A SANKUNNI MENON Vs. SOUTH INDIAN RAILWAY HAVING THEIR HEAD OFFICE AT
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
SOUTH INDIAN RAILWAY HAVING THEIR HEAD OFFICE AT
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Panchapagesa Sastry, J. -
(1.) This is an appeal by the plff. against the decree of the Subordinate Judge of South Malabar at Calicut dismissing his suit on a preliminary point namely that a proper statutory notice under Section 80 of the C. P. C., has not been given by the plff. before the suit was instituted. There are four defts. to the suit. The first is the South Indian Railway. The second is the Madras & Southern Maharatta Railway. The third Is the Great Indian Peninsular Railway & the fourth is the Governor-General in Council, New Delhi. The plff's case was that he despatched from Calicut to self at Kalapipal, a station in the G. I. P. Railway, 34 bags of dry coconuts, 11 bags of moist coconuts & 77 bags of copra balls by invoice dated 17-7-1944. He charged the railway system with wilful default & negligence & misconduct as the goods were wrongfully diverted & otherwise unduly delayed in the course of transit. It was only after continued enquiries regarding the delay at the other end that the goods were traced & finally sent to the destination in October 1944. The goods had become deteriorated & became unmarketable. The District Commercial Inspector, Jhansi, certified the condition of the goods & assessed the claim for damages at Rs. 1,918. The plff's agent took delivery under protest reserving his claim for full & adequate damages. He claimed Rs. 5,059 as the proper amount of damages sustained by him. In para. 9, of the plaint it was stated that he had sent various letters to the defts. compliaining of the delay & claiming damages that finally the defts; evaded & refused to make good the damages. He issued on 29-3-1945 a registered notice under Section 80, C. P. C. Along with the plaint he filed the copy of the notice sent by him & also the acknowledgments of delivery by the various addressees signed by them. All the defts. separately filed written statements & in each of them we find an objection being taken to the legal validity of the notice under Section 80. The ground of objection was that proper statutory notice was not served on the Governor-General in Council who owns the railways. The written statements disclosed that the goods were misdespatched to Mysore & after some delay they were traced & finally they were rebooked to Kalapipal. Some time before the trial an additional written statement was filed on behalf of all the defts; wherein it was stated that Section 80, C. P. C. was not complied with as the plaint did not use the words "sent, delivered & left" with reference to the notice under S. 80. Various issues were framed but as stated before the validity of the notice was treated as a preliminary point of law & the lower court was asked to try that issue first. It accordingly took it up for trial & in the end dismissed the suit as stated above.
(2.) Two grounds are urged in the judgment of the court below for its conclusion that the notice is bad. The first is that there is no allegation in the plaint that the notice was delivered or left at the office of the Central Govt. & that the mandatory provision of Section 80 are not complied with. Section 80 says : "That the plaint shall contain a statement that such notice has been so delivered or left". The second ground was that the notice does not state that the Governor General In Council will be sued & it did not claim any relief against the Governor General in Council.
(3.) The points for determination are whether the notice is bad because the plaint did not contain an averment that it was delivered or left with the Secretary to Govt; (2) whether the notice is bad because no relief was claimed against the Governor General in Council nor was it intimated that he will be sued.;
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