clearly entitled to proceed in equity to enforce her claim......parties should be sued by persons who were no parties to the contract. on the strict words of the present contract the lessees as between themselves and their lessor were liable to pay the 'zamindari dues,' and yet we find that there is a difference of opinion between the plaintiffs and the respondents as to what these dues were. the plaintiffs never agreed to accept the respondents as the persons to whom they would look for the payment of their dues. they never in any way altered their position in consequence of the contract which the respondents entered into with their lessor. we think there can be no doubt that the general rule is that a party cannot make another person liable upon a contract to which the suing party was not privy. there are no doubt exceptions to this rule. we think.....
Judgment:

Henry Richards, C.J. and Pramada Charan Benerji, J.

1. This appeal arises out of a suit in which the plaintiffs claimed zamindari dues. They made defendants to the suit a certain muafidar and also two lessees from the muafidar. It is admitted that the zamindars were entitled to dues (though not the amount claimed) from the muafidar. Under the terms of the lease the other defendants, that is to say, the lessees from the muafidar, undertook to pay the zamindari dues. The plaintiffs mainly claimed against the lessees but stated that for the sake of precaution the muafidar was also made a defendant and that if they were not entitled to a decree against the lessees they might have a decree against him. The lessees (the respondents to the present appeal), pleaded, first, that they were not liable to the plaintiffs, inasmuch as they had never entered into any contract with them, and, secondly, that if they were at all liable the dues were not as claimed by the plaintiffs. The court of first instance granted a decree against the present respondents exempting the muafidar. The respondents appealed, with the result that the decree of the court of first instance was confirmed. The plaintiffs preferred no appeal against the dismissal of their claim against the muafidar. In second appeal to this Court the decrees of the courts below were set aside and the plaintiffs' suit dismissed. Against this decree the plaintiffs have preferred the present Letters Patent Appeal. The only point to be decided is whether or not under the circumstances of the present case the plaintiffs were entitled to sue the defendants, the lessees. It is admitted, that there was no privity of contract. It is also admitted that the respondent's liability (if any) is under the terms of their contract with their lessor, the muafidar. In our opinion the learned Judge of this Court was correct in the view he took.

2. The learned advocate on behalf of the appellants contends that wherever there is a contract under which a third party may obtain a benefit, he is entitled to sue upon that contrast just as fully as he could do if he had been a party to it. We think that such a proposition is altogether too wide. In the present case it is pretty clear that if the plaintiffs thought it was to their advantage they might even have refused to recognize the respondents as the persons liable to pay their dues. We may also point out that in many cases it would be extremely inconvenient that parties should be sued by persons who were no parties to the contract. On the strict words of the present contract the lessees as between themselves and their lessor were liable to pay the 'zamindari dues,' and yet we find that there is a difference of opinion between the plaintiffs and the respondents as to what these dues were. The plaintiffs never agreed to accept the respondents as the persons to whom they would look for the payment of their dues. They never in any way altered their position in consequence of the contract which the respondents entered into with their lessor. We think there can be no doubt that the general rule is that a party cannot make another person liable upon a contract to which the suing party was not privy. There are no doubt exceptions to this rule. We think that it may fairly be said that in all such; cases as the defendant would be liable in a 'Court of Equity' the courts in this country should hold him liable. But we do not think that the present is a case in which a 'Court of Equity' could grant the plaintiff relief. The case of Khwaja Muhammad Khan v. Husaini Begam (1910) I.L.R. 32 All. 410, has been cited In that case there was a marriage arrangement between the defendant and the father of the plaintiff whereby the defendant agreed to pay Rs. 500, a month to the plaintiff and charged certain property with the payment of the money. It was held that the plaintiff, although no party to the contract, was entitled to enforce it. At page 413 of foe report their Lordships of the Privy Council say : 'Here the agreement executed by the defendant specially charges immovable property for the allowance which he binds himself to pay to the plaintiff; she is the only person beneficially entitled under it. In their Lordships' Judgment although no party to the document, she is clearly entitled to proceed in equity to enforce her claim.'

3. The case of Touche v. The Metropolitan Railway Warehousing Co. (1871) L.R. 6 Ch. App. 671 was also quoted. There the plaintiff had done work at the instance of a promoter of a company. The articles of the association provided that in certain events the sum of 2,000 would be paid to one of the promoters for the plaintiff who had done the work. It was held that the plaintiff could get the money from the company. A copy of the articles of association had been sent to the plaintiff, he had done the work and the company had got the benefit of his labours.

4. In the case of Debnarayan Dutt v. Chunilal Chose (1913) I.L.R. 41 Cale. 137, it was also held that the plaintiff, though not a party to the arrangement between the defendant and the third party, was entitled to be paid a sum of Rs. 300 and interest. At page 142 the facts of the case are briefly stated by the learned Chief Justice : - 'On the 22nd of July, 1899, defendants Nos. 1 to 4 borrowed from the plaintiff a sum of Rs. 300, and by way of security for this they gave a personal covenant by a registered bond and also purported, though ineffectually, to create a charge by deposit of a pattah relating to immovable property. Interest was paid upon this bond up to the 13th of April, 1903, and on the 18th of August, 1903, defendants 1 to 4 executed a registered instrument of transfer of all their property, movable, and immovable, to defendant No. 5 for a sum of Rs. 2,000, becoming thereby, as the plaintiff describes it, 'rightless.' This Rs. 2,000 was not all paid in cash, but there was the provision and declaration in the kabala that out of this consideration money of Rs. 2,000, amongst other things, the sum of Rs. 330 due to the plaintiff should be paid by the defendant No. 5. On the very same day there was an arrangement between the plaintiff and defendant No. 5, under which the liability of defendant No. 5 under the transfer was acknowledged and accepted, and either then or in connection therewith this pattah was handed over to defendant No. 5.'

5. It is clear that in all these cases the plaintiff had an 'equity' which would always have been enforced by an English Court of Equity. The facts of the present case, as already pointed out, are quite different. We think the view taken by the learned Judge of this Court was correct and we dismiss the appeal with costs.


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