1. The above appeals arise out of two suits, which relate to circumstances which can be more conveniently considered in one judgment. Hukam Singh, the plaintiff in the two suits, alleges that he and some men of his party were beaten by Gobind Prasad, Gajadhar, Adha Ram and seven others. Criminal proceedings were instituted by both parties. The defendants' party was convicted and Hukum Singh's party, who received serious injuries, were acquitted. Hukum Singh brought suit No. 464 of 1927 against the ten defendants for damages amounting to Rs. 662 for assault and beating. The Court of first instance decreed the suit and awarded damages to the extent of Rs. 50. On appeal by the defendants the lower appellate Court enhanced the amount of damages to Rs. 200. Second appeal No. 1008 has been preferred by the defendants against the decree of the lower appellate Court in that suit.
2. The defendants, Gobind, Gajadhar and Adha Ram, had instituted criminal proceedings against Hukam Singh and others on a charge of unlawfully rescuing cattle which. Gobind's party were taking to the pound. Hukam Singh and his party were acquitted. Suit No. 439 of 1927 was brought by Hukam Singh and others against the defendants, Gobind, Gajadhar and Adha Ram, for damages amounting to Rs. 715 for malicious prosecution. It was decreed by the Court of first instance against Adha Ram only for a sum of Rs. 215. The lower appellate Court upheld the decree. Second appeal No. 1143 of 1928 has been preferred by Adha Ram against the decree of the lower appellate Court in that suit.
3. Several grounds have been taken in the memorandum of appeal No. 1008. It is argued that appellants 1 to 7 did not take part in the actual beating and that they were not responsible for any damages sustained by the plaintiff in consequence of the injuries inflicted on him in course of the 'marpit.' I am unable to give effect to this contention. If all the defendants had a common object and proceeded to assault the plaintiff, all of them were rightly held responsible for damages resulting from their joint action, although only three out of them took more prominent part than the others and caused injuries to him. It has been found as a fact by the lower appellate Court that the appellants did not act in the exercise of their right of private defence but were throughout the aggressors.
4. It is also contended that the damages awarded to the plaintiff (Hukam Singh) are too remote. It is difficult to appreciate an argument of this kind, under the circumstances of the present case. The injuries and the loss of occupation, for which damages have been awarded, were the direct result of the appellants, highhanded action, and cannot, in any sense, be considered too remote, nor can the amount of damages for malicious prosecution by the appellants, awarded in the connected case, be taken into consideration in assessing the amount of damages due to the plaintiff in respect of the injuries and the loss of occupation, already referred to.
5. In one respect the decree passed by the lower appellate Court requires modification. It appears that the defendant appellant Bansi urged before the lower appellate Court that he was no party to the assault. The learned Subordinate Judge has specifically dealt with his case as follows:
The case of Bansi is doubtful. He may have gone to Karhal, where his sister was under treatment, or he may have got back that day to take part in the 'marpit.' Hukam Singh, Bansi and respondents 1, 3 and 4 had been at logger heads for sometime, and there had been several instances, in which one or the other had given evidence against each other.
6. In the concluding part of the judgment no notice was taken of Bansi's case, and a decree was passed against all the defendants. I think it was by an oversight that Bansi was not exempted from liability. In view of the finding arrived at by the lower appellate Court that it was doubtful as to whether Bansi took part in beating the plaintiff, no decree can be passed against him.
7. On the conclusions arrived at by me, this appeal is dismissed with costs, except as regards the appellant Bansi, who will be exempted from liability to pay damages to the plaintiff-respondent. The decree of the lower appellate Court in Appeal No. 1008 is accordingly modified.
8. As regards appeal No. 1143, the finding of fact arrived at by the lower appellate Court that:
the evidence on the record fully justifies the conclusion that only 'marpit' took place, and the story of rescuing the cattle was invented simply to help the defence in the criminal case. This was not, however, believed. As the case was found false, malice, shall be presumed to have been the motive, which actuated Adha Ram in filing it.
is decisive. Where the accusation is false and false to the knowledge of the prosecutor, absence of reasonable and probable cause is obvious. The inference of malice is likewise irresistible, as the object of launching a false prosecution was to provide defence in a connected case in which the prosecutor was the accused. In this connexion malice does not necessarily mean enmity or hatred but any indirect or improper motive. Prosecuting another person on a groundless charge for the purpose of establishing false defence in another case is obviously actionable. The view taken by the lower appellate Court is perfectly correct. The appeal is dismissed with costs.