Decided on September 06,1983



Mookerjee, J. - (1.) The Union of India representing the South-Eastern Railway Administration has preferred this appeal against the judgment and decree in favour of the respondent, passed by the learned Subordinate Judge, 6th Court, Alipore, for recovery of Rs. 33,515.81 p.
(2.) The plaintiff-respondent established in the year 1961 a paper mill at Jaykaypur within the State of Orissa. For the purpose of manufacturing paper at the plaintiff's said mill it was required to transport by railway large quantities of bamboo-chips, cuts, splits and splints from different stations of the defendant-Railway. It appears that during the period 23rd Oct., 1961 to Oct. 19, 1962 the plaintiff-respondent had been charged concessional railway freight in terms of the Special Freight Rate Circular No. 2-A of 1960, Ext. 2 (x), in respect of different consignments of such bamboo-chips, cuts, splits, etc. despatched and booked to the plaintiff's mill at Jaykaypur. Thereafter the Railway Administration denied the plaintiff the benefits of the said concessional rates until and unless the plaintiff applied and was granted such concessional rates on booking of bamboo-chips etc. and carried over the defendant's railways. As a condition for extending such concessional facilities the plaintiff was made to pay to the defendant-appellant a sum of Rs. 19,542-65 p. being the difference between the full freight rates and the concessional rates which have been charged in respect of consignments booked during the period 23rd Oct., 1961 to 19th Oct., 1962. Further, pending consideration by the defendant-Railway of the plaintiff's application for granting concessional freight rates in respect of consignments of bamboo-chips etc. the plaintiff was charged full rates and a total sum of Rs. 13,973.16 p. was recovered from the plaintiff in excess of concessional rates in respect of the said different consignments booked during the period. With effect from 20th Feb., 1963 the South Eastern Railway prospectively granted the plaintiff-Company concessional freight rates in terms of the aforesaid Circular No. 2-A of 1960, Ext. 2 (x). The plaintiff-company brought the suit out of which this appeal arises for recovery of the aforesaid two sums of Rs. 19,542.65 p, and Rs. 13,973.16 p. paid in respect of the consignments booked during the aforesaid two periods-- 23rd Oct., 1961 to 19th Oct., 1962 and 19th Oct., 1962 to 19th Feb., 1963. The Union of India representing the South Eastern Railway Administration by filing a written statement contested the suit inter alia on the ground that the same was not maintainable, the suit was barred under Section 78-B of the Indian Railways Act, the suit as framed was not maintainable, and the plaintiff was not entitled to the benefit of the concessional freight rates until and unless the Railway Administration had extended to the plaintiff the benefits of the said circular.
(3.) The learned subordinate Judge, as already stated, has decreed the suit in favour of the plaintiff inter alia holding that the suit was maintainable, it was not barred by limitation, the provisions of Section 78-B of the Indian Railways Act had been complied with and the plaintiff had been discriminated by the defendant by refusing the benefits of the concessional freight rates.;

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