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In Re: Chitrala Bheemanna and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1919)37MLJ656
AppellantIn Re: Chitrala Bheemanna and ors.
Excerpt:
- .....that sole ground.3. as regards the 1st and 2nd accused, the facts found are (a) on 21-11-18, the station master of giddalur (p.w. 1) deputed the signaller, (p.w. 2) to collect tickets and excess fare (where such has to be collected) from the passengers alighting from the 45 up train arriving at giddalur in the evening; (b) the first accused alighted with a rice bag and p.w. 2 demanded payment of excess fare, evidently as the rice bag was heavier than the weight of luggage allowable on his ticket; (c) the first and second accused assaulted p.w. 2 and also p.w. 1 (station master) when he intervened to help p.w. 2.4. 'railway servant' is defined in section 3 clause 7 as 'any person employed by a railway administration in connection with the service of a railway', ' railway administration.....
Judgment:
ORDER

1. The three accused (Petitioners in revision) were convicted by the Giddalur Sub-Magistrate, the first two, of the offences under Section 121 and the third of the offence under Section 120(b) of the Indian Railways Act (IX of 1890).

2. The petition is not pressed as regards the third accused except in the matter of sentence (a fine of Rs. 25 has been imposed on each of the accused) but we do not think that the sentence is so excessive, having regard to the facts found by the First Magistrate and by the Appellate Magistrate to call for interference in revision in the case of any of the accused on that sole ground.

3. As regards the 1st and 2nd accused, the facts found are (a) on 21-11-18, the Station Master of Giddalur (P.W. 1) deputed the signaller, (P.W. 2) to collect tickets and excess fare (where such has to be collected) from the passengers alighting from the 45 Up train arriving at Giddalur in the evening; (b) The first accused alighted with a rice bag and P.W. 2 demanded payment of excess fare, evidently as the rice bag was heavier than the weight of luggage allowable on his ticket; (c) The first and second accused assaulted P.W. 2 and also P.W. 1 (Station Master) when he intervened to help P.W. 2.

4. 'Railway Servant' is defined in Section 3 Clause 7 as 'any person employed by a railway administration in connection with the service of a Railway', ' Railway administration ' means (in this particular case) ' the Railway Company'. (See Section 3 Clause 6) 'Railway Company' means 'Owners or lessees of a railway or parties to an agreement for working a railway ' (Clause 5).

5. Thus a 'Railway Servant' in Section 121 is a person employed by the owners or lessees of the Railway or the persons working the railway in connection with the service of the Railway.

6. The employment (we take it) is by appointment and the ' Service of a railway' includes collecting tickets and fares from passengers.

7. The appointment of ticket Collector cannot be and is not made by all the propritors forming the Railway Company who are usually in England but through agents appointed under Rules, the rule making power being vested in the Company under Section 47, such rule providing (among other matters) '(e) for regulating the conduct of the railway servants and (g) generally, for regulating the travelling upon, and the use, working arid management of, the railway.'

8. Mr. A.S. Visvanatha Aiyar who appeared for the accused did not dispute that P.W. 1 was the validly appointed Station Master and P.W. 2 was the validly appointed Signaller at the station. It is also found by the Lower Court that the Station Master did depute the signaller to collect tickets. Rule 244 of the General Rules made by the Railway Board acting under the Indian Railway Board Act (No. IV of 1905) says ' The Station Master shall be responsible for the efficient discharge of the duties devolving upon the several members of the staff employed and such staff shall be subject to his authority and directions in the working of the Station.' Rule 229 says 'Every Railway Servant must promptly obey all lawful orders given by any person placed in authority over him.' Rule 231(1) allows a Railway Servant with the permission of his superior officer to exchange duty with any other Railway Servant. We think that these rules give sufficient authority to the Station Master to delegate the duty of collecting tickets to a signaller. Thereupon and especially when the signaller consents, it becomes the duty of the signaller as a Railway servant to collect tickets and there is nothing to prevent him from consenting to undertake the duty of collecting tickets. Once he undertakes such a duty and does acts in discharge of that duty, he must be held to be a railway servant acting in the discharge of his duty within the meaning of that expression in Section 121.

9. Mr. A.S. Visvanatha Aiyar, if we understood his rather subtle argument aright, relied upon Section 69 of the Indian Railways Act and contended that the passenger was bound to present his pass or ticket only to the Railway Servant 'appointed by the Railway administration in that behalf' and hence it followed that he need not present a pass or ticket to a Railway Servant who was not appointed by the Railway Administration but who was only appointed by the Station Master temporarily and that obstruction to that person when he demands a pass or ticket is not obstruction to a Railway Servant in the discharge of his duty. We are unable to accept this argument. The appointment by the 'Railway Administration' or Railway Company of a particular person to do a particular duty is through Agents empowered by rules and we think that the rules empower the Station Master as Agent of the Railway Administration to appoint one of the Station staff temporarily to do duties of a particular post in the station, and when the person so appointed to do that duty temporarily performs that duty, he is a Railway Servant acting in the discharge of his duty and obstruction to him is punishable under Section 121 of the Indian Railways Act. We therefore dismiss the revision petition as regards accused 1 and 2 also.


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