Mukerji, Ag. C.J.
1. This is an application by the defendants in our revisional jurisdiction asking us to interfere with an order of the learned Munsif of Allahabad by which he refused to entertain an objection against an award.
2. The facts of the case will have to be stated in some detail because the case has been argued at great length and very ably on both sides. The respondents who are a firm brought a suit against two persons named Har Prasad and Banwari Lal and described them as the owners of a certain firm. The suit was for the recovery of damages for breach of contract entered into by the two firms.
3. The summons that was issued to Har Prasad and Banwari Lal was taken by one Mathra Prasad, one of the 5 sons of Har Prasad. Mathra Prasad filed a written statement purporting to be on behalf of the firm and he signed it as the malik of the firm. Later on the case was referred to arbitration at the instance of the plaintiffs and Mathra Prasad acting through his counsel. An award was arrived at which was partially in favour of both the parties. After the award was made an exception was taken to the award on the ground that Mathra Prasad was not authorised in law to submit the matter in dispute to arbitration on behalf of Har Prasad and Banwari Lal.
4. The learned Munsif in a carefully written judgment disallowed the contention as we have already stated. The reasons given by the Munsif will have to be stated later on and we can at once proceed to consider the arguments advanced on behalf of the defendants-applicants. The learned Counsel for the applicants has relied on a case decided by a Bench of this Court of which one of us was a member, namely, Gopal Das v. Baij Nath : AIR1926All238 . He has conceded that although there may be some illegality or irregularity in the submission to arbitration, yet the parties by their conduct may be estopped from disputing the arbitration award. Indeed this was a matter which was conceded in the judgment of one of the learned Judges who heard the case in 24 A.L.J.
5. It is also undoubtedly the law that in revision, the High Court is not bound to interfere if there has been substantial justice. Coming to the pure question of law it appears that although in its essence the suit was by one firm against another, the persons who were named as the defendants were two individuals and not a firm. Looked in this light Mathra Prasad had no authority on behalf of Har Prasad and Banwari Lal to refer the dispute to arbitration. Even if we regard the suit as against the firm Har Prasad Banwari Lal, according to the ruling cited by the learned Counsel for the applicants, Mathura Prasad was not authorised to refer the matter in dispute to arbitration. All the same, it appears to us that substantial justice has been done and according to well-known principles we are not bound to interfere and therefore we shall not interfere.
6. The Court below has found that Har Prasad and his five sons, Banwari Lal, Banarsi Lal, Mathura Prasad, Budhu Lal and Ram Bharos, form a joint Hindu family and owned the firm Har Prasad Banwari Lal. They carry on business in different localities and one of the sons of Har Prasad manages the shops at different places. Har Prasad is now an old man of 90 and does not do any business himself. Banwari Lal lives at home and looks after the house-hold affairs and his aged father. Mathura Prasad manages the Allahabad firm,, and it was a contract with the Allahabad firm that is the subject-matter of the suit. The learned Judge of the Court below has found that Mathura Prasad was the managing partner, at least so far as the Allahabad firm went, and that he did everything that could be done on behalf of the firm in the arbitration affair. He has also found that Banwari Lal and his sons used to be present before the arbitrator.
7. The question now is whether in these circumstances we should interfere simply because initially the reference to arbitration was not proper. Har Prasad and Banwari Lal knew that they were the defendants in the case. It is possible that they did not know that they had been made parties as individuals and not as representing the firm. It is possible that Har Prasad and Banwari Lal were not aware of the fact that technically Mathura Prasad, although he managed the entire1 business of the firm Har Prasad-Banwari Lal, was not authorised to make a reference to arbitration. If the matter had not gone into Court Mathura Prasad as the managing partner would probably-we do not decide that point- have been entitled to make a reference to arbitration or to settle the matter in dispute with the plaintiffs. Mathura Prasad being the leading partner of the firm did everything in good faith for the firm and it is but fair that the result arrived at should not be interfered with.
8. On these grounds we decide that the application should be dismissed but under the circumstances of the case the parties should pay their own costs, in this Court. We order accordingly.