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Devolution of joint rights

When a person has made a promise to two or more persons jointly, the rule is called the devolution of joint rights. The rules regarding devolution of joint rights are contained in Sec. 45 of the Indian Contract Act which is as under:
  • All the promisees must jointly claim the performance
  • If any of them die, their legal representatives must jointly along with the surviving joint promisors, must claim the performance
  • On the death of all the joint promisees, the legal representatives of all of them must jointly claim the performance

Ram, in consideration of ₹ 5,000 lent to him by Rahim and Robert, promises to repay them that sum with interest on a specified day. Rahim dies. The right to claim the performance rests with Rahim’s representative jointly with Robert during Robert’s life and after the death of Robert, the legal representatives of Rahim and Robert jointly.


Note: The right to claim performance is “joint and not several” i.e. all the promisees can claim the performance of the contract jointly.

If the promisor discharges the whole of his obligation to one of the joint promisee then he is not released of his liability towards the other joint promisees. In other words the promisor needs to perform his promise to all the promisees jointly.

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