1. This is an appeal on behalf of the defendant in a suit for rent. The question of law which requires consideration is whether the decree in a previous suit for rent by a co sharer of the plaintiff against the defendant, is admissible in evidence in proof of the rate of rent. The District Judge, in support of the view that the decree is admissible in evidence, has pointed out that the plaintiff was made a pro forma defendant in the previous suit for rent and has relied upon the decision of the Judicial Committee in the case of Ram Ranjan v. Ram Narain 22 C. 533 : 22 I.A. 60. Against this view, it has been argued for the appellant, on the authority of the decisions in the cases of Abdul Ali v. Rai Chandra Das 10 C.W.N. 1084 and Tepu Khan v. Rajani Mohun Das 25 C. 522, 2 C.W.N. 501, that the decree is not admissible in evidence, because it was obtained by a co-sharer landlord. In our opinion, there is no foundation for this contention. The case of Abdul Ali v. Raj Chandra Das 10 C.W.N. 1084, where it was stated that a decree by a co-sharer landlord is not admissible in evidence as to the rate of rent in a suit brought by another co-sharer, does not lay down any inflexible rule of law, and is clearly distinguishable; in that case, the subject-matter of the two suits was different and the plaintiff in the later suit was not a party to the previous suit. Similarly, in the case of Tepu Khan v. Rajani Mohun Das 25 C. 522, 2 C.W.N. 501 it was pointed out that the decree was not admissible because the title to the one-third share in dispute in one of the suits was different from the title to the share in controversy in the other litigation. In our opinion, the true test to be applied in a case of this description is, whether or not the decree obtained in the previous suit is relevant for the determination of the question raised in the subsequent suit. To take a concrete illustration: suppose the allegation is that the defendant holds on one contract of tenancy under a body of landlords, each of whom collects rent proportionately to his share; it is clear that the decree obtained by one co-sharer landlord is relevant to prove the terms of the entire contract of tenancy, and, therefore, to prove the rate of rent at which another co-sharer is entitled to collect rent. On the other hand, assume the allegation to be that the tenant holds on distinct contracts of tenancy under different landlords; a decree obtained by one co sharer would not be relevant to prove the terms on which the tenant holds under a co-sharer. This is the true import of the observation of Sir James Maclean, C.J. in Tepu Khan v. Rajani Mohan Das 25 C. 522, 2 C.W.N. 501 that the title to the share in dispute in the later suit was not identical with the title of the share in controversy in the earlier litigation. Tested from this point of view, the contention of the appellant in the case before us must be overruled. The tenant holds on one contract of tenancy under the entire body of landlords; each co-sharer claims to collect rent proportionately to his share of an entire sum: this explains how the present plaintiff was joined as a pro forma defendant in the former suit by his co-sharer; the decree obtained therein is clearly relevant to prove the entire rent and thus admissible to establish the allegation of the plaintiff.
2. The result is that the decree of the District Judge must be affirmed and this appeal dismissed with costs.
3. It is conceded that this judgment will govern the other appeal (S. A. No. 1400 of 1910), which is also dismissed with costs.