Skip to content


U. Bhukhandas D. Chevli and Co. and anr. Vs. Union of India (Uoi) and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Appln. No. 512 of 1960
Judge
Reported inAIR1963Guj150
ActsRailways Act, 1890 - Sections 75
AppellantU. Bhukhandas D. Chevli and Co. and anr.
RespondentUnion of India (Uoi) and anr.
Appellant Advocate C.G. Shastri, Adv.
Respondent Advocate I.C. Bhati, Adv.
DispositionApplication dismissed
Cases ReferredIn Sarat Chandra v. Secy. of State
Excerpt:
- - it would appear that in persian as well as in the indian languages the word has a limited and specific meaning which would exclude the sample such as we have in the present case from its scope......'shawls' in general, in view of the marginal note in section 75 of the railways act only shawls of special value have to be declared and insured. the marginal note of section 75 reads as follows:'further provision with respect to the liability of a railway administration as a carrier of articles of special value.'section 75 (1) of the railways act reads as follows:'when any articles mentioned in the second schedule are contained in any parcel or package delivered to a railway administration for carriage by railway, and the value of such articles in the parcel or package exceeds three hundred rupees, the railway administration shall not be responsible for the loss, destruction or deterioration of the parcel or package unless the person sending or delivering the parcel to the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

V.B. Raju, J.

1. A suit filed by the applicants against the Central Railway and the Union of India for damages in respect of a consignment of Kashmiri shawls was dismissed on the ground that under Schedule II of the Railways Act and under Section 75 of the said Act, the parcel of shawls should have teen declared and insured as it contained shawls exceeding Rs. 300/- in value.

2. In revision, it is contended that although item 'm' of Schedule II refers to 'shawls' in general, in view of the marginal note in Section 75 of the Railways Act only shawls of special value have to be declared and insured. The marginal note of Section 75 reads as follows:

'Further provision with respect to the liability of a railway administration as a carrier of articles of special value.'

Section 75 (1) of the Railways Act reads as follows:

'When any articles mentioned in the second schedule are contained in any parcel or package delivered to a railway administration for carriage by railway, and the value of such articles in the parcel or package exceeds three hundred rupees, the railway administration shall not be responsible for the loss, destruction or deterioration of the parcel or package unless the person sending or delivering the parcel to the administration caused its value and contents to be declared in writing or declared them in Writing at the time of the delivery of the parcel or package for carriage by railway, and if so required by the administration, paid or engaged to pay in writing a percentage on the value so declared by way of compensation for increased risk.'

In order to briefly sum up the purport of Section 75 the marginal note is worded as stated above, but the marginal ratedoes not curtail the scope of the section itself. In Commr.of Income-tax, Bombay v. Ahmedbhai Umarbhai and Co.,Bombay, : [1950]181ITR472(SC) , His Lordship PatanialiSastri, as he then was, observed as follows:

'As pointed out by the Privy Council in Balraj Kunwar v. Jagatpal Singh, ILR 26 Ai! 393 at p. 406 : 31 Ind App 132 (PC), marginal notes in an Indian Statute, as in an Act of Parliament, cannot be referred to for the purpose of construing the statute, .....'

In Bengal Immunity Co. Ltd. v. State of Bihar, : [1955]2SCR603 , with reference to the Constitution of India, his Lordship S. R. Das, Ag. C. J., observed as under:

'The marginal note to Art. 286 is 'Restrictions as to imposition of tax on the sale or purchase of goods', which, unlike the marginal notes in Acts of the British parliament, is part of the Constitution as passed by the Constituent Assembly, prima facie, furnishes some clue as to the meaning and purpose of the Article.'

Section 75 of the Railways Act uses the expression 'the value of such articles in the parcel or package exceeds three hundred rupees'. Therefore the marginal note uses the expression 'Carrier of articles of special value'. The words 'special value' are used because the section deals with articles in a parcel or package exceeding three hundred rupees in value. The expression 'carrier of articles of special value' in the marginal note has reference to the totality of the articles in the parcel and not to the special value of each of the component articles in the parcel or package. The parcel is of special value as it exceeds Rs. 300/- in value. That does not mean that everyone of the articles in the parcel must exceed Rs. 300/- in value or be of special value. It would be difficult to determine the meaning to be given to the expression 'of special value', if the test is to be applied to the individual articles in the parcel or package. Such a vague test could not nave been in the minds of the Legislature.

3. The learned counsel for the applicants relies on E. I. Rly. Co. v. Dayabhai, AIR 1922 Bom 416, where his Lordship Macleod C. J, observed that it would be certainly desirable that the term 'shawls' in the second Schedule should now be amended so as to make it clear that only shawls of special value are intended to require to be declared. His Lordship did not express his decisive opinion that the word 'shawls' in the Second Schedule referred only to 'shawls' of special value. His Lordship Shah J., after defining and explaining the meaning of the word 'shawl' observed as follows:

'It would appear that In Persian as well as in the Indian languages the word has a limited and specific meaning which would exclude the sample such as we have in the present case from its scope.'

With great respect, I agree with the observations of his Lordship Shah J., that

'when a word has two meanings, one of a restrictive nature and the other of a comprehensive character, and when we have to decide which of the two meanings would be appropriate, it seems to me that it is necessary to turn not only to the context in relation to which the word is used but also to the scope and object of Section 75 and to the reason of the rule contained therein.'

The object of Section 75 is to require that there should be a declaration and insurance when the parcel or package contains articles exceeding Rs. 300/- in value. Even if a parcel contains articles of special value and the value of the parcel does not exceed Rs. 300/-, there is no need of declaration or for insurance. It is, therefore, difficult to restrict the scope of Section 75 of the Railways Act and to hold that not only should the value of the parcel exceed Rs. 300/- but the articles themselves must be of a special type besides being the articles mentioned in the Second Schedule. In the Bombay case, reference was made to the case of Sudarshan Maharaj v. E. I. Rly. Co., ILR 42 All 76: {AIR 1919 All 50), where a view different from the view of the Bombay High Court was taken. In Sarat Chandra v. Secy. of State, ILR 39 Cal 1029, it was held that

'the term 'shawls' in the Second Schedule to theIndian Railways Act did not apply to certain cheap goodswhich were not even manufactured when the Act of 1851was passed and so Section 75 did not apply.'

in this connection, it would not be quite useful to depend upon the meaning given in various dictionaries, some of which has been referred to in the Bombay case, because the dictionary meanings vary greatly from one another. Essentially, a 'shawl' is a loose covering for the neck and shoulders. The material of which it is made is immaterial and its value is immaterial. If the value is material, it will be difficult to decide the question whether particular 'shawls' ate shawls of a special value or not, and it would not be possible to lay down a correct test to determine whether a particular shawl is of a special value or not. I, therefore, reject the contention of the learned counsel for the applicant.

4. The revision application its, therefore, dismissed.No order as to costs.


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