Brief of the case
The plaintiff accepted a vakalatnama from the defendant to act for him in a certain suit on receiving usual fee. The defendant further agreed to pay him a special sum in the form of reward if the suit was decided in his favour. The suit was decided in the favour of the deendant who refused to pay the reward. The plaintiff sued for the recovery of the reward. It was held that there was no fresh consideration for the agreement to receive reward from the side of the plaintiff and he was bound to render his best services after receiving the fee.
Facts of the case
On the 19th August 1875, the plaintiff accepted a vakalatnama from the defendant to act for him in a certain suit. On the 11th August, issues were settled, and witnesses examined and the suit was then adjourned to the 16th October following. On that day! the defendant executed in favour of the plaintiff an agreement; called therein an “inam chitti whereby the defendant agreed, to pay to his vakil the plaintiff a certain sum as inam if the suit was decided in defendant’s favour, and the plaintiff’s claim: therein was rejected, or if it were amicably settled or razinama given in default of punctual payment of the defendant agreed to pay interest thereon. The agreement stated: that besides the amount of the certain earnest money and the amount of the vakil’s full fee had been, debited by the plaintiff to the defendant at the latter’s direction. The suit was decided in favour of the defendant who however; did not pay the amount of the inam to the plaintiff. The plaintiff, therefore, brought the present suit upon the agreement.
Legal issues raised
Whether the agreement to pay a reward on winning of the suit for which the fee has already been paid is valid?
Whether there was a consideration from the side of the plaintiff for the agreement of inam?
Michael Westropp, C.J.
We are of opinion that the agreement was executed without consideration, and thus being a “nudum pactum”, the suit founded upon it is unsustainable. The plaintiff, having accepted a vakalatnama from the defendants upwards of two months previously to the execution of the agreement, was already bound to render his best services as a pleader to them in suit No. 723 of 1875, and had, as appears from the agreement itself, accepted that vakalatnama upon the terms of receiving him usual fee as a pleader. It must not, however, be supposed that we regard the appearance of that circumstance on the face of the agreement as a matter of importance. It is one which, in the absence of any express stipulation to the contrary, the law would imply when a pleader is retained by a party to a suit. There was no fresh consideration proceeding from the plaintiff when he obtained the agreement of the 16th October; He could not be more firmly bound by it to render to the defendants his professional services than he already was by the acceptance of the vakalatnama. It may be noted, too, that the agreement, appropriately enough, describes itself as an inam chithi. Not, indeed, that this is of any importance, in as much as, even if this were not so, it would be sufficiently manifest that the promise to pay the sum of Rs. 61, in addition to the ordinary fee and earnest money mentioned in the agreement, was utterly without consideration. The District Judge should be informed that the plaintiff’s suit should be dismissed with costs.
The plaintiff’s suit was dismissed on the ground that the agreement on the inam was utterly without consideration and hence void.