1. The first question in this civil revision petition is whether the bond sued on, Ex. A, is a slavery bond and, therefore, illegal and opposed to public policy. The District Munsif dismissed the suit solely on the ground that Ex. A is a slavery bond. The terms of the bond are that the executants Nos. 1 and 2 should do pannai work in lieu of interest on the said amount Rs. 100 and if they failed to do pannai work, without any delay, the plaintiff should be at liberty to realise the principal amount and the losses arising therefrom by proceeding against them personally and also against their properties. The terms of this bond differ materially from the terms of the bond which was the subject of consideration in Ram Sarup Bhagat v. Bansi Mandar (2) 51 Ind. Cas. 252 : (1919) M.W.N. 534 : 10 L.W. 202. Here there is no penal interest claimable under the bond. An option is given to the executants to do work or pay the principal sum. The amount is re-payable in three years. The terms of this bond are like the terms of the bond which was considered by Phillips, J., in Ponnusami v. Palayathan (2). [A] We think that the bond is not a slavery bond and its terms are not opposed to public policy.[a] But if the defendants, the executants of the bond did work to the plaintiff without being paid their wages for their work, then the value of the work would be out of all proportion to the interest that is payable on the principal amount. To make our meaning clear the wages payable to the defendants would be at least 12 annas a day and if they work for 30 days then their wages would come to Rs. 22-8-0 and that multiplied by 12 would come to Rs. 270 a year which would be the rate of interest on the bond and the plaintiff admitted in the plaint that they worked for nearly three years. If the plaintiff did not pay the ordinary wages payable to labourers of this class, then the plaintiff has been considerably overpaid, the principal and the interest on the bond. [B] The plaintiff's contention is that he did pay wages to the defendants but the District Munsif held that Section 92 of the Evidence Act was a bar to evidence being adduced of such payment. We do not think that the terms of the bond in any way preclude the Court from taking evidence on the point whether wages were paid or not to the defendants. The bond itself is silent as to the payment of wages and there is no negative covenant in the document that the defendants should not claim wages for work done. We, therefore, think that Section 92 of the Evidence Act does not bar the plaintiff from adducing evidence as regards the wages paid by him for work done by the defendants. [B] The lower Court will take evidence as to the amount of wages paid by the plaintiffs. [C]The value of the amount of work done by defendants without wages being paid off, the value of his work being calculated at the current rate of labour obtaining in that part of the District, will be set off against the principal of the bond. [C]
2. The defendants' plea in the District Munsif's Court was that the suit bond was not executed by them; in other words they pleaded forgery. The District Munsif has not tried this issue. He should first try this issue, viz., whether the bond was executed by the defendants in plaintiff's favour and if he finds that the bond was executed by defendants then he should proceed to consider the other issue, namely, whether the plaintiff paid any wages to the defendants and whether any work was done by the defendants without the wages being paid for such work. We set aside the decree of the District Munsif and remand the suit for trial in the light of the observations made above. We make no order as to the costs of this petition and the costs of the: suit will be provided for in the decree of the District Munsif.