MFA 4/2010. Gauhati High Court

Case NumberMFA 4/2010
Judgement DateFebruary 28, 2021
CourtGauhati High Court

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IN THE GAUHATI HIGH COURT

(HIGH COURT OF ASSAM: NAGALAND: MIZORAM & ARUNACHAL PRADESH)

MFA No. 4/ 2010

Union of I ndia

(Represented by the General Manager, N.F. Railway), Maligaon,

Guwahati, District-Kamrup (Assam).

………….. Appellant

-VERSUS-

M/ S Sunrise Traders

H.B. Road Fancy Bazar,

Guwahati-1, District-Kamrup (Assam)

……………… Respondent

-BEFORE-

THE HON’BLE MR. JUSTI CE S. SERTO

For the Appellant : Mrs. U. Chakraborty, SC, NF Railway

Mrs. M. Chattarjee, Adv.

For the respondent : Mr. K.P. Maheshwari,

Mr. A. Goyal,

Mr. Arunav Choudhury,

Mr. Bharat Maheshwari,

Ms. Manisha Sharma, Advs.

Date of hearing : 17-02-2017

&

Date of judgment : 28.02.2017

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JUDGMENT & ORDER (CAV)

Heard Mrs. U. Chakraborty, learned counsel for the appellant and also heard Mr. A. Goyal, learned counsel for the respondent/ claimant.

1. This is an appeal under section 23 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act,

1987 against the judgment and order dated 26.10.2009 of the Railway Claims Tribunal of Guwahati Bench, Guwahati passed in Railway Claim Application No. 1/ 2006 wherein, the appellant was directed to pay a sum of Rs. 75,400/ - as compensation to the respondent/ petitioner, for the shortage of 377 bags of onion out of 9,510 bags, booked by the respondent claimant in the goods train belonging to the appellant and, on default, to pay an interest @ 6% p.a, from the date of filing of the case within 3(three) months till the realisation of the compensation amount, and also to pay cost of application and legal practitioner fee of a sum of Rs. 1,700/ - and Rs. 1,500/ - respectively.

2. The facts and circumstances of the case which led to the filing of this

appeal are briefly stated herein below:-

That on 24.02.2003, the respondent/ claimant, filed an application before the Railway Claims Tribunal, Guwahati Bench, Guwahati claiming as follows;-

(i) That out of 9,510 bags of onion he had booked in safe and secure condition and, under Railway’s risk from Manmad in Maharashtra to new Guwahati, 377 bags were found missing when the goods reached the destination. Therefore, the Railway authorities were informed and they accordingly inspected and verified the shortage and the same was entered in the Railway record known as “Unloading tally books”. And thereafter, CGS/ NGC was also informed about the same through a letter dated 25/ 06-2-2000 with a request to issue short delivery certificate. However, CGS/ NGC after putting his remark on the said letter expressed his inability to issue such certificate in the prescribed form purportedly, based on the direction of the headquarters not to do so. That the wagon seals and card labels were found absent and the doors of the wagons were also found with big gaps and in disturb condition, therefore, he submitted a claim for compensation to the General, Manager, N.F Railway vide his letter dated 27.03.2000, along with a request to issue short delivery

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certificate. But since the appellant did not respond positively he has been compelled to file the petition claiming a sum of Rs. 90,480/ - for the loss suffered by him with an interest @ 18% p.a, and application fee of Rs. 2,896/ - and Advocate fee as per rule.

(ii) On receipt of the application of the respondent, the Railway Tribunal issued notice to the appellant/ respondent and, the case was tried on contest. The appellant filed an objection to the petition denying that the goods were booked under safe, sound and secure condition and, under the Railway Risk rate and, after meeting all the statutory requirements of the Railway Rule. The appellant on the other hand claimed that the goods were booked from truck to wagon without the supervision of the Railway employees, under the “Said to contain” remark and, at the risk of the respondent/ claimant, therefore, Railway is not responsible for any shortage or damage supposedly suffered by the respondent/ claimant. I t was also claimed that doors of the wagons were kept half open though cover with jali at the request of the respondent/ claimant. Therefore, for anything that may have happened on the goods while on journey, the Railways cannot be held responsible. I t was also denied that the doors were found open at the time of unloading, seal and card labels were absent, flap doors were found with big gaps and stacks were in disturb condition. The appellant further denied the claim of the respondent/ claimant that the Railway authorities inspected and verified the shortage when the goods were unloaded. The appellant also, denied that any loss was suffered by the respondent/ claimant due to negligence on the part of the employees of the Railway. Lastly, it was stated that interest @ 18% p.a prayed...

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