Decided on March 21,1960

Gopal Chandra Nandi Appellant
UNION OF INDIA Respondents


- (1.) One Bkolanath Banarashi Das booked 201 bags of potatoes, weighing 402 mds. for carriage by railway from Chandausi to Bankura, under R.R. No. A. 011701, Invoice No. 1, botli bearing the date December 29, 1951. The goods were consigned, freight to pay to self. Gopal Chandra Nandi, who was the original Plaintiff, obtained title to the goods by purchase and by endorsement of the Eailway receipt in his favour, for valuable consideration.
(2.) The goods arrived at Bankura, on January 18, 1952, that is to say, on the twenty-first day from the date of despatch from Chandausi. According to the Plaintiff this unusual delay was due to the wagons being detained at Moghulsarai. Further, according to Plaintiff, when the goods arrived at Bankura they had completely deteriorated on account of rotting and became unfit for human consumption. Since the Railway administration, Plaintiff alleged, had not taken the reasonable care of a bailee and the goods rotted on account of its negligence, the Plaintiff refused to take delivery of the same. Thereafter, the Railway administration purported to have sold the goods which, according to the Plaintiff, it had no right to do. Also, it was alleged, the aforesaid goods had not been sold in compliance with the provisions in the Indian Railways Act. The Plaintiff alleged that the price of each bag of potatoes was Rs. 25 and calculated at that rate the amount of domages suffered by him would come up to Rs. 5,025. After service of usxial statutory notices, the Plaintiff instituted the suit, out of which this appeal arises, and laid his claim at Rs. 5,025.
(3.) The main defence of the Railway administration was that on the unloading of the consignment at Bankura, on January 18, 1952, it was found that 145 bags had partly deteriorated, five bags had wholly deteriorated, and the rest of the bags were in good condition. The Plaintiff refused to take delivery of the consignment even on assessment of damages. The Plaintiff was then served with a notice to remove the goods and was further informed that on his failure to do so the goods would be sold by public auction. The Plaintiff refused to accept the notice. Thereupon the goods were sold, on January 24, 1952 and after deduction of the charges incurred by the Railway including charges for freight, amounting to Rs. 590-7, the balance amounting to Rs. 1,309-9 was offered to the Plaintiff, which again he refused to accept. The attitude taken up by the Railway administration was that it was not liable to pay any compensation to the Plaintiff or alternatively nothing in excess of Rs. 1,309-9;

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