Skip to content


Mutsaddi Lal Vs. Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway Company and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLimitation
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported inAIR1920All157; (1920)ILR42All390
AppellantMutsaddi Lal
RespondentBombay, Baroda and Central India Railway Company and anr.
Excerpt:
.....1993 mah.lj 74; 1993 lab ic 1858 overruled]. - the plaintiff was subsequently informed that it was lying in the lost property office of the bombay, baroda and central india railway and that the plaintiff might take delivery if he liked......to pay to the plaintiff rs. 20 in satisfaction of his claim, but this offer was refused and the present suit was instituted for recovery of rs. 50 as compensation. this sum of r3. 50 comprised the following items, namely, rs. 40 for price of the bags; rs. 3-13-0 railway fare and rs. 6 for loss arising from the non-delivery of the bags in the sale of salt. the court below has dismissed the suit holding that it was time-barred under article 30 or 31 of schedule i of the indian limitation act, article 30, which provides for a suit for compensation against a carrier for losing or injuring goods, seems to be inapplicable to the present case, inasmuch as the defendants by their letters of the 3rd and 13th of february, 1914, informed the plaintiff that the bundle containing his goods was not.....
Judgment:

Pramada Charan Banerji, J.

1. The circumstances out of which this case has arisen are these: On the 16th of January, 1913, the plaintiff consigned to the Rohilkhand and Kumaun Railway at Ramnagar Station a bundle of gunny bags to be delivered to the Salt Superintendent, Sambhar, on the, Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway line. The bundle was not delivered. The plaintiff was subsequently informed that it was lying in the lost property office of the Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway and that the plaintiff might take delivery if he liked. No answer seems to have been given to the Railway. Subsequently by a letter of the 17th March, 1916, the Railway offered to pay to the plaintiff Rs. 20 in satisfaction of his claim, but this offer was refused and the present suit was instituted for recovery of Rs. 50 as compensation. This sum of R3. 50 comprised the following items, namely, Rs. 40 for price of the bags; Rs. 3-13-0 railway fare and Rs. 6 for loss arising from the non-delivery of the bags in the sale of salt. The court below has dismissed the suit holding that it was time-barred under Article 30 or 31 of Schedule I of the Indian Limitation Act, Article 30, which provides for a suit for compensation against a carrier for losing or injuring goods, seems to be inapplicable to the present case, inasmuch as the defendants by their letters of the 3rd and 13th of February, 1914, informed the plaintiff that the bundle containing his goods was not lost but was lying in their lost property office because delivery of it had not been claimed by any one. Article 31, however, seems to me exactly to cover the present case. That article provides for a suit against a carrier for compensation for -non-delivery of or delay in delivering goods. The present suit is against a carrier and it is a suit for compensation for non-delivery of the bundle which was consigned to the railway and should have been delivered by it. The limitation is one year from the date on which the goods were to have been delivered. In the present case the goods were despatched on the 16th of January, 1913, and at the outside they ought to have been delivered in about a month. Therefore the right of the plaintiff to sue for compensation arose about the middle of February, 1913. The suit, however, was not instituted until the 7th of January, 1919. So that on the face of the claim was instituted long beyond time. That Article 31 applies be a case of this kind appears from the ruling of this Court in the case of Great Indian Peninsula Railway Co v. Ganpat Rai(1911) I.L.R. 33 All. 544 (551). The same view was taken by the Bombay High Court in the ease of Haji Ajam Goolam Hoosein v. Bombay and Persia Steam Navigation Company (1902) I.L.R. 26 Bom. 562 (670). It has been urged that Article 31 applies to a suit by the consignee and not, as in this case, by the consignor. This contention is, in my opinion, untenable. The article is wide enough to include a suit brought by the consignor also. It provides for a. suit for compensation for non-delivery, that is, a suit by a person who by reason of non-delivery has sustained loss. There may be cases in which it is not the consignee who sustains loss but the consignor. In such cases it would be a suit By the consignor for compensation for non-delivery. In the present case the consignee had nothing to do with the bags. The consignor had purchased salt from the Salt Superintendent at Sambhar and was despatching empty gunny bags to be filled with the salt that he had purohased. He was the owner of the bags and the bags were to have come back to him. It is by reason of the non-delivery of the bags that he sustained the loss for which he seeks to be compensated. He sues to recover the value of the bags as also the damages which, he alleges, he sustained by reason of the salt not being received by him in time. The next contention on behalf of the applicant is that the letters of the 3rd of February, 1914, and the 13th of February, 1914, amounted to an acknowledgment of liability. I do not agree with this contention. These letters contain no acknowledgment of any description.. They only inform the plaintiff of the fact that the bundle consigned by him was lying at a certain, place and his instructions as to its disposal were being awaited. This does not amount to an acknowledgment. The last letter of the 17th of March, 1916, if it amounts to an acknowledgment, Was a letter written long after the expiry of limitation and cannot save its operation. If Article 31 applies to the present case, as I hold it does, the plaintiff's right to bring his suit arose in February, 1913, and he had one year within which to bring his, suit. His claim, if brought, would have been time-barred after February, 1914. The letter of the 17th of March, 1916 was written long after the claim had become time-barred. That letter, therefore, could not save the operation of limitation. It is lastly contended that the letter last mentioned amounted to a promise to pay and therefore the plaintiff is entitled to recover on the basis of that promise. In my opinion the letter could not be treated as a letter making a definite promise to pay a certain sum of money to the plaintiff. It was a letter offering to settle the claim at a certain amount. That offer was not accepted. The claim is not based upon any promise to pay and. cannot be regarded as such. Section 25 of the Contract Act, to which reference was made, does not seem to me to have any bearing upon the present question. I hold that the court below was right in its view that the claim is time-barred. I accordingly dismiss the application with costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //