Rampini and Pratt, JJ.
1. This is an appeal from a decision of the Subordinate Judge of Birbhoom, dated the 25th of August 1897, decreeing specific performance of a certain contract.
2. The facts of the case are that the plaintiffs contracted with two putnidars, defendants Nos. 6 and 11, for the lease of a tank and certain land, and that these defendants agreed to give them this lease on behalf of themselves and their co-sharers. Subsequently the defendants Nos. 1 to 4, well knowing of the arrangement which had been made with the plaintiffs, succeeded in inducing certain of the other defendants to give them a lease of the same property after paying them a certain sum for salami and a certain sum as a bribe.
3. Now the Subordinate Judge has given the plaintiffs a decree for specific performance of the lease granted to them, with a declaration that the lease granted to the defendants Nos. 1 to 4 is null and void as against the plaintiffs.
4. The defendants Nos. 1 to 4 have appealed, and on their behalf it has been urged before us, first, that the putnidars were not made parties to the appeal in the Court below; secondly, that certain of the defendants are minors, and that a decree for specific performance of contract cannot be given against them; and, thirdly, that there is no sufficient proof of the authority of the defendants, Nos. 6 and 11, to grant the lease to the plaintiffs on behalf of their co-sharer putnidars.
5. We think, however, that there is no force in any of these contentions.
6. The defendants Nos. 1 to 4 are the only appellants. They are only concerned with the question as to whether their lease should stand or fall. It is perfectly clear that their lease cannot stand against the contract which was entered into by the putnidars and the plaintiffs. The Subordinate Judge has found as a fact that the defendants Nos. 1 to 4, with full knowledge of the agreement with the plaintiffs, took a lease from the putnidars; and therefore it is evident that the lease cannot stand.
7. Then as to the plea that a decree for specific performance of contract cannot be given against a minor, it is sufficient to refer to the case of Krishnasami v. Sundarappayyar (1894) I.L.R., 18 Mad., 415, in which the contrary has been held, and in which the ruling of Mr. Justice Norris, sitting alone in the case of Fatima Bibi v. Debnauth Shah (1893) I.L.R., 20 Cal., 509, has been dissented from. We have also been referred to Mr. Justice Trbvelyan's work on Minors, page 179, which, we think, is sufficient authority for saying that a decree for specific performance of contract can be given against a minor, when it is for his benefit that the contract should be performed, as we think is the case in this instance.
8. The third point is that the defendants Nos. 6 and 11 had no authority to enter into the contract with the plaintiffs; but there is a finding of fact by the lower Courts to the contrary. It has been found by both Courts that the defendants Nos. 6 and 11 were fully authorised to contract with the plaintiffs, and there is clear evidence to this effect on the record. It is shown that it was the custom of the putnidars that, whichever of their co-sharers went to the mahal, acted for all of them. There is, therefore, no want of authority on the part of the defendants Nos. 6 and 11, and the putnidar defendants, if they had appeared, would have been estopped from raising such a plea.
9. For these reasons we think that the decision of the Subordinate Judge must be affirmed, and we accordingly affirm it and dismiss this appeal with costs.