Rasmut Ali And Ors. vs Asab Ali And Ors. on 14 December, 1916

Calcutta High Court
Rasmut Ali And Ors. vs Asab Ali And Ors. on 14 December, 1916
Equivalent citations: 38 Ind Cas 140
Bench: Fletcher, Richardson


1. This is an appeal from a decision of the learned District Judge of Tipperah, dated the 28th May 1914, reversing the decision of the Subordinate Judge of Comillah. Certain damages having been awarded against the plaintiffs and the defendants as wrongdoers or joint tortfeasors in a former suit, the amount was wholly satisfied by the plaintiffs. They now brought the present suit for contribution against the defendants. The Court of first instance decreed the suit. On appeal by some of the defendants who appear as respondents in this Court, the learned District Judge set aside the decree of the first Court, holding that when the civil injury for which the plaintiffs and the defendants were jointly held liable was committed, neither the plaintiffs nor the defendants believed that they had bona fide claims of right to act in the manner that they did act, which gave rise to the claims for damages in that former suit. In that view of the case, the learned Judge was clearly right in the conclusion of law that he came to. The general rule is that there is no contribution between joint tortfeasors and that it is only in cases that are mentioned more particularly in the judgment of the case of Hari Saran Maitra v. Jotindra Mohan Lahiri 5 C.W.N. 393, in which judgment the earlier authorities were fully reviewed, that the right of contribution arises between joint tortfeasors. Shortly it may be put that the right of contribution exists as an exception to the general rule where the parties become joint tortfeasors by inference of law Only. The findings of the learned Judge in this case are quite inconsistent with the plaintiffs and defendants becoming joint tortfeasors by inference of law. So, on that ground, the judgment of the learned Judge was correct.

2. But it has been objected by the appellants in this appeal that the appeal before the learned District Judge was preferred by only some of the defendants and that the other defendants did not prefer any appeal against any portion of the decree passed by the learned Subordinate Judge, still the learned District Judge in the course of his judgment not only decreed the appeal but dismissed the plaintiffs’ suit in toto. That obviously was wrong. The learned Judge had only before him the appeal of some of the persons who appear as defendants-respondents in this appeal. The judgment and decree of the learned District Judge will, therefore, be modified by restoring so much of the decree of the learned Subordinate Judge as was passed against the defendants other than those who appealed to the learned District Judge. The appellants must pay to the respondents who appear their costs in this appeal.

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