1. The suit is by the endorsee of a Railway Receipt for compensation for nondelivery of goods.
2. The plaintiff's case is that on 25-6-1948 one Mano Mohan Bhowmick delivered to the East Indian Railway Administration at Sealdah railway station a consignment of ten bags of waste cotton yarn for carnage to Kamala-sagar railway station on another railway system in the District of Tipperah and for delivery of the same to the consignee thereof. It is also the plaintiff's case that on 26-6-1948 the said Mano Mohan Bhowmick endorsed the relative railway receipt to the plaintiff upon receipt of a sum of Rs. 4,049/8/- as the value of the goods. It is alleged that by reason of such endorsement and the payment of the value of the goods, the plaintiff became the owner of the goods and thus entitled to sue.
3. The point for decision at this stage is whether by reason of the endorsement and the payment of the value of the goods as pleaded, a part of the plaintiff's cause of action arose within the ordinary original jurisdiction of this Court. It is to be observed that leave under Clause 12 of the Letters Patent was granted to institute this suit on the Original Side of this Court. It is not indicated in the plaint what facts constituted a part of his cause of action which arose within the said jurisdiction. Presumably, the plaintiff was relying upon service of the notice under Section 77, Railways Act, which must have taken place within the said jurisdiction, as constituting a part of the plaintiff's cause of action.
4. Since the Pull Bench decision in -- 'Bansi v. Governor-General in Council', : AIR1952Cal35 (A) it can no longer be said that service of notice under Section 77, Railways Act, is any part of the plaintiff's cause of action. That being the position, learned counsel on behalf of the plaintiff argued that the endorsement of the relative railway receipt in favour of the plaintiff must be regarded as part of the plaintiff's cause of action and that having taken place within the ordinary original jurisdiction of this Court, the Court had jurisdiction to grant leave under Clause 12 of the Letters Patent. That, as I have said before, is the point for decision.
5. A railway receipt comes under the category of a 'document of title to goods' as defined in the Sale of Goods Act. Clause 4 of Section 2, Sale of Goods Act, 1930, is as follows:-
'Document of title to goods' includes a bill of lading, dock-warrant, ...... railway receipt....or order for the delivery of goods and any other document used in the ordinary course of business as proof of the possession or control of goods, or authorising or purporting to authorise either by endorsement or by delivery, the possessor of the document to transfer or receive goods thereby represented;'
6. In -- 'Mercantile Bank of India Ltd. v. Central Bank of India Ltd. their Lordships of the Privy Council observed:
'The Railway Receipt, though a document of title, was in form merely an authority to take delivery of the goods and the possession of such a document contained no representation that the holder had any implied authority to dispose of the goods. It is at best an ambiguous document. It is not like a negotiable instrument; the possession of the Railway Receipt is no more significant for this purpose than the possession of the goods would have been; its possession no more conveys a representation that its possessor or holder is entitled to dispose of the property than the actual possession of the goods themselves would have conveyed any such representation.'
It would follow, therefore, that an endorsement on the railway receipt by itself is not enough to constitute the endorsee the owner of the goods.
7. The cases cited by learned Counsel for the plaintiff, namely, -- 'Bhabani Prasad Lahiri v. Rai Radhica Bhusan Roy', 40 Cal WN 1349 (C) and -- 'Kalooram Agarwaia v. Jonisthalal Chakravarty' : AIR1936Cal349 , deal with assignments by endorsement of negotiable instruments. In each case, the endorsement conveyed to the endorsee the right, title and interest under the document concerned. A railway receipt is not in the same position, although by trade usage it might assume some of the attributes of a negotiable instrument. In my view, therefore, mere endorsement of a railway receipt either by the consignor or by the consignee does not convey the property in the goods to the endorsee. If, however, there is an endorsement of a railway receipt for valuable consideration and property passes to the endorsee, and if such a transaction takes place within the ordinary original jurisdiction of this Court, then a part of the plaintiff's cause of action must inevitably arise within the said jurisdiction. Such a transaction must not only be regarded as part of the plaintiff's cause of action but an essential part, inasmuch as without it the plaintiff would not be entitled to maintain the suit.
8. In the case before me, there is no avermentin the plaint showing where the transaction inquestion took place. For the purpose of decidingthis point, I am assuming that it took place withinthe ordinary original jurisdiction of this Court.But in the absence of appropriate amendmentsthis Court would appear not to have any jurisdiction to try this suit. As I have said, the service ofa notice either under Section 77, Railways Act, or under Section 80, Civil P. C. can no longer be regarded aspart of the plaintiff's cause of action. In theforegoing circumstances, I cannot dismiss this suitfor want of jurisdiction. The plaintiff must, however, if the facts of the case justify, take out asummons for amendment of his pleading. Forthis purpose, he is to have a fortnight's time. Ifnecessary amendments are not made within thattime, this suit will stand dismissed with costs,otherwise the costs of the present hearing will becosts in the cause.