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The Trustees of the Port of Madras Vs. the Dunlop Rubber Co. (India) Ltd. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLimitation
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1969)1MLJ179
AppellantThe Trustees of the Port of Madras
RespondentThe Dunlop Rubber Co. (India) Ltd.
Cases ReferredVidyacharan v. Khubchand
Excerpt:
- .....involved in this civil revision proceeding is the interpretation of section 110 of the madras port trust act, 1905, in the context of the admitted facts of the case. section 110 of the madras port trust act is in the following terms:no suit or other proceeding shall be commenced against any person for anything done, or purporting to have been done, in pursuance of this act without giving to such person one month's previous notice in writing of the intended suit or other proceeding, and of the cause thereof nor after six months from the accrual of the cause of such suit or other proceedings.2. the question of interpretation that arises is whether the two limbs or clauses of the section should be interpreted cumulatively or disjunctively. in other words, if any suit filed after six.....
Judgment:

M. Anantanarayanan, C.J.

1. The only point involved in this civil revision proceeding is the interpretation of Section 110 of the Madras Port Trust Act, 1905, in the context of the admitted facts of the case. Section 110 of the Madras Port Trust Act is in the following terms:

No suit or other proceeding shall be commenced against any person for anything done, or purporting to have been done, in pursuance of this Act without giving to such person one month's previous notice in writing of the intended suit or other proceeding, and of the cause thereof nor after six months from the accrual of the cause of such suit or other proceedings.

2. The question of interpretation that arises is whether the two limbs or clauses of the section should be interpreted cumulatively or disjunctively. In other words, if any suit filed after six months from the accrual of the cause of such suit is explicitly barred under the second limb of the above section, would a plaintiff be barred who gave notice of his suit within the six months, but who desires to exclude the period of such notice, namely, one month, in the computation of the period of limitation? The matter may be one of some difficulty, if this section stood atone. But, actually this section has to be read in the light of certain section of the Limitation Act of 1908 and the result of that is to place the matter beyond doubt. The plaintiff is entitled by virtue of the application of the relevant sections of the Limitation Act to the problem of the interpretation of the terms of Section 110 cited above to exclude the period of notice, namely, one month, in computing the limitation period of six months.

3. Turning to the Limitation Act Section 15 (2) states that:

In computing the period of limitation prescribed for any suit of which notice has been given in accordance with the requirements of any enactment for the time being in force, the period of such notice shall be excluded.

4. The vital question is, will this principle apply in the entirety of its terms to Section 110 of the Madras Port Trust Act, or must that section be interpreted as a compact and self-sufficient code of limitation, for actions instituted against a statutory body like the Port Trust? The relevant section here is Section 29 (2) of the Limitation Act, under which the provisions of Section 3 apply, so that the period of limitation prescribed by any special or local law has to be deemed to be the period of limitation prescribed by the Schedule to the Limitation Act. Further, the provisions contained in Sections 4, 9 to 18 and 22 shall apply. But the application is limited to this extent, namely, ' to the extent to which, they are not expressly excluded by such special or local law.'

5. In the result, therefore, since Section 110 of the Port Trust Act contains no words of express exclusion of the sections of the Limitation Act, the period of limitation in Section 110 has to be construed, as though it were the period prescribed by the Schedule to the Limitation Act, and Section 15 (2) will apply. In this view, the suit in the present case was in time and the revision petition instituted by the Port Trust will have to be rejected.

6. My learned brother has dealt with this matter in Trustees, Madras Port v. M. C. Industries : (1968)1MLJ162 , where he has considered, in detail, the argument that Section 110 of the Madras Port Trust Act is a self-contained and compact code of limitation and that Section 29 (2) of the Limitation Act will not therefore apply. That argument has been repelled there, for reasons shown. The same view was taken by Venkatadri, J. in Trustees, Madras Port v. Simpson & Co. : AIR1967Mad194 and the learned Judge held that the period of one month relating to the notice could be excluded by a plaintiff in computing the period of limitation for the suit itself, namely, the period of six months from the date of accrual of the cause of action. The matter seems to have been come up for consideration in the Bombay High Court also in Chhaganlal Sakarlal v. President, Thana Municipality : AIR1932Bom259 , and the learned Judges observed that the effect was ' not to alter the period of limitation, but to alter the date from which limitation is to be calculated.' The principle has been affirmed by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Vidyacharan v. Khubchand : [1964]6SCR129 . and the Supreme Court held that Section 29 (2) of the Limitation Act will apply, wherever a special or local law contains no words of exclusion.

7. Following these clear precedents, therefore, we hold that the revision petition has no merits and it is accordingly dismissed. No order as to costs.


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