1. We are invited in this Rule to set aside a decree by which the Court below has dismissed a suit for recovery of money due upon an agreement. There was no substantial controversy as to the circumstances under which the agreement was made or was sought to be enforced.
2. One Bibi Hasan Banu had a dispute with the defendant and the respondent asked the plaintiff to intervene and have the dispute settled. The plaintiff was a friend of the father-in-law of this lady and the defendant was anxious that he should exercise his influence with the members of the family to effect a compromise of the dispute. At the same time, he promised to pay the plaintiff a sum of Rs. 300 as his remuneration, if the compromise was satisfactorily effected. The dispute has been settled and the plaintiff now seeks to recover the promised money from the defendant. The defendant pleads that the agreement is opposed to public policy and is not enforceable in view of the provisions of Section 23 of the Indian Contract Act. The learned Small Cause Court Judge has given effect to this contention and dismissed the suit although he has found that this agreement as alleged by the plaintiff has been proved. In our opinion, the view taken by the Judge cannot be supported. That there was consideration for the agreement cannot be disputed. The only question is whether the consideration or object of the agreement was lawful.
3. Section 23 of the Indian Contract Act provides that the consideration or object of an agreement is lawful unless it is forbidden by law, or is of such a nature that, if permitted, it would defeat the provisions of any law, or is fraudulent or involves or implies injury to the person or property of another, or the Court regards it as immoral or opposed to public policy. In the case before us, it is manifest that the agreement is not forbidden by law, nor is it of such a nature that if permitted, it would defeat the provisions of any law. On the other hand, the agreement was for a purpose which is encouraged by Courts of Justice with a view to shorten litigation. If the parties to a suit come to a settlement, the Court will give effect to the compromise under ordinary circumstances. There is no suggestion that the object of the agreement in this case was fraudulent; it has not even been suggested that the plaintiff should employ any fraudulent means with a view to effect a settlement of the dispute between the parlies. Nor is it shown that the agreement involves or implies injury to the person or property of another. The sole question, therefore, is whether the Court should regard the consideration or object of the agreement as immoral or opposed to public policy. Now, it has, no doubt, been held that agreements for stifling prosecution are opposed to public policy on the principle that no one shall make a trade of felony. But the same principle does not apply to a civil dispute. It has even been held that a compromise of proceedings which are criminal only in form and really involved private rights may be lawful Amir Khan v. Amir Jan 3 C.W.N. 5. In our opinion, upon no conceivable principle can it be maintained that an agreement to remunerate a person in order that he may exercise his influence to effect a settlement between two persons, one of whom enters into the agreement, is in any way immoral or opposed to public policy.
4. The result, therefore, is that this Rule is made absolute, the decree of the Small Cause Court Judge set aside and a decree made in favour of the plaintiff with costs both here and in the Court below. We assess the hearing fee in this Court at one gold mohur. The decree will be made against the defendant described as Wazir-ul-Huq alias Nazir-ul-Huq.