1. Both these revisions may be conveniently disposed of by one judgment, as the points involved are common to both of them though the facts are different. Two suits were filed in which the plaintiffs claimed certain sums of money as unpaid value of value Payable Parcels sent by them to different persons through the defendant.
(2. In Small Cause Court Suit No. 31 of 1930 out of which Civil Revision No. 363 of 195] has arisen, the plaintiff Mamma Prasad claimed Rs. 76-12-0 as unpaid value of four Value Payable Parcels alleged to have been sent by him to different persons through the defendant. The details of the above Value Payable Parcels arc as follows:--
1. V.P.P. No. 1514 for Rs. 15-2-0 sent on 1-3-47.
2. VPP No. 1739 for Rs. 13-3-0 sent on 10-1-48.
3. V.P.P. No. 149 for Rs. 33-6-0 sent on 21-2-49.
4. V.P.P. No. 278 for Rs. 15-1-0 sent on 15-2-47.
3. The suit was contested, inter alia, on the ground that the value payable in respect of the Value Payable Parcels Nos. 278 and 1739 had been paid to the plaintiff. As regards Nos. 1514 and 149, it was pleaded that no money was realised by the defendant, so it was not liable for it. It was further stated that the papers relating to No. 1514 were not traceable and the money realised for Value Payable Parcel No. 149 was withheld by the Pakistan Government due to some monetary dead-lock. The defendant not having actually received the amount could not be held liable for its payment to the plaintiff. Want of a valid notice and limitation were also pleaded.
4. It was not disputed that the defendant had realised the amounts in respect of Value Payable Parcels Nos. 278 and 1739. The trial Court accepted the deiendant's case that the amount due in respect of Value Payable Parcel No. 273 was duly paid to the plaintiff. So far as the claim regarding Value Payable Parcels No. 1739 was concerned, it remarked that no evidence was produced by the defendant to prove its payment to the plain till so the plaintiff was entitled to the amount oi the Value Payable Parcel.
It also allowed the claim in respect of Value Payable Parcel No. 1514 as that parcel had been entrusted to the custody of the defendant but it had not satisfactorily accounted for it. The claim about Value Payable Parcel No. 149 too was allowed as it was not seriously disputed that the amount had been realised from the addressee by some person authorised by the defendant to receive it, but bad been withheld by the Pakistan Government due to monetary dead-lock between the defendant and that Government.
5. In the result, the trial Court decreed the plaintiff's suit in respect of Value Payable Parcels Nos. 1514, 1739 and 149 but dismissed it in respect of the Value Payable Parcel No. 278.
6. In the other connected revision the plaintiff Anant Ram Pandey claimed a sum of Rs. 202-5-0 as unpaid value of fourteen Value Payable Parcels alleged to have been sent be him to different persons through the defendant's post office. During the pendency of the suit in the Court below the defendant paid the value of eleven of the Value Payable Parcels but controversy remained between the parties regarding the amounts of the following three items totalling Rs. 81-8-0.
1. V.P.P. No. 858 for Rs. 17-0-0 sent on 2-2-48.
2. V.P.P. No. 129 for Rs. 48-12-0 sent on 27-7-48.
3. V.P.P. No. 173 for Rs. 15-12-0 sent on 29-7-48.
7. The defendant denied liability for these amounts on grounds similar to those taken in the connected revision, the main plea being that the defendant could not be held liable as the amount had been withheld by the Pakistan Government. As in the other suit, the pleas were overruled and the suit was decreed for a sum of Rs. 81-8-0. In both the suits the pleas of limitation, multifariousness and want of valid notice were also rejected.
8. The defendant in both the suits has come up in revision to this Court.
9. The first point that has been raised by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the applicant is that the decrees are bad as the defendant was protected by the proviso to Section 34 of the Indian Post Office Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act). Section 34 of the Act runs as follows:--
'The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette direct that, subject to the other provisions of this Act and tothe payment of fees at such rates as may be fixed by the notification, a sum of money specified in writing at the time of posting by the sender of a postal article, shall be recoverable on the delivery thereof from the addressee, and that the sum, so recovered, shall be paid to the senders;
Provided that the Central Government shall not incur any liability in respect of the sum specified for recovery, unless and until that sum has been received from the addressee.
Explanation -- Postal articles sent in accordance with the provisions of this Section may be described as 'Value-payable' postal articles.'.
10. This Section can protect the Central Government only when the money has not been received from the addressee by it. In the present case the money was received from the adressee but it had been withheld by the Pakistan Government due to monetary dead-lock between the two Governments. The money was received from the addressee by the Post Offices in Pakistan which, in the circumstances, must be held to have been acting as agents of the defendant.
The defendant-applicant could not therefore plead that it had not received the money from the addressee. The omission of its agent to hand over the amount to the defendant could not affect the plaintiff's right to get the money from the defendant. The liability of the defendant to pay the amounts of the Value Payable Parcels entrusted by the plaintiff to it therefore remained in tact. The proviso to Section 34 of the Act could not be of any avail to the defendant. In my opinion there is no force in the first contention of the learned counsel.
11. The second ground that has been urged is that the plaintiffs not having made the claim regarding these items of the Value Payable Parcels within a period of one year as provided by Rule 102 of the rules framed under the Act, their claim was burred. The trial Court on the evidence on the record found it as a fact in both the suits that the claims were made within a period of one year. On that basis it rejected the defendant's plea regarding the bar of limitation. The finding of fact must be respected in revision. Moreover I have satisfied myself by looking into the record that the view taken by the Court below is a correct one.
12. Lastly, it has been argued that Clause (c) of Section 48 of the Act barred the suit. The Clause runs as follows:--
'Section 48. No suit or other legal proceedings shall be instituted against the Government or any officer of the Post Office in respect of --
(a) ..........; or
(b) ..........; or
(c) .......... the payment of any money
order being refused or delayed by, or on account of, any accidental neglect, omission or mistake, by or on the part of, an officer of the Post Office, or for any other cause whatsoeverother than the fraud or wilful act or default of such officer; or
(d) any wrong payment of a money order after the expiration of one year from the date of the issue of the Order; or
(e) any wrong payment or delay in payment of a money order beyond the limit of India by an officer of any Post Office, not being one established by the Central Government.'
13. This plea has also no substance in it. Section 48 aeals with money orders and not with value-payable parcels. It conies under the heading 'Money Orders' in Ch. IX of the Act, while Section 34 of the Act which deals with value-payable parcels is to be found in Ch. VI of the Act. Money Orders and value-payable parcels have been put on distinct and different footings. Separate chapters have been devoted to them. The defendant cannot, therefore, in the present case invoke Clause (c) of Section 48 which deals with money orders only, as here the amounts claimed are in respect of value-payable parcels. In my opinion the view taken in both the cases was correct and in accordance with law.
14. There are no merits in either of thetwo revisions and I accordingly dismiss both ofthem with costs.