1. This is a decree-holder's appeal against the order of a learned single Judge of this Court. The decree-holder obtained a decree under Order 34, Rule 6 on 22nd November 1930, against Hira Lal and Narain Prasad, two joint mortgagors. This decree was a simple money decree. The judgment-debtors were under it jointly and severally liable. On 29th July 1932 Narain Prasad, one of the mortgagors, paid a sum of Rs. 618 to the decree-holder. On the same day the decree-holder certified the payment in the execution Court and prayed for an order discharging Narain Prasad as judgment-debtor. The Court acceded to the prayer and Narain Prasad's liability was held discharged. On 29th July 1935, that is within three years of the payment by Narain Prasad, the decree-holder sought to put his decree into execution against Hira Lal. He was met by the plea that the decree which was passed on 22nd November 1930 was time-barred. It was contended for the decree-holder however that a fresh period of limitation began to run from 29th July 1932, when Narain Prasad had made the aforementioned payment of Rs. 618. This contention has been rejected by the execution Court and by the learned single Judge before whom the matter came in appeal, and the objection of Hira Lal has been upheld. Whether Hira Lal is liable or not under the decree depends upon the provisions of Section 20, Limitation Act. Section 20 provides:
Where interest on a debt or legacy is, before the expiration of the prescribed period, paid as such by the person liable to pay the debt or legacy, or by his agent duly authorized in this behalf, or where part of the principal of a debt is, before the expiration of the prescribed period, paid by the debtor or by his agent duly authorized in this behalf, a fresh period of limitation shall be computed from the time when the payment was made.
2. Now there is nothing in these provisions to suggest that the Legislature intended that payment by one joint judgment-debtor should have the effect of interrupting the running of limitation so far as the other joint judgment-debtors are concerned. Learned Counsel for the decree-holder contended however that it must be inferred that the Legislature so intended because in Section 21 they had made special provision for joint contractors, partners, executors or mortgagees. Section 21, Sub-section 2 enjoins that so far as these parties are concerned payment by one does not interrupt the running of limitation in respect of the liability of the other joint contractors, partners, executors or mortgagees. We are unable to sustain this argument. It appears to us that the provisions of Section 20 are perfectly plain. The Section contemplates the interruption of limitation upon the payment by a debtor or by anyone duly authorized by him of a part of the debt due by him. It does not contemplate the interruption of limitation where payment is made by one joint judgjment-debtor independently of other judgment-debtors. There is no suggestion in the present case that in making the payment on 29th July 1932, Narain Prasad was authorized to do so by Hira Lal. The payment was made by Narain Prasad independently of Hira Lal and upon the payment his liability under the decree was extinguished at the request of the decree-holder.
3. We are satisfied that the Legislature never intended to enact that an independent payment by one judgment-debtor should have the effect of interrupting the running of the period of limitation as against the other judgment-debtors, and we are of opinion that Sub-section 2 of Section 21 does not lend any support to that view. In our opinion Sub-section 2 of Section 21 is merely explanatory; it does not lay down exceptions to any general principle embodied in Section 20. The point came up for consideration in Ashan-ul-lah v. Dakkhini Din (1905) 27 All. 575. It was there held by a Bench of this Court that:
A payment made by one of several persons jointly liable under a decree, otherwise than as agent of his co-judgment-debtors, cannot operate to save limitation as against any of the judgment-debtors other than the persons making the payment.
4. The same view of the law was taken in Annada Charan Misra v. Jhatu Charan Roy 0065/1935 : AIR1935Cal648 and Jogeshchandra Shaha v. Monindranarayan Chakrabarti : AIR1932Cal620 . We would further observe that Sub-section 2 of Section 21 specifically enjoins that payment by one joint contractor will not have the effect of saving limitation as against another joint contractor. In our opinion it is plain that joint contractors who are liable as such before decree is passed against them, remain co-contractors after decree against them and they have become joint judgment-debtors. In this connexion we would note that the Explanation to Section 20 provides that debt includes money payable under a decree or order of the Court. In our judgment there is no force in this appeal. The appeal is accordingly dismissed with costs.