Section 42 in The Indian Contract Act, 1872
Title: Devolution of joint liabilities.
When two or more persons have made a joint promise, then, unless a contrary intention appears by the contract, all such persons, during their joint lives, and, after the death of any of them, his representative jointly with the survivor or survivors, and, after the death of the last survivor, the representatives of all jointly, must fulfil the promise.
Title: Any one of joint promisors may be compelled to perform.
When two or more persons make a joint promise, the promisee may, in the absence of express agreement to the contrary, compel any 1[one or more] of such joint promisors to perform the whole of the promise.
Each promisor may compel contribution.Each of two or more joint promisors may compel every other joint promisor to contribute equally with himself to the performance of the promise, unless a contrary intention appears from the contract.
Sharing of loss by default in contribution.If any one of two or more joint promisors makes default in such contribution, the remaining joint promisors must bear the loss arising from such default in equal shares.
Explanation. Nothing in this section shall prevent a surety from recovering from his principal, payments made by the surety on behalf of the principal, or entitle the principal to recover anything from the surety on account of payments made by the principal.
(a) A, B and C jointly promise to pay D 3,000 rupees. D may compel either A or B or C to pay him 3,000 rupees.
(b) A, B and C jointly promise to pay D the sum of 3,000 rupees. C is compelled to pay the whole. A is insolvent, but his assets are sufficient to pay one-half of his debts. C is entitled to receive 500 rupees from A's estate, and 1,250 rupees from B.
(c) A, B and C are under a joint promise to pay D 3,000 rupees. C is unable to pay anything, and A is compelled to pay the whole. A is entitled to receive 1,500 rupees from B.
(d) A, B and C are under a joint promise to pay D 3,000 rupees, A and B being only sureties for C. C fails to pay. A and B are compelled to pay the whole sum. They are entitled to recover it from C.
1. Subs. by Act 12 of 1891, s. 2 and the Second Schedule, Pt. I, for "one".
Title: Effect of release of one joint promisor.
Where two or more persons have made a joint promise, a release of one of such joint promisors by the promisee does not discharge the other joint promisor or joint promisors neither does it free the joint promisors so released from responsibility to the other joint promisor or joint promisors1.
1. See s. 138, infra.
Title: Devolution of joint rights.
When a person has made a promise to two or more persons jointly, then, unless a contrary intention appears from the contract, the right to claim performance rests, as between him and them, with them during their joint lives, and, after the death of any of them, with the representative of such deceased person jointly with the survivor or survivors, and, after the death of the last survivor, with the representatives of all jointly1
A, in consideration of 5,000 rupees, lent to him by B and C, promises B and C jointly to repay them that sum with interest on a day specified. B dies. The right to claim performance rests with B's representative jointly with C during C's life, and after the death of C with the representatives of B and C jointly.
1. For an exception to s. 45 in case of Government securities, see the Public Debt Act, 1944 (18 of 1944). s. 8.
Title: Time for performance of promise, when no application is to be made and no time is specified.
Where, by the contract, a promisor is to perform his promise without application by the promisee, and no time for performance is specified, the engagement must be performed within a reasonable time.
Explanation.—The question "what is a reasonable time" is, in each particular case, a question of fact.