1. This is a plaintiffs' appeal arising out of a declaration that the minor plaintiffs along with Defendant 7 are occupancy tenants of the plots in dispute. The Courts below have dismissed the suit on the ground of res judicata. It appears that previous to the suit the fathers of the three plaintiffs instituted a suit in respect of the same property asking for the same declaration. That case was decided against them and their appeal was dismissed by the appellate Court. The plaintiffs who are minor admit the existence of the previous judgment but in the plaint they stated that their fathers did not look after the previous case properly, and on this ground they sought to evade its binding nature. There was no suggestion of any fraud or collusion in the plaint nor was there any issue framed on that point.
2. The lower appellate Court has distinctly found that the previous suit was instituted by the former plaintiffs as managers of their respective families. That finding is fatal to this appeal. In my opinion a manager of a joint Hindu family represents the family and therefore all its members as against a third party. When he institutes a suit as manager in the interest of the family against a stranger all the members must be deemed to be represented in it through him. The result of the suit binds not only the manager but all the members of the family, unless of course any fraud or collusion ware established which would vitiate the decree. The mere ground that in the opinion of the minor sons their fathers did not look after the case sufficiently well, or that they were careless or negligent in the conduct of their case, would not be a good ground for ignoring the effect of the decree. The question of carelessness or negligence may arise in cases where a suit is instituted by a guardian on behalf of his ward and the question of a case being properly and fairly fought out may also arise when a limited owner like a Hindu widow is representing the estate for the time being. But these considerations cannot arise when the manager of a family, not as a mare reversioner, but as proprietor in whom the interest actually vests, institutes a suit and instead of impleading all the members of the family sues on their behalf as manager. In my opinion a decree obtained under such circumstances is binding not only on all the members of the family who are than alive but also on those who are born subsequently. If this were not the law then the result would be that there would be no end to litigation. Every member of a Hindu family would be empowered to institute a fresh suit on the allegation that the previous suit was not properly conducted by the then manager of the family; such a position would, in my opinion be intolerable.
3.That a manager of a joint Hindu family can sue on behalf of all members is well settled: vide the Pull Bench case of Madan Lal v. Kishen Singh (1912) 34 All 572. The case of Bhup Kuar v. Balbir Sahai AIR 1922 All 342 is distinguishable because at the time when the brother had instituted the suit the younger brother was not born, and further in the presence of the father the elder brother could not be said to be the manager of the family. It is argued that by implication it was held in this last case that the suit by one coparcener for setting aside an alienation is not a representative suit on behalf of the other coparceners. It is unnecessary for me to express any opinion on this point because in a suit brought to contest an alienation by a manager different considerations may arise inasmuch as the manager who alone can represent the family is disqualified by his own act from challenging it. If however a suit be treated as a representative suit then the principle underlying the decision of the Full Bench in Kesho Prasad Singh v. Sheopargash Ojha AIR 1922 All 301 will apply.
4. In my opinion therefore the decree in the former litigation binds the plaintiffs completely.
5. The appeal is accordingly dismissed under Order 41, Rule 11, Civil P.O.