(1) This civil revision petition arises out of a small cause suit instituted by the respondent herein for the recovery of Rs. 175 being the cost of the empty cylinder which was delivered to the branch office at Tiruturaipundi of the petitioner herein. The respondent contended that the cylinder had not been delivered to the proper person. The petitioner-defendant resisted the suit on the ground that it was barred by time and that the trial court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit as the entire cause of action arose at Madras. The lower court decreed the suit in favour of the respondent herein. It is against this judgment and decree that the defendant has come to this court with this revision petition.
(2) The only point that was urged by the learned counsel for the petitioner is the question of limitation. According to him the date of despatch of the consignment is 2-3-1961. The respondent sent a registered letter to the petitioner herein informing them that the goods has not been delivered. As he did not get any satisfactory reply he issued a registered notice on 5-2-1962 and filed a suit on 10-12-1962, i.e., after a period of ten months. Therefore, there is abnormal delay in filing the suit. Hence, it was contended by the petitioner that the suit was barred by limitation under Art. 31 of the Limitation Act. To support his case, he drew my attention to a decision in Bootamal v. Union of India : 1SCR70 . In that case the Supreme Court had to construe the scope of Art. 31 of the Limitation Act. Their Lordships at page 1719 of the report observed--
'Reading the words in their plain grammatical meaning they are in our opinion capable of only one interpretation, namely that they contemplate that the time would begin to run after a reasonable period has elapsed on the expiry of which the delivery ought to have been made. The words when the goods ought to be delivered' can only mean the reasonable time taken in the absence of any term in the contract from which the time can be inferred expressly or impliedly in the carriage of the goods from the place of despatch to the place of destination'.
In the present case the goods were delivered to petitioner's branch in 2-3-1961. It is contended by the learned counsel for the petitioner that even allowing one month's time from 3-3-1961 the respondent ought to have filed the suit within one year from that time; but the suit has been filed only on 10-12-1962. Hence there is abnormal delay in filling the suit which is barred by limitation. But this argument is me by the learned counsel for the respondent that under Art. 31 and even according to the interpretation of Art. 31 in the judgment of the Supreme Court, the period of limitation would run from the date of the notice, viz, 5-3-1962. If I agree with him the suit will be in time. But I cannot accept his contention because this would allow the respondent to issue a notice at any time and then file a suit within one year from that date. Article 31 does not contemplate the period of one year from the date of notice. Therefore, the suit is evidently barred by the limitation and it is not maintainable.
(3) In the result the civil revision petition allowed. In the circumstances, the parties will bear their own costs throughout. The petitioner will be entitled to the refund of the amount deposited by him.
(4) Petition allowed.