1. The decision of this appeal depends on a question of res judicata. The plaintiff-respondent, Mannu Singh, together with one Jang Bahadur Singh, purchased certain property from the defendant-appellant, Mahip Narain Pandey. Mahip Narain's sons brought a suit to set aside the sale on two grounds. The first ground was that the sale was without consideration, and the second ground was that even if there was consideration, there was no legal necessity. The suit was decided ex parte and the Court which tried it, on the evidence tendered by one of the plaintiffs before it, found in favour of the plaintiffs on both questions. It found that the sale was without consideration, and therefore there was no legal necessity for it The vendees then filed the present suit to recover from Mahip Narain Pande the alleged consideration of the sale-deed. The trial Court held that it was res judicata between the parties, and that no consideration had passed. The lower Appellate Court has taken a different view, and has remanded the case for decision on the merits. The defendant appeals.
2. The principles which govern the question of res judicata between co-defendants have been laid down in a number of cases of which we may instance Muhammad Ahmad y. Zahur Ahmad A.I.R. 1922 All. 19. The rule is that there must have been a conflict of interest between the codefendants, and it must have bean necessary for the decision of the suit for the Court to decide the question on which they are at issue. In this case there certainly was a conflict; of interest between the co-defendants in the former suit, for the appellant, Mahip Narain, made common cause with his sons and pleaded that the sale-deed was without consideration. The issue was also one which, having been raised before it, the Court was bound to enter into and decide. If there was no consideration for the sale-deed, the suit of Mahip Narain's sons was bound to succeed, The learned vakil for the respondent contends that for an issue to operate as res judicata between co-defendants, it must have been the only ground on which the Court could have decided the case. In this case he urges that as the previous suit might have succeeded on either of two grounds, namely because there was no consideration, or because there was no legal necessity, therefore the decision on the former point, though logically it comes first in order, could not operate as res judicata. We think that this is giving too narrow a scope to the rule. If the issue was one the decision of which was sufficient for the decision of the suit, and the issue was raised and the suit was actually in fact decided upon it, then, if that issue was one which was raised, not only between the plaintiff and the defendants, but between the co-defendants as well, the rule of res judicata applies. The case of Kunj Man v. Jagan Nath (1920) 42 All. 359 is an illustration. There a suit was brought by the managing member of a joint Hindu family against a third party for an injunction, The plaintiff's brother, a member of the joint family, was joined as a pro for ma defendant. His interest was identical with that of the plaintiff. The suit having been dismissed, it was held that the matter was res judicata as between the plaintiff's brother and the defendant.
3. For the reasons which we have given, we consider that the view taken by the learned Subordinate Judge was right, We accordingly set aside the order of the District Judge and restore the decree of the trial Court with costs in air Courts.