1. This appeal arises out of a suit for contribution. The plaintiff and the defendants are the heirs of some recorded tenants. The landlord brought a suit against the plaintiff for rent of the whole holding of the recorded tenants and succeeded in obtaining a decree against him. The plaintiff paid the full decretal amount and he now seeks for contribution from his co-sharers. In the lower Appellate Court his claim has been held to be good under Section 69 of the Contract Act.
2. It is now argued before us that this finding is wrong because the plaintiff was under a legal liability to pay the rent, and that, therefore, the case falls under the ruling laid down in the case of Maharaja Manindra Chander Nandy Bahadur v. Jamuhar Kumari Bibi 2 C.W.N. 670 : 32 C. 643. Without discussing the question how far this ruling has been followed in other cases in this Court or the further question of the liability of the co-sharer tenants in respect of rent of the holding, we are of opinion that this case certainly falls under Section 70 of the Contract Act, a point which has not actually been decided by the lower Appellate Court. The plaintiff in this case, no doubt, lawfully paid the money in question. Without attempting to define so general a term as the word 'lawfully' we should like to refer to the judgment of the Chief Justice in the case of Mohendra Ghoshal v. Bhuban Mardana 38 C. 1 : 14 C.W.N. 945 : 12 C.L.J. 566 : 6 Ind. Cas. 810 where lawful payment is contrasted to officious payment. This being a payment of rent, for a part of which the plaintiff was certainly liable, and for the rest of which he might be liable, we cannot hold that the payment by him was officious, as it would have been if it had been made by a stranger to the suit for his benefit, or if it had been of a speculative nature such as is referred to in the case of Ram Tuhul Singh v. Beseswar Lall Sahoo 21 A. 131 : 15 B.L.R. 208 : 23 W.R. 305. Further, in this case the plaintiff paid 'for another,' namely, the defendants, because he knew that the payment which he made was for their benefit, and there is no evidence of fraud or improper dealings on his part, He thus made the payment for the defendants under Section 70, Contract Act. It needs no argument that the defendants have enjoyed the benefit of the payment because they have been relieved of the liability to pay the rent which the plaintiff had paid. It is to be observed in this connection that it is the case of the defendants that the plaintiff was bound to make the payment that he did, which is said to support the argument that Section 69 does not apply. Without, therefore, considering whether Section 69 does apply or not we hold that Section 70 does apply and we accordingly uphold the decision of the lower Appellate Court and dismiss this appeal with costs.