1. The petitioner was the plaintiff in S.C.S. No. 21 of 1944 in the Court of the District Munsiff of Salem. The suit was brought against five railway companies and the Governor-General of India in Council for compensation for loss of goods in transit. It was conceded that if the plaintiff was entitled to compensation, it was only from the second defendant, the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, and the learned District Munsiff dismissed the suit on the ground that notice of the claim for compensation had not been given to the railway administration of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway within six months of the delivery of the goods for carriage as required by Section 77 of the Indian Railways Act. The only question in this civil revision petition is, whether the notice required by Section 77 was given or not?
2. It cannot be disputed that no specific notice of a claim for compensation under Section 77 was given to the railway companies who were impleaded as defendants within six months of the delivery of the goods for carriage. It is argued, however, for the petitioner that the letter, Ex. P-3, dated the 20th March, 1943, written by the petitioner to the Chief Commercial Superintendent of the South Indian Railway Co. amounts to a notice of the claim so as to satisfy the conditions of Section 77 and that so far as the Great Indian Peninsula Railway Co. is concerned they should be deemed to have had notice because the notice of claim sent to the South Indian Railway Co. was communicated by that company to the Great Indian Peninsula Railway Co. In my opinion Ex. P-3 cannot be regarded as a notice satisfying the requirements of Section 77. It makes no claim for compensation at all, and is merely a letter stating that the goods had not arrived and asking that enquiries might be made. It is true that it appears from the correspondence between the South Indian Railway Co. and the Great Indian Peninsula Railway Co. that the South Indian Railway Company have referred to this letter Ex. P-3 as if it were a claim. In a letter to the Great Indian Peninsula Railway Co., dated the 16th of June, 1943, it is said:
Please note that in respect of the above consignment I have received a claim dated 20th March, 1943, for not specified non-receipt of one parcel leather suit case.
3. It seems to me, however, quite impossible to hold, even if knowledge on the part of one railway administration that notice had been served on another railway administration can be sufficient to amount to a notice under Section 77, that the Great Indian Peninsula Railway had such notice in this case. When no claim for compensation was made to the South Indian Railway Co. the fact that in a short note to the Great Indian Peninsula Railway administration the South Indian Railway administration have referred to the letter Ex. P-3, as if it were a claim cannot possibly amount to a proper notice to the Great Indian Peninsula Railway administration of a claim for compensation by the petitioner.
4. Learned Counsel for the petitioner has referred me to the decision of a Full Bench of this Court in Mahadeva Iyer v. South Indian Railway Co. (1921) 42 M.L.J. 202 : I.L.R. 45 Mad. 135 which, he says, supports his contention that knowledge on the part of the Agent or Manager of the railway administration within the specified time is sufficient. As I have-already said, it does not seem to me that on the facts of this case the Great Indian Peninsula Railway administration had knowledge of the claim within the specified time. There was no question in Mahadeva Aiyar v. South Indian Railway Co. (1921) 42 M.L.J. 202 : I.L.R. 45 Mad. 135 that the notice served was not in proper form. The substantial question - was whether the Agent had notice under Section 77 because the notice had been served on a subordinate of his.
5. I agree with the learned District Munsiff that there was no proper service of notice the petition is dismissed with costs.