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The Great Indian Peninsular Railway Company Vs. Firm Bhola Nath-debi Das - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported in70Ind.Cas.854
AppellantThe Great Indian Peninsular Railway Company
RespondentFirm Bhola Nath-debi Das
Excerpt:
railways act (ix of 1890), section 73(2)(a) - risk-note, ferm b--'robbery,' meaning of. - .....any loss, destruction, or deterioration of, or damage to, the said consignment due either to the wilful neglect of the railway administration or to theft by or to the wilful neglect of its servants. there was a proviso to the effect that 'wilful neglect' be not held to include fire, robbery from a running train or any other unforeseen event of accident.' it has been found that the bale was stolen during transit. the learned judge of the court of small causes has given the plaintiff a decree on the ground that the railway administration were liable. it seems to me that the learned judge has misdirected himself. he says 'in short what the risk-note means is supernatural causes or reasons over which the railway servants in charge of a train may not have any control. it would seem, that.....
Judgment:

Ryves, J.

1. This suit was brought by the consignee of two bales of yarn, despatched from Bombay to a station on the Great Indian Peninsular Railway, to recover the value of one of the bales which was lost in transit. The goods were consigned under Risk-Note, Form B, according to which the consignor held the Railway free from all responsibility for any loss, destruction, or deterioration of, or damage to, the said consignment due either to the wilful neglect of the Railway Administration or to theft by or to the wilful neglect of its servants. There was a proviso to the effect that 'wilful neglect' be not held to include fire, robbery from a running train or any other unforeseen event of accident.' It has been found that the bale was stolen during transit. The learned Judge of the Court of Small Causes has given the plaintiff a decree on the ground that the Railway Administration were liable. It seems to me that the learned Judge has misdirected himself. He says 'in short what the Risk-Note means is supernatural causes or reasons over which the Railway servants in charge of a train may not have any control. It would seem, that whilst the loss of goods from a running train by reason of any supernatural cause or robbery would not be construed as due to 'wilful neglect' of the servants of the Railway, any other cause short of the above would be so construed. Therefore, simple theft from a running train would be construed as due to the wilful neglect of the Railway servants. The reason is clear. It is, that it may not be possible for the Railway which is after all a human institutions to fight against the supernatural; and, similarly, whether owing to the seriousness of attack, or the odds being against the Railway servants, the latter might find themselves powerless to resist a band of robbers.' In other words, the learned Judge seems to think that robbery from a running train means something very much more serious than theft from a running train. It seems to me that the word 'robbery' there is used really as synonymous with theft, and not in the sense as defined by the Penal Code. I think that this is the right interpretation and that if the learned Judge had interpreted the Risk-Note in this sense he would not have given the decree which the has. In my opinion, therefore, this application must succeed and the decree of the Court below set aside. I do make no order as to costs.


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