1. This appeal arises out of a suit for damages for short delivery of parcels of hide consigned by the plaintiffs to the defendant Company at a station on their line for carriage to Howrali, on the East Indian Railway. A risk-note was signed by the plaintiffs' servant in virtue of which the goods in question were conveyed at a lower rate. According to this note the Company is liable for the loss of one or more complete packages forming part of a consignment through the wilful neglect of the Railway administration, provided that the term 'wilful neglect' be not held to be fire, robbery from a running train or other unforeseen event or accident. Five of the packages which were consigned by the plaintiffs were not delivered at Howrah, and it is in respect of these packages that the suit was brought.
2. Both the Courts below have decreed the plaintiffs' claim. The lower appellate Court in its judgment finds that the loss of the goods was due to the negligence of the Railway, that the waggon in which they were carried was not properly fastened, and that the means used by the railway for the safe carrying of goods were quite ineffective and that thefts were constant. Then he refers to an answer made by a servant of the East Indian Railway to a question put to him as to the security of the fastening of the doors of their waggons and he observes'' The methods they use are such' that to quote one of the East Indian Railway servants,'' the opening of a waggon can be easily done by any body.'
3. Now if the Railway Company had knowledge, as we assume from the finding of the Court below it had, that the fastening of the doors of their waggons was absolutely in secure and ineffective, and that constant thefts were taking place, it was their duty to see that these fastenings were made more secure so that goods of consignors might be carried over the line with reasonable security. Upon the evidence the Court below has found that there was on the part of the Railway Company wilful neglect. We should not be disposed to differ with it as to this in view of the statement of the servant of the East Indian Railway Company which we have quoted.
4. Then it is said that the loss in question has been proved to have taken place not on the defendants' line but on the East Indian Railway line and it is argued that the defendant Company are not responsible for the loss which occurred on another system. This argument is met, we think, satisfactorily by the provisions of Section 80 of the Indian Railways Act, IX of 1890. That section provides that suits for compensation for, amongst other things, loss of goods where the goods are booked through over the Rail-ways of two or more Railway administrations may be brought either against the Rail-way administration to which the goods were delivered by the consignor or against the Railway administration on whose Railway the loss occurred.
5. The Railway Company receiving goods for carriage over a foreign Railway is liable for loss of the goods even though the loss did not occur upon their system.
6. In view of the findings of fact, this appeal has, in our opinion, no force, we dismiss it with costs, including fees in this Court on the higher scale.