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S. Kambhotlu Vs. Ashreef Hussain - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1926Mad54; (1925)49MLJ450
AppellantS. Kambhotlu
RespondentAshreef Hussain
Excerpt:
- - the plaintiff, a high court vakil, went to complain of a case of theft and the allegation is that his complaint was not received by the policeman in his station as they were prohibited from receiving any complaint by the 1st defendant who is the respondent in the second appeal. we hold that the plaintiff had no cause of action against the 1st defendant even if the plaintiff had gone to him to complain of a case of theft and the defendant refused to receive the complaint......on the part of the defendant to do anything in respect of the plaintiff. the non-discharge of a public duty by a public servant does not give a right of action in damages to any member of the public. mr. lakshmanna's contention is that inasmuch as his client had lost property by theft and as his case was not inquired into he has suffered damage. it is difficult to see what damage he could have suffered by a case of theft not being inquired into. the cases relied upon by him have no application to the present case. if a sheriff's officer or an amin of a civil court does not arrest a judgment-debtor and allows him to escape, he may be liable in damages, for he fails to do something which he is required by law to do for the benefit of the plaintiff who is interested in arresting the.....
Judgment:

Devadoss, J.

1. The plaintiff sues the 1st defendant for damages for not making proper arrangements for receiving his complaint of theft. The point raised in the second appeal is that the Lower Court erred in not holding that the plaintiff had a cause of action against the 1st defendant. The plaintiff, a High Court Vakil, went to complain of a case of theft and the allegation is that his complaint was not received by the policeman in his station as they were prohibited from receiving any complaint by the 1st defendant who is the respondent in the second appeal. Granting the facts to be correct, the question is whether the plaintiff has a cause of action against the 1st defendant. Mr. Lakshmanna contends that the police officer is bound to take down the report of a case made by a member of the public and, he not having received the complaint preferred by the plaintiff, is liable in damages to the plaintiff. No doubt a police officer is bound to receive a complaint when it is preferred to him or where the commission of an offence is reported to him orally he is bound to take down the complaint. But the question is whether his non-compliance with the duty imposed upon him gives a cause of action to the plaintiff. It cannot be said that the plaintiff has suffered any damage by the action of the defendant. If the defendant has not performed his duty as a public servant, he is liable to be dealt with by his superior officers for neglect of duty. But that would not give cause of action to the plaintiff to sue the defendant for damages because there is no duty on the part of the defendant to do anything in respect of the plaintiff. The non-discharge of a public duty by a public servant does not give a right of action in damages to any member of the public. Mr. Lakshmanna's contention is that inasmuch as his client had lost property by theft and as his case was not inquired into he has suffered damage. It is difficult to see what damage he could have suffered by a case of theft not being inquired into. The cases relied upon by him have no application to the present case. If a Sheriff's officer or an Amin of a Civil Court does not arrest a judgment-debtor and allows him to escape, he may be liable in damages, for he fails to do something which he is required by law to do for the benefit of the plaintiff who is interested in arresting the judgment-debtor. No such duty is cast upon a police officer with regard to taking down complaints of offences. The general statement that for a breach of public duty an action would lie in damages is not supported by any authority which we can follow. We hold that the plaintiff had no cause of action against the 1st defendant even if the plaintiff had gone to him to complain of a case of theft and the defendant refused to receive the complaint. The second appeal is dismissed.


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