Skip to content


Madras Handloom Weavers Provincial Co-operative Society Ltd., Madras Vs. Dominion of India, Represented by General Manager, Madras and Southern Maharatta Railway and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 462 of 1950
Judge
Reported inAIR1953Mad514; (1953)IMLJ258
ActsRailways Act, 1890 - Sections 72; Goods Tariff General Rules - Rule 5
AppellantMadras Handloom Weavers Provincial Co-operative Society Ltd., Madras
RespondentDominion of India, Represented by General Manager, Madras and Southern Maharatta Railway and anr.
Appellant AdvocateSriramamurthy, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateSampathkumar, Adv. for King and Partridge
DispositionRevision petition dismissed
Cases ReferredCouncil v. Thakursi Dass
Excerpt:
.....packed as to be liable to damages, leakage, or wastage in transit. therefore, when once risk note a is taken in addition to the ordinary risk note z, the inference is possible that at the time the package was tendered for transit, it was either in a bad condition or so defectively packed as to be liable to damages. in my view, risk note z is the general form of risk note for all kinds of goods handed over to the railway administration for transit and risk note a is the particular kind of risk note to be used only in special cases where the package is defectively or insufficiently packed so as to be liable for damages. risk note a is a special form of risk note to be used when articles are tendered for carriage which are either already in bad condition or so defectively packed..........it is argued for messrs. john and row by mr. sriramamurthi, that according to the clause in risk note z the railway administration shall be bound to disclose to the consignor how the consignment was dealt with throughout the time it was in its possession and control and if necessary to give evidence before the consignor is called upon to prove misconduct; but if misconduct on the part of the railway administration or its servants cannot be fairly inferred from such evidence the burden of proving such misconduct will only be on the consignor. what is contended is that in this case the railway administration has not let in any evidence to show how the consignment was dealt with during the time it was in its possession, in transit from madura to bezwada. if the railway had jet in.....
Judgment:

Govinda Menon, J.

1. The plaintiff, whose suit for Rs. 113-6-3 being the value of the shortage of goods, due to him from the defendant, inclusive of proportionate freight charges has been dismissed, is the petitioner, in this civil revision petition, and the only question that arises, as the learned District Munsif has stated, is whether the defendant-railway is liable for the alleged loss occasioned to the plaintiff during the transit. There was a consignment weighing 15 maunds 30 seers of textile material from Madura to Bezwada according to the railway receipt, which is marked in the case Ex. B. 5. The plaintiff as the consignee when he took delivery of the goods at Bezwada found that the quantity was short by 22 seers and he took open delivery of it. The present suit is for the recovery of the price of 22 seers of goods. The lower Court has dismissed the suit on the ground that in the absence of proof that the shortage occurred on account of the misconduct on the part of the railway, the plaintiff is not entitled to any relief.

2. In revision, it is argued for Messrs. John and Row by Mr. Sriramamurthi, that according to the clause in risk note Z the railway administration shall be bound to disclose to the consignor how the consignment was dealt with throughout the time it was in its possession and control and if necessary to give evidence before the consignor is called upon to prove misconduct; but if misconduct on the part of the railway administration or its servants cannot be fairly inferred from such evidence the burden of proving such misconduct will only be on the consignor. What is contended is that in this case the railway administration has not let in any evidence to show how the consignment was dealt with during the time it was in its possession, in transit from Madura to Bezwada. If the railway had Jet in evidence to show that proper care was taken of the package while it was being transported both over the South Indian Railway and the Madras and Southern Maharatta railway, then the burden shifts to the plaintiff to show misconduct on the part of the railway servants. The argument, therefore, urged is that there is no obligation on the part of the plaintiff to prove any misconduct on the part of the railway administration, and if it is shown that there has been shortage during the course of transit, then the plaintiff is entitled to damages for that shortage.

3. On the other hand, on behalf of the railway administration Mr. Sampath Kumar of Messrs. King and Partridge has put forward the contention that if the risk note Z had stood alone, probably the plea put forward on behalf of the plaintiff might be of some avail. But, in this case, it is admitted that the consignor had executed another risk note in the form risk note A, which very much reduces and clinches the liability of the railway administration. Risk note A premises by saying that it will be used when articles are tendered for carriage which are either already in bad condition or so defectively packed as to be liable to damages, leakage, or wastage in transit. Therefore, when once risk note A is taken in addition to the ordinary risk note Z, the inference is possible that at the time the package was tendered for transit, it was either in a bad condition or so defectively packed as to be liable to damages. Since both risk notes have been executed, the question is whether the provisions contained in risk note A should prevail over risk note Z. In my view, risk note Z is the general form of risk note for all kinds of goods handed over to the railway administration for transit and risk note A is the particular kind of risk note to be used only in special cases where the package is defectively or insufficiently packed so as to be liable for damages. In view of the principle that a special contract or provision supersedes a general provision or a general contract, we have to take it that the parties have to be governed by the terms of risk note A.

4. On this aspect of the case, my attention has been invited to a decision of a single Judge of the Patna High Court in --'Governor General of India in Council v. Thakursi Dass', : AIR1948Pat45 (A) in which the facts are somewhat similar. There also the consignor had executed two risk notes, risk note A and risk note Z when the railway administration was confronted with a claim for damages, they choose to take their stand on the terms and provisions of risk note A and disclaimed liability. The learned Judge, in disposing of that contention in favour of the railway administration, observed as follows: 'So much for risk note Z. But in the present ease the consignor also executed risk note A, and thereby even further exempted the railway administration from liability. Obviously where two risk notes have been executed limiting the railway's liability, it is open to the Railway administration to take advantage of either, and if under either it can be shown that the railway administration has escaped liability, then the suit must be dismissed, even if some other form of risk note might also have been executed under which it might be held that liability had not been fully taken away. Risk note A is a special form of risk note to be used when articles are tendered for carriage which are either already in bad condition or so defectively packed as to be liable to damage, leakage or wastage in transit.'

5. I have been asked by the learned counsel for the petitioner to dissent from the view taken by Meredith J. of the Patna High Court. But no arguments have been advanced as to why I should dissent from that view. How and under what circumstances the consignor came to execute Risk note A has not been made clear. The fact, that risk note A has been executed raises the presumption that the railway administration insisted on its execution, because the package was either insufficiently packed or liable to leakage and damage. In this view, it is incumbent upon the plaintiff in order to mulct the railway administration with liability, to prove misconduct. He cannot sit quiet and leave the burden on the railway administration for showing how the consignment was dealt with during the course of transit and thereafter try to let in evidence of misconduct. In this case, he has not attempted to prove any misconduct trusting himself to the burden on the railway administration as contained in the clause in risk note Z.

6. In addition to this, there is a further circumstance in this case that under Rule 15, Goods TariffGeneral Rules, the railway administration doesnot admit that the weight as shown in therailway receipt has been received or that thedescription of the goods as furnished by theconsignor is correct. The learned DistrictMunsif came to the conclusion that at the time thegoods were accepted for transit at Madura, thereis no evidence to show that they were weighedor that the weight of 15 maunds & 30 seers wasthe correct weight. I am, therefore, of the opinionthat no interference is called for in revision andthis civil revision petition is dismissed but inthe circumstances without costs.


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