1. We are of opinion that this appeal must fail. The promissory note was executed by the father of defendants 1 to 3 in 1918 and it was kept alive by him until he endorsed on it on the 6th of August of 1921 the payment of Rs. 82. That would keep the note alive until the 5th August, 1924. In the meantime the father, Ramaswami, died leaving the three defendants, his sons, surviving him. On the 5th of August, 1924, the second defendant paid Rs. 25 towards the debt and endorsed the payment. Six months before that, on the 6th of February, the second defendant was converted to Islam. Now it is clear that at the time of Ramaswami's death his sons were liable to pay the amount of this promissory note. The payment on the 5th of August, 1924, was made therefore by a person who was liable to pay the debt and under Section 20 of the Limitation Act a fresh period of limitation began from that date. On the 4th of August, 1927, second and third defendants paid Rs. 10 towards the debt and endorsed that payment. Therefore if the payment of 5th August, 1924, kept it alive until 4th August, 1927, the note was still alive on the 4th of August, 1930, when the suit was filed. We agree with the learned District Munsiff and the learned Subordinate Judge in holding that the conversion of the second defendant to Islam in February, 1924, cannot operate to rid him of his liability for the debt due under the promissory note. We have been referred to the case of Pangudaya Pillai v. Uthandiya Pillai : AIR1938Mad774 . But we find we cannot derive any help from that case. That was a case in which the promissory note was executed by the eldest of the three brothers and it was held that after partition the endorsement of payment by the eldest brother would not bind the younger brothers. It is clear that the principle of pious obligation cannot enter into a case like that. In this case we are in agreement with the learned Subordinate Judge and the learned District Munsiff. In paragraph 11 of his judgment, the learned Subordinate Judge observes:
Under Section 20, if the person making a payment is one liable to pay the debt, the payment would keep alive the debt even as against other persons, provided those other persons are liable whether or not the former was joint with the latter or possessed a representative character at the time of payment. Here in the present case, Ramaswami, the maker of the note, was only liable to pay the debt, and his liability continued till his death even after his conversion. On the theory of pious obligation, the sons also became liable as soon as the note was executed, and each one of them is a person liable to pay the debt within the meaning of Section 20. Further on the death of Ramaswami, each one of his sons as his heir or representative became liable to pay the debt to the extent of his interest in his (Ramaswami's) separate properties.
2. This we think is a correct statement of the law. It follows that this appeal must be dismissed with costs.
3. We have been asked to say that this decision will not prejudice any application which the defendants may be advised to make under Section 19 of the Madras Act IV of 1938.