1. This appeal must be decreed. The facts are very simple. The lower appellate Court finds that the respondent and the appellants agreed to buy and sell respectively certain lands in two villages adjoining the town of Cawnpore, at a certain rate per bigha. The agreement was put into writing on the 22nd of August 1919 and a sum of Rs. 450 was advanced by the respondent to the appellants by way of earnest-money. One of the appellants was a minor and it was agreed that permission to sell would be obtained from the District Judge. Such permission was actually obtained in August 1920. The plaintiff-respondent brought the suit, out of which this appeal has arisen, on the 18th of August 1922. two years after the sanction to sell had been obtained, on the allegation that in January 1920 the Improvement Trust notified their intention to acquire the lands agreed to be sold, and thereupon he asked the appellants to refund the earnest-money, but they refused to do so.
2. In the plaint a faint allegation was also made to the effect that the defendants made unnecessary delay in obtaining the sanction of the District Judge, but nothing turns on that. There is no finding that there was a default on the part of the defendants.
3. The Courts below were of opinion that as the Improvement Trust notified their intention to acquire the lands, and as it was notorious that the Improvement Trust never paid adequate value of the lands, the circumstances had so changed as to justify the respondent to rescind the contract and to claim the earnest-money.
4. The preposition of law laid down by the Courts below appears to me unsound in its entirety. The mere fact that there was some chance of the land being acquired by the Improvement Trust was no justification for the plaintiff to resile from the contract. The land might be acquired or might not be acquired by the Improvement Trust, and in the case of acquisition the plaintiff would be entitled to receive the compensation from the Trust. The parties were bound by their contract; and surely the default was on behalf of the respondent and not on behalf of the defendants. In the circumstances, the plaintiff forfeited the earnest-money and was not entitled to receive the same,
5. In this Court on behalf of the respondent reliance has been placed on 'Chitty on Contracts' page 767, article 'act of the law.' It has been urged that the contract was affected by the law and that therefore it was a valid excuse for the plaintiff not to act up to it. In this case the law was not amended and no amendment of law affected the performance of the contract at all. The plaintiff-respondent was as much at liberty to purchase the land as before. The possibility that he might lose it later on was not owing to the passing of any Act.
6. I allow the appeal set aside the decrees of the Courts below and dismiss the respondent's suit with costs throughout. The costs in this Court will include counsel's fees on the higher scale.