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B.N.W. Railway Vs. Firm Manorath Bhagat Dhian Ram and - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported in84Ind.Cas.794
AppellantB.N.W. Railway
RespondentFirm Manorath Bhagat Dhian Ram And; B.B. and C.i. Railway
Cases ReferredNorth Western Railway Company v. Haji Mutsaddi
Excerpt:
railway company - risk note b--loss of packager--damages, suit for--wilful neglect--burden of proof--civil procedure code (act v of 1908), section 115--revision--high court, when can interfere. - - 418. a reference to the facts as stated on page 321 would indicate that probably the court below had there laid the burden of proof on the railway company and held that the company had failed to discharge that burden......a piece of twine and seals were put on the doors, but admittedly the doors were not locked. the learned judge of the small cause court had before him evidence that thefts were constant so much so that about 10 wagons with broken seals were discovered every month, and that in spite of this circumstance no precautions were taken to lock the wagons or to keep any extra watch on the trains or the stations. the learned judge was not bound to bring on record the whole of the oral evidence which was tendered before him, nor was he bound to refer in his judgment to all the evidence that had been produced before him. he has, however, referred to the above mentioned circumstances in the judgment, and has then recorded a categorical finding that the five bags were lost and that it was proved.....
Judgment:

Sulaiman, J.

1. This is a civil revision from the decree of a learned Judge of the Court of Small Causes. 93 bags were despatched in one wagon from Turtipur to Agra in a goods train. When the train arrived at Magarwara Station it was reported to the Station Master that a door of the wagon was open. He re sealed the door. When the train arrived at Cawnpore, the contents of the wagon were checked and it was discovered that five bags were missing. Then the goods were despatched they were placed in the wagon which had been fastened with a piece of twine and seals were put on the doors, but admittedly the doors were not locked. The learned Judge of the Small Cause Court had before him evidence that thefts were constant so much so that about 10 wagons with broken seals were discovered every month, and that in spite of this circumstance no precautions were taken to lock the wagons or to keep any extra watch on the trains or the stations. The learned Judge was not bound to bring on record the whole of the oral evidence which was tendered before him, nor was he bound to refer in his judgment to all the evidence that had been produced before him. He has, however, referred to the above mentioned circumstances in the judgment, and has then recorded a categorical finding that the five bags were lost and that it was proved that they were lost by the wilful neglect on the part of the Railway Administration in not securing the wagon properly and the wilful neglect of its servants in not watching it properly. The learned Advocate for the applicant contends before us that the learned Judge of the Court below was not justified in drawing this inference from the above circumstances. He urges that the question of wilful neglect is a mixed question of law and fact and that it is open to this Court to go into the matter. It cannot be disputed that when a suit is instituted for damages for the loss of certain packages the burden lies on the plaintiff in the first instance to prove the wilful neglect or negligence on the part of the Railway Administration. The Court below has not placedthe burden on the Company. It has, however, recorded a clear finding that that negligence has been established. Unless there was no evidence before the Judge to support the finding or unless the finding was an impossible or a perverse one, it is unfair to interfere on the revision side. We are not even justified in assuming that there was no evidence before him other than what now appears on the record.

2. Great reliance has been placed by the learned Advocate for the applicant on the case of East Indian Railway Company v. Nathmal Behari Lal 39 Ind. Cas. 130 : 15 A.L.J. 321 : 39 A. 418. A reference to the facts as stated on page 321 would indicate that probably the Court below had there laid the burden of proof on the Railway Company and held that the Company had failed to discharge that burden. Furthermore, it is to be noted that in that case it had been established that the examination of the seals had been continued at every station until the last but one before the arrival of the train at Cawnpore. The seals had been found intact all along except when the train arrived at Cawnpore. There was no finding that the door was found open. The case also was one under Risk Note H and not B. Having regard to these points one may be able to distinguish-that case from the present case. On the other hand the case reported as Bengal and North Western Railway Company v. Haji Mutsaddi 7 Ind. Cas. 160 : 7 A.L.J. 833 does help the respondent. That was a case of second appeal where apparently all the evidence had been brought on the record. The only two circumstances pointed out by the Court below to support a finding that the negligence had been established were that the carriages were not properly locked and that thefts were constant. The High Court in second appeal affirmed the finding of negligence and even expressed the view that the finding was justified.

3. The learned Judge of the Court below had before him all these circumstances and possibly other evidence also and had the case reported as Bengal and. North Western Railway Company v. Haji Mutsaddai 7 Ind. Cas. 160 : 7 A.L.J. 833 brought to his notice. He has recorded a clear finding that the negligence was established. It is impossible to say that he was wrong. I would, therefore, dismiss this application.

Mukerji, J.

4. I agree that we should not interfere in this revision

5. Two cases have been cited one by the Court below and one in this Court, and it has been contended on behalf of the applicant that the two cases are inconsistent and we ought to follow the later case in East Indian Railway Company v. Nathmal Behari Lal 39 Ind. Cas. 130 : 15 A.L.J. 321 : 39 A. 415, in preference to the case in Bengal and, North Western Railway Company v. Haji Mutsaddi 7 Ind. Cas. 160 : 7 A.L.J. 833.

6. In my opinion both the cases were rightly decided, having regard to the facts found in. those cases. The earlier case was decided on facts found by the lower Appellate Court as it was a case of second appeal. In the later case the learned Judges differed, from the inference drawn by the Judge of the Small Cause Court, and on the facts found by the learned Judge of the Small Cause Court held that no case of wilful neglect had been established.

7. If we take the findings of the learned Judge in this case, which, by the by, may not be exhaustive, we find at least this fact established that thefts from trains were constant. They were being reported to the Station Master and according to one of the witnesses produced by the Railway Company themselves he found 10 cases of breaking of seals of goods wagons in the course of every month. It is clear, therefore, that, the circumstances were such as to put the Railway Company on their guard and induce them to arrange things in such a way that these constant thefts should become rare. In the circumstances, I am prepared to infer, with the Court below that, a case of wilful neglect on this part of the servants of the Company has been established. In this view, I would uphold the decree of the Court below.

8. The order of the Court is that the application in revision is dismissed with costs.


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