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Basharat Beg Vs. Hira Lal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1932All401
AppellantBasharat Beg
RespondentHira Lal and ors.
Excerpt:
- - clearly the assessment represents a sum of rs. 3. an objection was taken that the suit was bad for multifariousness;.....against all those persons. they were acting strictly in accordance with the law in bringing a joint suit against all the defendants.4. the appellant himself pleads further that it is not proved that he individually caused any damage to anyone; but there is ample evidence in our opinion to show that he was one of the persons who took part in throwing missiles at the hindus. it is impossible, in a case of this kind, to say that the missiles thrown by one particular person struck any other particular person; and we consider that it is sufficient in such a case to prove that the injuries were caused as the result of throwing missiles and that the person against whom damage is claimed was one of those who threw the missiles, where it is also shown, as in this case, that the defendants as.....
Judgment:

Pullan, J.

1. The appellant, Basharat Beg, was one of several defendants in a suit brought by thirteen plaintiffs for damages for injuries caused to the persons of these plaintiffs on 31st August 1925. On that day a Hindu procession passed by the door of a Mahomedan mosque in the town of Rath. It is now not in dispute that bricks were thrown at the procession from the mosque and that numerous Hindus, who are represented by the plaintiffs in this case, received injuries which required medical treatment. First of all a criminal complaint was filed which resulted in a compromise; but subsequently a civil action also was commenced by the plaintiffs against 33 Mahomedans. The plaintiffs asked for a sum of Rs. 5,100 by way of damages; but they entered into a compromise, on 29th February 1928, with all the defendants except six. In this compromise they agreed to accept a decree of Rs. 1,300, representing the total amount of damages due to all the plaintiffs. Clearly the assessment represents a sum of Rs. 100 to each of the 13 plaintiffs. In the compromise we find that the 27 defendants who signed the compromise agreed also to an apportionment of the damages among themselves, some paying as much as Rs. 135 and others as little as Rs. 5. One of the defendants appears to have been absent and unsummoned, and he was exempted from the decree. Four of the others were absent, and allowed judgment against them to go by default. The Court decreed the balance of the sum of Rs. 1,300, after taking into account the amount due from the remaining 27 defendants, against the remaining five defendants. Against the four absentees he decreed the sum altogether of Rs. 45; and against the remaining defendant, who is the only appellant before us, he decreed the balance of Rs. 130.

2. The main ground of appeal is that no decree should have been passed against the appellant, because the cause of action should have been held to be extinguished as against him together with the other joint tortfeasors, if not on account of the compromise, at least on account of the fact that one of the defendants was exempted by the plaintiffs from the suit. As far as the compromise is concerned, there is clear authority of this Court in the case of Ram Kumar Singh v. Ali Husain (1909) 31 All. 173, to the effect that a compromise of this nature is no bar to a decree against the other defendants. That decision is based upon the English law as to torts, and reference may be made in this connexion to the case of Duck v. Mayeu [1892] 2 Q.B. 511. The principle underlying the English decision is that a release granted to one joint tortfeasor operates as a discharge of the other tortfeasors where the cause of action, which is one and indivisible, has itself been released. In the case cited, the acceptance of a sum of money from one of the two joint tortfeasors in full discharge of his own personal liability was not held to operate as a release as far as the other joint tortfeasor was concerned. It was held that such an acceptance amounted merely to a covenant not to sue; and in the present case, we, on the authority of the decision of this High Court to which we have referred, consider that such a compromise as was effected in this case does not in any way discharge the liability of the present appellant. We cannot see that the exemption of another defendant in any way affects the question. That exemption does not bring to an end the joint cause of action against the joint tortfeasors. It does not amount to a decision of any kind. Consequently, we do not consider that there is any legal defect in the present suit on this ground.

3. An objection was taken that the suit was bad for multifariousness; but we consider that it is covered by the terms of Order 1, Rule 1, Civil P.C. Each of the plaintiffs received hurts from a body of persons, and each of them could have brought a suit for damages against all those persons. They were acting strictly in accordance with the law in bringing a joint suit against all the defendants.

4. The appellant himself pleads further that it is not proved that he individually caused any damage to anyone; but there is ample evidence in our opinion to show that he was one of the persons who took part in throwing missiles at the Hindus. It is impossible, in a case of this kind, to say that the missiles thrown by one particular person struck any other particular person; and we consider that it is sufficient in such a case to prove that the injuries were caused as the result of throwing missiles and that the person against whom damage is claimed was one of those who threw the missiles, where it is also shown, as in this case, that the defendants as a body were acting in pursuance of a common object. The common object is clear it was to stop the Hindu procession, which was passing the mosque at approximately the time of the evening prayer. The plaintiffs therefore have in our opinion, made out a case for damages against the appellant, and it remains only to consider what damages should be awarded. The principle adopted by the learned Judge, which we have indicated, above, is no doubt a rough and ready one, and prima facie there seems to reason why the present appellant should have to pay Rs. 130, whereas some of the co-defendants had paid as little as Rs. 5; but in this case 13 persons received injuries, and we cannot hold that the liability of any of the assailants is over-assessed in the sum of Rs. 130. Consequently, although we might not ourselves have accepted the principle on which these damages have been awarded, we do not see our way, as a Court of appeal, to object to the amount decreed. We accordingly uphold the decision of the Court below and dismiss this appeal with costs.


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