1. This is a revision under Section 25, Small Cause Courts Act, by the defendant, arising out of a suit for the plaintiffs' share of arrears of rent of a certain shop alleged to have been let to him. The plaintiffs claimed to be entitled to one-fourth of the rent payable in respect of the shop under a rent note executed by the defendant. The only plea which is pressed in revision is that the defendant paid the entire rent to one of the co-sharers and obtained a discharge. The lower Court held that payment to one of several co-sharers does not give a valid discharge to a tenant. The question as to whether the plaintiffs are entitled to sue for their own share alone has not been raised in this Court. There was at least one other suit for arrears of rent by another co-sharer for his share only, and it was successful. The lower Court held that the plaintiffs are entitled to sue for their share alone. The correctness of this view has not been impugned in revision.
2. As to whether payment to one of several persons to whom it was due gives a valid discharge to the tenant making the payment, reliance is placed on Barber Maran v. Ramana Goundan (1897) 20 Mad. 461 and Annapurnamma v. Akkayya (1913) 36 Mad. 544. The former was a case in which payment was alleged to have been made to one of several co-mortgagees. In the latter, payment was said to have been made to one of several payees under a negotiable instrument. The Madras High Court held that payment to one of those entitled to receive it operated as a valid discharge. This conclusion was arrived at on the strength of Section 38, Contract Act. With great respect I wish to point out that Section 38 is no authority for the proposition that payment to one of several co-promisees operates as a valid discharge or is tantamount to payment to all of them. All that Section 38 provides is the consequence of an offer of performance to the promisee where the offer is not accepted. The first part of the section runs thus:
Where a promisor has made an offer of performance to the promisee, and the offer has not been accepted, the promisor is not responsible for non-performance, nor does he thereby lose his rights under the contract.
3. The last paragraph of the section then provides:
An offer to one of several joint promisees has the same legal consequences as an offer to all of them.
4. Reading the two together, the section may be re-cast as providing that where a promisor has made an offer of performance to the promisee, or where there are more promisees than one, to one of them, and the offer has not been accepted, the promisor is not responsible for non performance. It cannot be construed as laying down the converse proposition that where a promisor has made an offer of performance to the promisee, or one of them where there are more promisees than one and the offer and performance have been accepted, the promisor is discharged. This seems to have been the opinion of the learned Chief Justice, who differed from the majority of the Full Bench which decided Annapurnamma v. Akkayya (1913) 36 Mad. 544. The Allahabad High Court, has consistently held that payment to one of several promisees does not operate as a discharge: see Manzur All. V. Mahmud-un-nissa (1902) 25 All. 155 and Ramachandra v. Goswami Rajjan Lal (1910) 32 All. 164. Accordingly I hold that the view taken by the lower Court was right. The revision is dismissed with coats.