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Bhagwan Das Lachhmi NaraIn Vs. B.N. Ry. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1929All597a
AppellantBhagwan Das Lachhmi Narain
RespondentB.N. Ry.
Cases ReferredRy. Co. Ltd. v. Diana Mal
Excerpt:
- .....on the point was met on two grounds, namely there was in fact no loss, there being no fall in the market value and that, in any case, the plaintiff was bound to give a notice under section 77, railways act, before instituting a suit. this part of the claim has been dismissed on both the grounds.2. if i had thought that the suit could be maintained without a notice, i would have sent back the case for a retrial on the ground that the learned judge was prejudiced by the fact that the plaintiff had not furnished any particulars of his claim for damages along with the plaint. nobody had asked the plaintiff to furnish particulars and this omission on the plaintiff's part should not have been the cause of dismissal.3. section 77, railway act requires thatwhere a person claims compensation.....
Judgment:

Mukerji, J.

1. This is an application in revision against the decree of the Judge, Small Cause Court and arises under the following circumstances. The applicant firm indented some rice from a place called Burdaura served by the B.N. Ry. The goods were consigned to where the applicant lived namely Deoria in the District of Gorakhpur. Unluckily, the railway receipt was made out to show that the goods were sent to a place called Jalalpur. In spite of this fact, a part of the consignment arrived at Deoria, nobody could tell how, on 14th April 1927. It was not till 8th May 1927 that the remaining portion of the consignment was received in Deoria and handed over to the plaintiff. The plaintiff-applicant, thereupon, brought his suit out of which this application has arisen to recover certain amounts of money including a sum of Rs. 230 as damages. The claim for damages was based on the allegation that by the time the goods arrived, the market for the goods (rice) fell and the plaintiff suffered a loss. The claim on the point was met on two grounds, namely there was in fact no loss, there being no fall in the market value and that, in any case, the plaintiff was bound to give a notice under Section 77, Railways Act, before instituting a suit. This part of the claim has been dismissed on both the grounds.

2. If I had thought that the suit could be maintained without a notice, I would have sent back the case for a retrial on the ground that the learned Judge was prejudiced by the fact that the plaintiff had not furnished any particulars of his claim for damages along with the plaint. Nobody had asked the plaintiff to furnish particulars and this omission on the plaintiff's part should not have been the cause of dismissal.

3. Section 77, Railway Act requires that

where a person claims compensation for... deterioration... of goods delivered to be carried....

the would-be plaintiff shall prefer a claim in writing within six months of the date of the delivery of the goods for carriage by the railway. The contention of the respondents is that the deterioration would cover the fall in the market value of the goods concerned. There seems to be a conflict of opinion among the authorities on this point. A Madras case, viz., Madras Ry. Co. v. Govind Rau [1898] 21 Mad. 172 and a Lahore case, Indian General Navigation and Ry. Co. v. Harcharan Das [1912] 233 P.L.R. 1912 held that the word 'deterioration' would include a loss in the market value of the property and not only a depreciation in the quality of the goods. In a more recent case, E. I Ry. Co. Ltd. v. Diana Mal-Gulab Singh A.I.R. 1925 Lah. 255 the Lahore High Court held a contrary view, but it does not appear that the previous case in the same Court had been brought to its notice. A surer guide in the meaning of the word is furnished by the New English Dictionary of Murray. There, the word 'deterioration' is shown as bearing the import of impairment of quality or value.

4. It appears to me that cases of late delivery must be occurring very often with the railways and in such circumstances, parties to the consignment would be prone to claim compensation. If the authors of the Railway Act were anxious to provide for loss, destruction etc., of the goods in transit, there was no reason why they should forget to provide for the loss of the value of goods owing to delay in delivery. I am of opinion that 'deterioration' does not include a loss in the value of the goods consigned owing to a delay in delivery. The result is that the application fails and it is hereby dismissed with costs.


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