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Indian General Navigation and Ry. Co. Ld. Vs. Nanda Lal Banik and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLimitation
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Judge
Reported in3Ind.Cas.469
AppellantIndian General Navigation and Ry. Co. Ld.
RespondentNanda Lal Banik and ors.
Cases ReferredHaji Ajam Goolam Hossein v. Bombay and Persia Steam Navigation Company
Excerpt:
limitation act (xv of 1877), schedule ii, articles 31 (as amended by section 3 of act xv 1899), and 115 - sail for compensation--non-delivery of goods--carrier. - .....the present wording of article 31 clearly covers such a claim as is put forward in the plaintiffs' present suit. it is a suit for damages for failure to deliver, or non-delivery of, goods. if it be so read, it is plain that article 31 must govern the present case and not article 115, which deals with the case of suits for compensation for the breach of contracts not specially provided for. it is not contended that the defendants in this case are not carriers, or that the suit does not fall within the description in article 31. this view of the article has been taken by the bombay high court in the case of haji ajam goolam hossein v. bombay and persia steam navigation company 26 b. 562. it was on a reference from the court of small causes in bombay, and with that opinion, we entirely.....
Judgment:

1. This is an application under Section 25 of the Provincial Small. Cause Courts Act. Two points have been taken before us by the learned pleader for the petitioners bat the only point that we need consider is whether the suit is barred by the law of limitation. The suit was for compensation for the failure to deliver certain bags of flour and suji. The bill of lading for the goods was dated the 12th November 1906 and it is contended that, in ordinary course, the goods would have arrived at their destination within a month or six weeks after that date. The suit was filed on the 14th July 1908, considerably more than a year from the date when the goods ought to have been delivered. The question is whether Article 31 or Article 115 of second schedule of the Limitation Act applies to this case. There were decisions regarding Articles 30 and 31 which held that these articles applied only to questions of tort and Article 31 as originally worded applied only to a suit for compensation for delay in delivering goods. Subsequently, however, by Section 3 of Act X of 1899, Article 31 was amended and took its present form. It has been argued for the Opposite Party that the former decisions must still be held to apply, but we cannot accede to such a contention. It has frequently been said that statutes must be interpreted according to the ordinary meaning of their language and the present wording of Article 31 clearly covers such a claim as is put forward in the plaintiffs' present suit. It is a suit for damages for failure to deliver, or non-delivery of, goods. If it be so read, it is plain that Article 31 must govern the present case and not Article 115, which deals with the case of suits for compensation for the breach of contracts not specially provided for. It is not contended that the defendants in this case are not carriers, or that the suit does not fall within the description in Article 31. This view of the article has been taken by the Bombay High Court in the case of Haji Ajam Goolam Hossein v. Bombay and Persia Steam Navigation Company 26 B. 562. It was on a reference from the Court of Small Causes in Bombay, and with that opinion, we entirely agree. Under the circumstances, we must hold that the suit having been brought more than one year after the date when , the goods should have been delivered is barred by limitation. The learned Pleader for the plaintiffs said that the defendants had acknowledged liability in this case, but he very properly admitted that the first acknowledgment on which he could rely was given in March 1908, that is to say, more than one year after the cause of action had arisen. Under these circumstances, such acknowledgment would not be sufficient under Section 19 of the Limitation Act to take the case out of the statute The rule must, therefore, be made absolute. The decree of the Small Cause Court is set aside and the plaintiffs' suit dismissed with costs. The petitioners are entitled to their-costs in this Court which we assess at two gold mohurs.


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