1. In this case the appellant bc0ught a suit in the Court of the First Additional Subordinate Judge of Aligarh, asking that be might reserve from the defendants Rs. 1,939-39-90, being the amount of money which he had paid to a decree-holder, under circumstances which, he eon-tended, brought him within Section 69 of the Contract Act.
2. It appears that there was a Cotton Press established at Hathras. Salig Ram and two others owned shares in that, The plaintiff in the Court below, and the appellant here to-day, took a mortgage of the share of Salig Ram and others, and that mortgage was for no less a earn than Rs. 50,000. The enterprise was in difficulties and they owed Lala Maina Lal a sum of money for rent. On the 21st of November 1913 Maina Lal got a decree against them, which, as far as is material to this case, may be summarised in the following way. The defendants were to pay Rs. 1,215-10-9 on account of rent, a small sum of Rs. 17 for damages for illegal possession; and the plaintiff having claimed that the defendants might be dispossessed from the Cotton Press so that he might recover possession of the land, it was ordered that in default of the defendant firm paying the amount of rent within two months from the date of the decree the plaintiff should be given possession of the land, and the firm which owned the Court Press should have to remove the buildings and vacate the land. The decree continued: if the decree-money is not paid off within two months, the plaintiff shall be entitled to get the defendants dispossessed from the buildings of the firm.' The two months would have expired on the 21st of January 1914 On the 19th of January 1914 the plaintiff, who was apprehensive that his security would be entirely destroyed, as indeed it would be by the removal of the buildings, made an application under Section 69 of the Indian Contract Act. He does not in terms mention that it was an application under Section 69. But the phrasing of Clause 3 of the application shows clearly that he was basing his application on the right which is given to a person who is interested in the payment of money which another is bound by law to pay. His petition pet out the decree of the 21st of November 1913, stated that it was a decree for rent and that it remained unpaid, It then continued: 'the building of the Press remains hypothecated to the petitioner and has been advertised for sale in execution of his hypothecation decree.' It happened that he had taken steps under his mortgage and had got a decree for sale of the share of Salig Ram and others in the previous January of 1913, The Court name to the conclusion in the circumstances that it was right to allow him to make the payment and thus save the business of the Cotton Press and prevent the removal of the building from the land, and he did tender on the 19th of January Rs. 1,423. In the lower Court the plaintiff, as can be seen from Issue No. 4, did base his claim on the ground that he, having an interest in the payment of money which another was bound to pay and having in fact paid that money was entitled to claim reimbursement. The learned Subordinate Judge, however, deals with that matter very summarily, because he says Section 69 of the Contract Act does not help the plaintiff. It is true that before he arrived at that conclusion he had stated that the clause of the degree relating to the demolition of the building of the firm could not be enforced until Maina Lal applied for its execution. We are not at all sure that be is right in that view, because the decree is combed in rather unusual terms, and it may very well be that once the actual two months had expired, automatically the building might be removed without further order of the Court. It is not, however, a matter which in our view is at all decisive or carries the case of either side any further, because we prefer to look at the matter on a much broader basis. In our view the right conclusion of Section 69 is this, that if a man be interested in the payment of money and has proper grounds for thinking that another who is bound to pay the money either cannot pay or does not intend to pay, be himself is entitled to pay that money and should be allowed to recover it, if in the opinion of the Court he has acted as a reasonable, prudent man would act under the circumstances. Dr. Sen has taken the point that inasmuch as there were two days still to run, and inasmuch as at all events it does not appear positively that the plaintiff had been to the debtor and learnt from the debtor that he did not propose to pay the money, that thereupon he cannot bring himself within the advantages conferred by Section 69. We think that is too narrow a view of the case. Every case must be judged on its own circumstances, and if any Court holds that the plaintiff before, it, who is asking for reimbursement of money paid, because some one else who was bound to pay has failed to pay, acted reasonably and prudently, that would be sufficient to entitle him to maintain the action. We are of opinion in the circumstances that the plaintiff did Act reasonably and, therefore, the appeal must be allowed and there will be a decree in the form of the prayer of the plaintiff, to be found at page 7 of the Court Paper-Book.
3. As regards respondents Nos. 16 and 17, Mr. Durga Charan Banerji appears for them and on the opening of his argument Mr. Panna Lal admitted that he could not press his claim against them.
4. The appeal is allowed with costs and fees on the higher scale as against all the respondents', except Nos. 16 and 17, and the Order as far as they are concerted is that those respondents do have their costs of this appeal with fees on the higher scale.
5. There is a cross-objection which Mr. Sen does not press. It is dismissed with costs and fees on the higher scale.