Skip to content


Ramco Textiles Vs. Union of India (Uoi) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberC.R.P. No. 85 of 1959
Judge
Reported inAIR1960Ker257
ActsRailways Act, 1890 - Sections 77 and 140; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 20, 79 and 80
AppellantRamco Textiles
RespondentUnion of India (Uoi)
Appellant Advocate N. Sundara Iyer,; V.R. Venkitakrishnan and; K. Narayanan
Respondent Advocate G. Viswanatha Iyer, Adv. as amicus curiae
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
- - ' after over-ruling the objection of the defendant that the suit was bad for want of a valid and proper notice under sections 77 of the indian railways act, the court below dismissed it on the ground that it had no territorial jurisdiction. it may well be presumed that he had the necessary authority to receive it on behalf of the administration, and, in my view, the court below was right in holding that there was due compliance with sections 77 of the indian railways act......piecegoods valued at rs, 460.26 by rail from cannanore on the southern railway to harinagar on the north eastern railway, both railways, as also all railways over which the goods had to pass in transit being railways owned and administered by the central government. the evidence shows that the goods were lost by the railway administration after they had reached harinagar, and, on 10-5-1957, the plaintiff by his letter ext., a8 made a claim for their value to the chief commercial superintendent of the north eastern railway. not obtaining satisfaction, he sued on the small cause side of the court of the munsiff of cannanore for the recovery of rs. 463.26 as damages, after due compliance with the requirements of sections 80 of the civil procedure code. his suit was laid against 'the union.....
Judgment:
ORDER

P.T. Raman Nayar, J.

1. The petitioner plaintiff consigned a bale of piecegoods valued at Rs, 460.26 by rail from Cannanore on the Southern Railway to Harinagar on the North Eastern Railway, both railways, as also all railways over which the goods had to pass in transit being railways owned and administered by the Central Government. The evidence shows that the goods were lost by the railway administration after they had reached Harinagar, and, on 10-5-1957, the plaintiff by his letter Ext., A8 made a claim for their value to the Chief Commercial Superintendent of the North Eastern Railway.

Not obtaining satisfaction, he sued on the small cause side of the court of the Munsiff of Cannanore for the recovery of Rs. 463.26 as damages, after due compliance with the requirements of Sections 80 of the Civil Procedure Code. His suit was laid against 'The Union of India as the owner of the North Eastern Railway represented by the General Manager, North Eastern Railway, Gorakhpur.' After over-ruling the objection of the defendant that the suit was bad for want of a valid and proper notice under Sections 77 of the Indian Railways Act, the court below dismissed it on the ground that it had no territorial jurisdiction.

In doing so it viewed the suit as one against the North Eastern Railway and it thought that the cause of action was confined to the loss of the goods at Harinagar, none of the requirements of Sections 20 of the Civil Procedure Code for conferring jurisdiction on the court at Cannanore being therefore present.

2. The defendant has not entered appearance here, and I am grateful to Mr. G. Viswanatha lyer lor the assistance he has rendered me as amicuscuriae. On the merits there can he no doubt that the defendant is liable, and even on the question of jurisdiction I might observe that the proper thing for the lower court to have done on the view it took would have been to return the plaint for presentation before the proper court rather than to dismiss the suit outright. However, there is no need to go into that matter since, in my view, the court below had jurisdiction.

3. On the question of a claim under Sections 77 of the Indian Railways Act I might observe that a claim in writing was preferred in time to the Chief Commercial Superintendent of the North Eastern Railway who accepted it; on behalf of that administration and entered into correspondence with the plaintiff us if be were the proper person to entertain the claim on behalf of that railway administration. It is true that Sections 140 of the Indian Railways Act says that a notice or other document to he served on a railway administration may be served on the manager thereof but that section docs not say that it may be served only in that manner, and it is not exhaustive of the modes in which service can bo effected.

When a responsible officer of a railway administration receives a claim on behalf of the administration and acts upon it. it may well be presumed that he had the necessary authority to receive it on behalf of the administration, and, in my view, the court below was right in holding that there was due compliance with Sections 77 of the Indian Railways Act.

4. Turning now to the question of jurisdiction, there can be little doubt, having regard to the provisions of Section 79 of the Civil Procedure Code, that the person sued in this case is the Central Government and that in naming the defendant the plaint hasproperly named that government as, 'The Union of India.'' The words following these words in the cause title namely, the words 'as the owner of the North Eastern Railway represented by the General Manager, North Eastern Railway, Gorakhpur' are a mere superfluity and can, in my opinion, be ignored.

It might be that summons in the suit was served on the General Manager of the railway named, butethere is no case that summons has not been duly served on the real defendant, namely the Central Government. Therefore the question whether service on the General Manager of the Railway is sufficient service dues not arise for consideration. Now, it goes without saying, and indeed this is made clear by Sections 50 (a) and (b) of the Civil Procedure Code, that a suit relating to a railway owned and administered by tho Central Government lies against that Government irrespective of the identity of the railway administration whose default gave rise to the cause of action. As pointed out in Narayanaswami lyer v. Union of India, (1959) 2 Mad LJ 479: (AIR 1960 Mad 58) by a Division Bench of the Madras High Court after a very exhaustive review of the statutory provisions and the decisions bearing on the point, the Central Government as the owner of one railway is not a different- person from that Government in its capacity as the owner of another railway, and the clfect of Sections 80 of the Railways Act (designed, at a time when, by and large, the different railway administrations belonged to different persons, to make all the administrations, and therefore all the owners of tho railways over which the passenger, animals or goods were in transit, liable in respect of injury, loss or destruction) is not to make a separate artificial person of each railway administration.

Nor can Section 77 of the Railways Act or Section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code which merely provides for notice to a particular authority before a suit is filed, have any bearing on the question as to who is tho proper person to be sued or on the question whether each railway administration constitutes a different entity. Under Sections 80 of the Railways Act a suit may be brought either against the railway administration to which the goods were delivered by the consignor thereof or against the railway administration on whose railway the loss occurred.

Section 3(6) of the Act defines 'railway administration' as including the Government in the case of a railway administered by the Government, and therefore it follows that in the present case whether it be the administration of the Southern Railway to which the goods were delivered by the consignor or the administration of the North Eastern Railway where the goods were lost that is to be sued, the proper person to be named as the defendant is the Central Government. That Government not having a split personality, the suit brought in the present, case cannot be regarded as in any manner confined to the administration of the North Eastern Railway, the wording of the cause title notwithstanding.

5. The question then is whether the plaint mentions any cause of action giving jurisdiction to the court at Cannanore. That it undoubtedly does for it says that the goods were booked at the Cananore Station, in other words that the contract of carriage was entered into there. That being so, in this suit which is essentially one for damages for breach of contract, the cause of action or at any rate part thereof, undoubtedly arises in the place where the contract was made and thus the court at Can-oanore has jurisdiction. In fact the plaint mentionsCannanore, the place from where the goods were consigned, as the place where the cause of action arose.

6. In the result I allow the petition and decree the plaintiff's suit with costs both here and in the court below. The plaintiff will also be entitled to interest at five per cent per annum from the date of the suit.


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